Have you ever felt like swimming to another continent? That's how I felt that hot and sticky December day back in 1999. Before me was the mainland of South America, behind was a remote island; I like to call it Éloigné. I marveled at the sight, gazing through the sweltering heat at the Venezuelan shore, dotted with stunted palms, blanketed in white sand. That was the first time I set eyes on the South American mainland. I saw a log floating a few feet away and wondered if I could convert that into some type of crude raft, although I never tried. I took a dip into the isle's waters and tried to swim outwards, away from shore, however, the waves decided to turn sour on me. They threw me around like a toy and tossed me against the rocks many a time until I was hurting. Perhaps I could've swam to Venezuela, there were no border guards to stop me, but I never found out. I turned back and disappeared into the interior.
A similar day found me in the midst of the rainforest, my sole companion a grown man. It was there that I discovered it, hidden in the tangled brush: an abandoned dairy. Rather strange, don't you think? It's not everyday that you find an abandoned dairy somewhere in the jungle, but that I did. It started off as an outpost on the brink of nowhere, a shack full of instruments, none of which I remember. From there, it spread out into a full-scale complex. The man spotted a lonely cow pie sitting on the concrete floor, which had probably been there since the 80s. He remarked that it was likely older than myself. We walked amongst the ruins, observing the stalls, the feeding lots, when it struck us that the place was infested! Some kind of wasp-like creature, indigenous to the area, was making its home on all the walls. Some spots were so clustered with nests that there was barely any free space. We had to squeeze through tight doorways ever so slowly, so as not to wake the insects' wrath. We managed to withdraw and hurried back to camp to tell the others all we had seen.
I think it was the summer of 2000 when I was resting beneath the exotic trees in the yard of my tropical home when I heard what sounded like a branch crashing down beside me. Lo and behold, a giant iguana! The slithering reptile seized my eyes in a paralyzing grip of its own stare: the lizard stare. Thus commenced the staring contest of man versus beast. Without a blink, it stared, maybe glared, attempting to trick me into doing something dumb. I almost did. When I saw it was so close it was practically snuggled against me, I fought back the temptation to pet it, and caress the creature along the spines, and yet it looked cute and menacing at the same time. I'm glad I didn't because I was later told that when iguanas bite, they won't let go, even if you chop their heads off. I'm thinking something like five minutes passed, though I'm not sure. Nevertheless, I eventually won the contest and broke away from the thing's grip. Sure, I went to tell my folk and led them back to the spot, but it had evaporated away by that point. To this day, I doubt whether they really believe me.
The air was murky and the darkness loomed ahead as I descended the stairs. A bat soared past my face, nearly sending me toppling over on the procession of people in front of me as the woman behind me watched with disbelief. I made an attempt to hide my embarrassment as we marched down the last of the stairs to the inside of those Caribbean caves. Our location? The Gasparee Islands. Towards the center, I stopped along with the rest of the troop as we came across a large underground lake. The older folk permitted us to dive in and that's just what I did. Icy cold. It took me some time to get used to the temperature and I looked over what seemed to be a colossal lake, though it really wasn't that big. I noticed how there were leaves scattered everywhere on the surface and at the far end, a big gaping hole. I asked what was there; I don't remember what answer I got. After checking it out underwater, we all got out, and made our way through the rest of the cave and outside. I don't remember much then, except a huge centipede, at least a foot in length, fell from the ceiling and landed next to someone. Later that day, I was on an unknown shore when the others decided to fool around with the speedboat. I was invited with the rest of the scouts to try my hand at it. A long discussion ensued in which I paid little attention, too eager to get on with the show. When my turn came, I decided to pilot the craft at full throttle. The crew wasn't all that happy about my decision, evident when I glanced behind my back to see them all huddling away from the wind. I was quite enjoying myself, but that darned steering took at least five long seconds to kick into action, so whenever I saw a sailing boat up ahead, I had to turn the speedboat the other direction way ahead of time. Shortly thereafter, the others convicted me on the charge of reckless driving, and they said I took too long to steer away from other boats. Thus ended my only experience in driving motor vehicles. I was twelve-years-old at the time.