Friday, October 19, 2007

A Long Journey

Day 22
Weight: 219.5 lbs.
Food Intake:
  • Breakfast:
    • small cup of mango juice
    • polenta (grits) with melted provalone, Swiss, and pepper-jack cheeses
    • plain rye toast
  • Lunch:
    • orange juice
    • chicken smothered with spinach and cheeses
    • a salad
    • a type of pasta with a rich creamy sauce
  • Dinner:
    • various fruit juices
    • steamed squash and other vegetables
    • some leftover chicken from lunch

Slept very well last night. When I awoke this morning, everyone was packing and checking their packs. They seemed to be packing for a journey of several days, so I did the same. I found a pack with a wood frame in my hut, so I filled this with everything I thought I might need for a 2-3 day journey.

Breakfast was the usual polenta, except they had added a generous amount of melted cheeses to the mix. This made me feel well-prepared physically for whatever journey was ahead. After breakfast, everyone in the village put on their packs and grabbed one of those walking stick things and began the journey. I had found a stick in my hut with a particularly carved head which I think identified the type of work I do. I fell in with the rest of the villagers and we walked inland for the rest of the morning.

Around noon, after crossing several streams, we encountered another village. This village was about the same size as ours. They had a very large meal prepared, complete with cooked chickens. Everyone seemed to know each other and they seemed to be expecting us. We all sat down together and shared a marvelous and satisfying meal of chicken, spinach, melted cheeses, pasta, and some other vegetables.

I noticed that no one unpacked. In fact, the other villagers had all packed, and as soon as the meal was done, they joined us and everyone began walking again. Miles and miles passed. Darkness fell and we were still walking. The air became cooler and the ground ascended. I caught a glimpse of some granite outcroppings which let me know we were climbing into a mountainous area. Suddenly, in the darkness, we saw torch lights ahead. It was very quiet in these woods. The tropical vegetation seemed to have given way to hardwood trees of many types. Tiki torches marked the path we followed.

Soon I began to hear voices. Many voices talking excitedly. Then we came to a very large lake. There were many canoes pulled near the shore and several paddling out into the lake. There were hundreds of villagers from many villages gathering at the canoes. I climbed aboard one of the larger canoes and was soon smoothly moving with the rest of the villagers out into this mountain lake. The water was clear and cold and not salty. In the distance I some more flickering lights from what looked like bonfires on an island in the middle of the lake. We steered toward this island and soon made landfall.

Everyone clambered out of the canoes and followed a well-worn path up onto the island. The path was marked by tiki torches and there were many villagers from all over following it. The lake island was very steep, and the path wound its way up through the woods on the island until we came to what looked like a large festival area in the forest high above the lake on the backside of the island. There were many, many villagers here. There were camps set up all through the woods and in the meadows. Many small campfires were burning, giving the air a smokey flavor. Although many villagers were just getting there, many more were already asleep. I laid down in a meadow under the stars and fell fast asleep after the long journey.

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