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Deceiving Appearance

I had the intense feeling that at any moment the lions would run past our car chasing some zebras that had been tranquilly grazing on some grass. I could picture the giraffes lazily moving about on that rainy, nebulous day in search for food or shelter. My surroundings seemed to have changed. It was like stepping into a teleporting machine. At one point I was in one place and in the next I had traveled about 3,000 kilometers to a whole new territory riding through the forests of Africa to get to the long awaited lands of Egypt.

The truck that took me along with eleven friends on this journey was very tall. It had three bench seats and a black plastic cover over our heads while the rest of the truck was uncovered. The giant wheels and height of the truck made me wonder what we’d face on this trip but I was excited and eager to get to our destination. When our journey to the Egyptian-like dunes began it was raining a lot and the cold wind made our teeth chatter. The rain would hit us from all sides as we rode on the narrow dirt road. Civilization had soon left us and we were sandwiched on both sides by trees and fields. It was only afternoon but the cloudy day made it look much later. Some gaunt cows were eating behind an aged wooden fence. These were one of the two types of animals seen on our safari. Our goal was to reach the dunes and our hope for the sun to come out increased with the passing of each bone-chilling minute. At one point all of us began singing songs about the sun in hope that some miracle would happen and the rain cease. Even though the weather was not what we expected, it would not ruin our trip. We laughed, screamed, and sang in joy.

We had reached the river. We had to wait for the boat that had just gone across with two other trucks to come back. It was still raining when we hopped off the truck and dashed onto the small ferry that awaited us. After the ferry was loaded, we slowly drifted to the other side of the river. The water was dark and the rain drops made millions of ripples in it. I imagined the anacondas swimming in the water underneath where nothing could be seen. It was a dark abyss full of unknown life; the scary part of Africa. The ride was quick and bumpy but very cold. To keep warm our group huddled in a corner. Once on the other side the real journey began.

This place, where I was, could be easily thought of as Africa. But, of course, there were the slight differences. The road we were on was sand made and as I was soon about to discover full of holes and deep puddles as a result of the rain. I then knew why the truck was so high and equipped. This was going to be the safari ride I’d never been on. The rain had let up and the sun was trying to shine through the puffy clouds that engulfed the sky. We rode on at a good speed so as not to get stuck. The sandy road was extremely bumpy and filled with holes. We were launched off our seats so many times I thought we were on those wooden roller coasters at Six Flags. There were bushes and small trees all around us. At one point we saw some goats randomly standing on a small sand hill and then there came the puddles. Some were huge and deep while others were small. The truck would rush through them spraying water on our feet. The deep ones were the best. The truck would sway backwards and to the sides while the dark, coke-like water came into the truck and wet our feet. The excitement could be seen in everyone’s faces and heard in our laughs or squeals of delight. Then we would turn into some cramped paths where the twigs and branches of the countless trees would snap and slap the trucks sides. At the same time there was a car behind us hoping to reach the dunes also. It was like a race to see who would be the first to reach the long awaited sand dunes. That was when the chanting started. The thrill of the ride and the excitement of the chanting to see who would get there first were amazingly astounding. I’ve never had so much fun in my life.

I don’t know how long the thrilling safari ride lasted and I didn’t really care. To me we could spend the whole day driving down that long sandy road of adventure and hullabaloo but at some point I looked forward and saw it. The towering dunes stood not too far in front of us. This was it; we were finally going to reach Egypt. The race was still going and right at the last minute when we were so close to winning the other truck took another path and placed itself in the first place position. There were cries of bewilderment but that was soon forgotten when our truck rolled onto the sand dunes of Sao Luis located in Brasil.





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