Don't take a jungle tour

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I recently returned from a weeklong venture in Cancun, Mexico where, as the television ads there put it, "the people are beautiful and the fun is non-stop." What they really should have said is, "Cancun, Mexico: the most humid place on the planet and where room 109 at the Caribbean Village isn't air conditioned."

Don't get me wrong, I had a great time. And it certainly was a learning experience when it came to trusting people.

Before we went I had been warned by numerous friends and family about things to be careful about while staying there. I had always known some of things they told me, like not drinking the water, but apparently it was more complicated than that.

The woman cutting my hair a few days before I left told me to never take a jungle tour. And she said it in such a grave tone that it made me wonder if humans were sacrificed or if they were forced to worship the devil.

When our guide was showing us things to do there, the jungle tour came up and he began explaining what it was. It sounded like a lot of fun, but I couldn't ignore the fact that I had been given specific instructions to never take a jungle tour.

"No! We can't take this!" I blurted out.

I looked over at the guide and he looked angry that I had just foiled his evil jungle tour plans. So he went to Plan B -- the boat party. And we fell for it.

First of all, if you plan on going there, NEVER, I repeat, NEVER take a boat party, although it sounds like a great idea and only costs $40 a person for four hours of fun.

The brochure has a picture of about 30 people on a luxurious yacht, all of them with expressions that look as if they had just won the lottery and saw the face of God while on this boat party.

When we got to the dock, however, they told us that the sea was too rough to take the nice boat out, yet for some reason they still handed out the snorkeling gear. Apparently we were expected to jump overboard in the middle of these rough seas wearing this stuff.

The minute I jumped off, my goal was to get back to the boat. My flippers turned into anvils and the one time I did look underwater, I had drifted a good distance away from the group. That's when I desperately began swimming back to my safe haven -- a boat made out of recycled Sprite cans.

Oh, and if you stay at the Caribbean Village, don't lose your key ($60), your beach towel ($20), your beach towel card ($20), or the bracelet you have to wear ($35).

And if you lose them all, you're taken on a one-way Jungle Tour to Hell -- for $55.

Sam DeReign is a graduate of Oran High School and attends Southeast Missouri State University. Contact him at sdereign@ semissourian.com.

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