Mood: accident prone
Topic: "Slippin' and a Slidin'"
Dominica was discovered on a Sunday by Christopher Columbus on his third voyage to the New World. In 1987 the British Colony was given its' independence. The inhabitants speak Creole, and the island is comparatively underdeveloped and poor. The primary aspects of commerce are bananas, offshore banking, and trafficking in narcotics. The island receives more than 350" of rain per annum, and is physically dominated by an extensive rain forest. The movie "Pirates of the Caribbean II" starring Johnny Depp is being filmed there now.
Frodo and Sam were excited about the treetop tram adventure to explore the Rain Forest on Dominica. Their guide explained that all passengers would be transported by van to the crest of the 4000' mountain. From the Depot at the top they would glide at treetop level for almost two hours, observing native flora, fauna, waterfalls, and anything else that might wander into view.
Frodo and Sam were in the second of five vans filled with tourists. The drive up the mountain was not unlike a typical trip into the hillsides of West Virginia. The road was narrow, steep, and it hugged the mountainside leaving no space for a downward traveler of any kind. The view was spectacular all the way up, and Frodo looked for Velociraptors for this was surely a model for "Jurassic Park."
Frodo noticed a great deal of mud in the road and attributed it to the frequent rainfall, but did not think much of it. That is, until he noticed the van in front slowing noticeably. Frodo, it should be noted, was sitting at the very rear of the van on the outside, behind the driver, over the rear wheel. Sam sat next to Frodo.
The front van accelerated as it approached a very large mudslide extending all the way across the road. The wheels slid left and right but the van motored safely to the other side. Now it was time for Frodo's van to give it a go.
The van did fine about halfway through, then all traction disappeared, and the vehicle began to slide back toward the road's edge. Frodo's body temperature spiked as he looked over the edge to the bottom of the volcanic valley far below. Amazingly, the vehicle halted before the wheel slipped over the side. Without warning the driver accelerated and started back into the slide area, trying again. For the second time the van turned even sharper toward the precipice, and the lady sitting in front of Sam began to freak out entirely. Frankly, Frodo wasn't doing so terribly well himself.
When the van came to a complete stop in the almost identical spot as before, Frodo started to make his way to the van door closest to the mountain. He was thrown back into his seat as the driver floored that sucker and headed off through the mud again. This was obviously becoming a macho thing with the driver, whom Frodo felt looked very much like a well-tanned George W. Bush. Again, the van's wheels began to spin without purpose as the van settled once again at the very edge of the cliff. At this point, Frodo was leading his fellow travelers in an insurrection to prevent the driver from trying it again.
Frodo was imagining what the newspapers back in the Shire would report. He foresaw the following on page 8 of the Metro Section, "Shire travelers killed in freak accident on Caribbean paradise."
Workers carrying shovels began arriving from the Tram Depot at the crest of the mountain. The first van had notified them of the problem and sent them down to help. Frodo helped supervise.
Finally the van was cleared to try again, but Frodo and his fellow travelers stood on the other side of the mud and waited for the driver.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. Frodo did see the largest hummingbird he'd ever imagined, but he was disappointed that none of the native flora he observed were of the "cannabis" variety. The waterfalls are worthy of Dorothy Lamour. At the end of the tram ride, and before starting downhill in the van, the travelers were treated to as much rum punch as they could drink. Frodo set new consumption records.
Frodo also sat on the other side of the van.