Now, it would be wrong to say that I’d ever planned on visiting Colombia, but the fact that it turned out to be so pleasurable made it all the more glorious.
A far from ideal start
I was flying between the UK and Japan where we hit turbulence that was so extreme that a bird flew into the left engine, destroying one of our main sources of power, and leading the plane to place itself abruptly in an unknown land.
In hindsight, it’s difficult to imagine why the plan was going towards South America, as it should have been heading east in order to reach Japan, but the eventual crash could easily be an indication of the pilot’s quality, so it’s best to give him the benefit of the doubt.
In being stranded in what eventually turned out to be South America, we were all worried and uncertain over what other horrors awaited around the corner. We even considered cannibalism before settling on the fact that we did in fact have food and didn’t need to start eating each other for any other reason than sheer entertainment.
Salvation in the form of a raft
It was at this point that we happened upon the Colombia rafting expedition, which ended up being our eventual salvation.
While they were admittedly nonchalant about our predicament, they continued to provide us with all of the necessities of a moderately-priced two star hotel, with the only limitation being their lack of food supplies and only enough beds to cater to the half of the pilot that survived the crash.
The mud and sand perched in between the Colombian rainforest allowed for a safe haven to relax the handful of people in my camp. It was almost as if someone had handpicked the group of people that remained from the crash, allowing for a fair share of both main genders, as well as enough racial minorities to avoid any lawsuits in the event of a feature film adaptation.
Ode to Paco
Of all the many workers at Colombia Rafting Expeditions (copyright 1986), it would have to be Paco who I became the most indebted to, as he showed genuine sympathy with me, especially as he gradually removed the propeller wing from my left shoulder over a number of days using raft wax and unwatered soil.
It would be fair to say that he will always hold a place in my heart for the way that he repaired my bleeding wounds, how he showed so much compassion to all survivors of the crash, and the way in which he sacrificed himself to the tiger which chased us out of the Colombian rainforest as our emergency flare finally alerted the rescue helicopter that returned us back to our homeland.
We didn’t see Paco’s untimely demise, but his shouting became screaming before turning into screeching, so it’s best to believe he’s dead. Either that, or he is now one with the forest, or potentially allowing him to fulfil the prophecy of the mighty ‘Jungle Watchman’ that he spoke of passionately during our stay in Colombia.
This one’s for you, Paco.