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THE DAY I WAS LOST IN A RAINFOREST Gee, but its hot! I thought to myself. It was midday.

I had been walking in the rai nforest for two hours. I was beginning to panic. I had no more water. My thoughts began to wonder. Were Alice and Carlos enjoying a long cool drink un der the palm tree? Come on Tomas, think! Focus! I said to myself. The soft drizzle became stronger. Why did I ever stop to look at that sloth? I won der to myself as the rain dripped off my nose and feet started to slip on the mu ddy forest floor. I stopped and listened. Was that someone calling my name? No, just the squawking call or the raucus tucans and parrots in the tree tops. I loo ked up. There were vines everywhere! I involuntarily let out a piercing, blood c urdling scream. Startled, the snake dropped. It landed next to my foot. I froze. The snake started slithering slowly closer. In that instant I remembered the su rvival TV program. I had milli seconds to attack in the right spot before it str uck, I took careful aim with perfect precision, my foot came down on its head. T he snakes writhing body lashed at me but not for long. Meanwhile the startled bi rds had risen up above the forest canopy squawking and calling, alerting all the creatures of the presence of the intruder. Phew! That was close. Thank goodness for the survival program, I said to the now s till body that would never strike again. My legs were trembling. My heart was ra cing. My breath became short, sharp and shallow. Dumbfounded I looked around me. I continued walking pushing the under growth out of my way. It was heavy going and I was concentrating on my progress. There was a slight clearing and I relaxed a bit. A delicious smell hung in the air. I tri ed to identify it. Looking up I noticed some huge cone like fruit hanging heavil y from a tree. When I saw them I realized how hungry I was so I started climbing the tree, suddenly my hand slipped. I lost my balance and felt falling. I tense d my body preparing for the impact but I was suspended in a massive spider web. The spider scurried towards me. Was this some supersonic spider? How come I coul dnt free myself? The more I struggled the more I got stuck. All my struggling dis lodged the fruits Wow here I thought that I was going to eat the fruit but it sav ed me in another way. When I lifted myself off the ground, I saw the poor stunne d spider in a little ball in the remainder or its web. I needed to have a rest and think. I grabbed as much fruit as I could and went b ack to the clearing. I found a stone and sat down to eat the juicy thirst quench ing fruit. When did the rain stop? I wondered. The forest appeared to be very sti ll, unusually quiet. I heard something that sounded like boiling water. What cou ld that be? Quietly I got up and followed the sound. I parted the undergrowth. T here was spring of Chrystal clear water. Oh, water! Fantastic! I bent down, cupped my hands and scooped up the delicious, revitalising, liquid time and again. I w as so engrossed in drinking that I never noticed there were other thirsty creatu res. I looked up into the gentle eyes of an anteater. I stood very still so as n ot disturb it. Its long sticky tongue lapped at the water. Having had enough it moved on its quest for food. I decided to follow the awkward looking animal. Was this a good idea? After all it was looking at an animal that got me into this s tupid mess! We walked, the anteater and I, in a perfect silence. It leading and I following for a good fifteen minutes. We came upon a broad path and I rejoiced . I was going to be ok. Ahead I saw what looked like a shelter. Could it be? The anteater must have sensed my elation and started walking faster. Although I was exhausted I surprised myself. I suddenly seemed to have a burst of energy. W hen we got to the shelter the anteater became obviously agitated. Whats the matter , my friend? Almost as if in reply the anteater turned to me. A twig snapped like a pistol shot. I whipped around and stared into the cold yellow threatening eye s of a beautiful black jaguar. Crouched, ready to pounce. The anteater moved swi ftly between me and the big bad beautiful black cat. TOMAS! a shot rang into the a ir. DAD Frightened, the cat ran off, disappearing into the undergrowth of the rainforest .

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