Busy morning. Rousted by my brother at the ungodly hour of 9.30 to chug a mug of tea and scarf down some eggs and toast before driving down to Coconut Grove to partake in the Land Rover experience. It’s being held on a luxurious waterfront estate, elegant and beautiful and made more so by the twenty or so gleaming Range and Land Rovers parked strategically between the palm trees, on the tennis court and along the grassy verge that lined the long, long driveway.
After signing up and receiving our ID’s, my mother, brother and I piled into the Sport Land Rover with our guide Rick, and headed to the off roading obstacle course. My mother went first (of course), and laughed and yelled and accidentally kept blaring the horn as she took us up ridiculously steep ramps, tilted the SUV so sharply onto its side while rounding 45 degree corners that I could have reached out through the window and touched the ground, and plowed through deep rivers of water. Woke me right up. I went next, and only wished that Rick would let me step on the gas more.
From there we wandered the estate, drank fresh juice and talked to a guy called Nick Bougas who had set up a display of photographs and maps of the areas of the world he had led expeditions and training seminars in. Despite his affable and friendly mien, Nick was clearly an extreme guy. He’d been deep, deep into the jungles of Borneo, had become friends with wizened head hunters, had led trips into the ‘Here There Be Dragons’ parts of Belize, and had about a hundred fascinating stories about his experiences. I learned to avoid bot flies at all costs (from Wikipedia: the botfly maggot cannot be removed easily while alive due to the strong, hooked spines that run in circular rings around the midsection of its body). Next year he’s leading a treasure hunting trip off the coast of Guatemala to search for Spanish bullion, and though there’s a good chance he’ll find it, he told us that he’d be happy to just find a bottle of rum and some rusty nails, as long as he gets to go treasure hunting in the first place.
So that was my morning. Next: lunch!