Selvadorada, a place surrounded by lush green rainforests. It held secrets within, of hidden ruins awaiting discovery. Leticia sold the girls on the adventures that awaited them in the jungle. Daciana giggled, a mean streak aimed at her sister’s naivety. She frightened Luliana with the notion the monkeys might kidnap her. They would creep and tie her up amongst the vines in the middle of the night. When Leticia offered comfort, assurances there were no evil monkeys, Daciana changed tact. Losing her sister in the forest might be a good thing; she could live like Tarzan and learn to be the hero of her story. Luliana associated with the princesses, the damsels needing a saviour. Those old dusty fairytales, filled with romance and masculine heroes. Luliana wanted that for herself. Seeing Patrick and Leticia, made her happy, as she awaited the fairy tale wedding.
Daciana folded her arms; tormenting her sister had its limits as Patrick put her on time out. She pouted, forcing air out her nose or tapping her foot, irritating everyone. The flight from San Myshuno had felt longer due to the constant bickering. Patrick breathed a sigh of relief to have made it to their temporary home. It was dark, with the family tired and hungry; Patrick served the food Leticia’s friends made. Daciana scowled, annoyed at Patrick for siding with Luliana. She stabbed at the food, scratching the plate with her fork. Patrick snapped, ordering her to bed. He breathed slow controlled breaths as Daciana stomped upstairs, slamming the door.
He hoped the morning would improve Daciana’s mood and the beautiful weather Leticia promised. Neither prevailed; the sky remained grey. The threat of rain was a reminder that winter was approaching. Daciana moaned, how walking miles through the unchartered jungle to look at a big rock was pointless. A rumble scared Luliana; she clung to Leticia, her eye widened, hoping to see the threat before it snapped. Patrick wished he could shut out the complaints. They had two days to enjoy the beauty and delights Selvadorada offered.
The heart of this area was inviting. A statue of a young woman welcomed visitors. Leticia informed them of the statue’s power to bestow a blessing. Innocent explorers seeking the knowledge of the ancient ones were often cursed in their pursuit. A hand placed up the base could free them. The idea there would be dangers to uncover and a way to survive them caught Daciana’s attention. She wondered how it would tell the difference between those with good or bad intentions. Leticia shrugged, hoping the girls would appreciate the magic. For Daciana, she believed, as in normal life, there must be a catch. A chance to remove the curse would incur some penalty. A request for money or, as in Leticia’s story, gold, meant this was nothing but a scam.
Breakfast would be a challenge. Luliana wanted pancakes, and Daciana worried; despite her rumbling stomach, nothing would agree. Leticia brought a selection, Pastel de Camarão, Empanadas de Verde and Buñuelos. The latter met Luliana’s approval. They were not her favourite choice for breakfast, but they were a close second.
Patrick chatted with the locals, a language barrier bridged by Leticia. She relished the opportunity to speak her native language. The idea Leticia might enjoy a joke at his expense made Patrick uneasy. Much of the laughter would lose its humour in translation. Patrick knew he should have paid more attention in class or asked Leticia to teach him. He packed supplies as Leticia, paid the man who touched her hand longer than necessary. Clearing his throat, Leticia stepped back, linking arms with Patrick. With girls on either side, they head to the boat and the adventure.