Snakes and lizards slithering through the jungle, slitted eyes tracking prey, anticipating nourishment fanged into deadly submission. That’s what my stepson Ted and I signed up for when we parted with our money to take the “Jungle ATV Tour” that was offered by a local agency here in Puerto Vallarta. What a male bonding opportunity! Not only scaly things, but an ATV of our own! Roaring exhaust! Seven-inch suspension travel! We would ford muddy streams, climb dangerous hills, and perhaps rescue innocent maidens snatched from the jaws of jungle fauna!! Did I mention the tequila tasting? No male-bonding experience would be complete without tequila tasting. There was to be plenty of that.
And so it was that 9:30 the other morning found us donning weathered helmets while our tour guide distributed red bandannas. (Ted wore his as a do-rag under his helmet, I wore mine over my mouth and nose. The pirate and the bandito. Captain Jack Sparrow and Pancho Villa taming a snarling Yamaha in the wilds of the Sierra Madre.)
We never saw a snake or lizard or maiden. Not even a parrot. Our ATV had to be started with a rope. We never left the road. The only guiding our tour guide ever offered was “Form a single line.” In a word, the best description of our adventure was “dust.” There was a lot of that.
Did we have fun? Did we bond? Of course! What man wouldn’t, straddling a 30-horsepower ATV while downing 80-proof shots in the Mexican jungle? Would we do it again? You bet! Fantasy is a terrific incentive.