(but then, most of you already knew that...)
Aleksander Solzhenitsyn once said, "If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?"
You may disagree with the 'calculated risk' we took, but do know that it was calculated. Our friend, "E," who has lived at this location for 20 years, has always traveled this way. She vouched personally for the drivers, and we knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
So we rode Skylab.
No, I'm not referring to the first U.S. Space station, though this Skylab was actually named after it.
We didn't ride this type of skylab - ours had no 'wings' - the part that everyone agrees is the most dangerous place to sit. Instead they had elongated seats to accommodate extra passengers.
(You can see the Coke bottles of gas in the top of the wooden stand on the right.)
Along the way people stopped and stared after us - I'm sure we were a real novelty.
A thermodynamic plant was built nearby to tap into this natural resource, and the shrine below was erected in the woods as a place to make sacrifices to appease the spirits for intruding in their domain. Sacrifices are still made, at least yearly.
I'm still not quite sure how our drivers could see where they were going. The rain was blowing so hard into my eyes that I had to close them most of the way.
The kids all rode with "E" on one bike, and Mark and I agreed afterward that we each were praying all the way down for the safety of our children who were coming behind us.
It's an experience they'll never forget, and it remains Michael's favorite part of visiting a village.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye - to the high school girls who had been so friendly (one of them gave a bracelet to Elise and wanted her to fill out a sheet of questions about herself - including "What Tribe Are You From?" !)
And goodbyes to the team we had worked with. Thank you for all of your sweet hospitality, and for making us feel so welcome. We'll always remember our visit!