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Snakes and tattoos, but no "yaks" in kayaking

If you're looking for something exciting to do over your weekend, try kayaking, but don't be misled by the name like I was. Kayaking actually has nothing to do with yaks, which I found extremely disappointing. The kayaking trip my family and I went on this past summer wasn't the "exciting, thrill-of-a-lifetime, crazy rapids, hit your head against a rock and hope the authorities find your bloated body" kind of trip. Instead it was the "slow-going, paddle down a man-made canal and look at grass" kind of trip.

We began our journey by getting comfortable with our kayaks. First, our guide went over simple paddling instructions such as, "remember to hold your paddles with both hands" and "try not to club the person sitting in front of you in the back of their head with your paddle."

Up until that point I had thought the goal of kayaking was to club the person sitting in front of you in the back of the head with your paddle.

I quickly began to feel defeated by this seemingly impossible sport because I was paddling hard yet getting nowhere. Our guide then informed us that we would soon get the opportunity to try kayaking in the water as opposed to on land. Once in the water, I found kayaking a great deal easier.

Our guide was a well-informed gentleman who apparently had been hit in the head by the paddles of confused tourists a few too many times. He was extremely upbeat about everything. He said things like, "Anybody allergic to poison ivy? Well, I put a little bit in your kayaks for you to look at. Also, this water might be fun to swim in if there wasn't so much toxic waste in it. By the way, try not to tip your kayak, but it might be fun to splash each other if it gets a little hot!"

The guided kayaking trip that we signed up for was supposed to be a combination of kayaking and animal watching. Apparently nobody told the animals about the trip, however, and for the most part they did not show up.

The grass, on the other hand, showed up in full force for the event. This was not your average, friendly, putting green grass. The grass that seemed to have control of the canal was extremely sharp and painful. In fact, our guide told us that in the past Native Americans used these grass blades to give themselves tattoos. I tried to avoid the ferocious greenery but accidentally brushed against it, resulting in a tattoo on my arm of Ross Perot wearing only a sombrero. Who would have thought that a relative of the Chia Pet could be so evil? (I mean the grass is a relative of the Chia Pet, not Ross Perot.)

The highlight of the trip came when my girlfriend and I spotted a stick that seemed to be traversing the canal at an impressive speed. We found it hard to believe that a four-foot-long piece of wood in such a small canal would be in a hurry. Then it occurred to us that the object was not a stick at all but instead the tip of a full-grown African rhinoceros. We were wrong though, and our guide informed us that it was snake.

He told us it was a water moccasin, which is a type of poisonous snake, and although it was capable of killing us and everyone we cared about, it would most likely leave us alone. Our guide told us that if we respect a snake's territory, then it would respect ours. But I wanted to know whether this policy had been conveyed to the snake. Are we really sure the snakes understand? Did we send a representative to discuss it with them? When a snake falls from a tree and clamps on to my skull, am I going to be able to say, "Whoa, buddy. What do you think you're doing? Haven't you heard of The Human-Snake Agreement of 1982?" Is the snake going to respond, "Oh, you're right. You've got me on that one. I never did like that policy. I guess I should take it up with my local Congressman. Sorry about that."

If this is not the case, then we really don't have an understanding, do we?

Overall, it was actually fun until the part when the nocturnal killer mosquitoes came out by the hundreds and tore our flesh off. Other than that, it was great, and girls find that tattoo of naked Ross Perot sexy.

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