Lights Out in a Mexican Cave
By Ron McCluskey
Shortly after we arrived at our position in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, my wife and I were invited with a youth group to tour a cave near the town of Pichucalco, Chiapas.
It was a warm (read hot) clear day, and even though we did not know much Spanish as yet, we enjoyed the happy enthusiasm of the young people.
I was especially interested in watching all the tropical birds along the way. There were tropical species of kingfishers, herons and orioles. There were many interesting tropical plants as well - bouganvilla, elephant ears and bird of paradise flowers.
After about an hour of bouncing along the reasonably good road, we arrived at the parking lot for the cave. You can imagine the hubbub of the young people as they piled out of the bus. We received a short talk about safety and then were off.
When we entered the cave, I was surprised to see that the cave was lighted with electric lighting. Where I had grown up, there were many caves from volcanic activity, yet I had only been in two caves with lighting before.
We slowly made our way back into the cave enjoying the cool that being underground afforded. I was slower than most, because I was taller than most. Cave ceilings and I just don't get along.
After about a half hour, we arrived at the end of the cave where there was a fairly good size room. We stood around for a bit listening to the childrens chatter.
Suddenly the lights went out. There was a bit of shrieking at first. We thought it was all part of the tour and expected the lights to come back on any minute.
But after a while, still in the pitch dark, we began to wonder. The dark in a cave is pretty dark! You can almost feel it.
In broken English, we were made to understand that the lights were not out on purpose. One of the leaders soon started off to the entrance. No lights! He felt his way along and made it out eventually.
Over an hour later, we saw a faint light off toward the entrance and were glad to see our fearless leader returning. He had a single flashlight. Hardly enough for the fourty or so of us.
Soon we had formed a line and were off. Despite warnings of low ceiling, I had numerous bumps and scrapes by the time we saw the sun.
We learned our lesson on that trip. Never trust the power. You may need a flashlight when you least expect it.
Our family has traveled all over the world on vacations and doing volunteer work. We have been to every continent except Antarctica and hope to go there some day. Find more about our experiences in Mexico at: ILoveMexicanVacations.com
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