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Creative Nonfiction Adventure

The day finally came. Kay and Tes were more than excited. This was THE trip of the year for them. Kay and Tes are young adult girls who were best friends since high school. They have slightly different characters and that’s what made them a strong duo. But what units them the most was their passion for social media. They are influencing bloggers or as we call today Vloggers. Indeed, they established wonderful pages on several platforms with different pictures and videos showing their daily activities.

And this event in particular was a bit special. Lego Meritus is a natural reserve in the deep South West of the country. It was a hidden touristic gem where it is said that you will have an experience of a lifetime and may be able to witness one of the best panoramic view ever. Nevertheless, it is still not a mainstream sight due to several points: 

First, its geographical location, which was approx. one and a half hour by car from the nearest village : St Altius, which was also 35 minutes from any train or bus station. In addition, the reserve was open only during spring and summer to avoid any weather disaster. 

On a separate note it is an approximate 10 km hiking trail, so this was not the ideal destination for all kinds of tourists. 

One strange thing was that despite being a free entrance reserve, you needed to register your name in advance, and you were allowed to enter only once per year. These limited information and odd instructions made things even better for the two adventure seekers. 

Kay and Tes were looking forward to this day for more than two months. They left their hometown three days ago, and had an interesting journey to St. Altius, the nearest village to the reserve. Not going through much more details, Kay and Tes made it to the reserve entrance. The scenery was already breathtaking: Tall and colorful trees, cool wind, uncountable types of flowers. The quiet noise of nature was not disturbed by the Human Empire. Tes was dazzled. She already made a couple of pictures and small videos: “Oh my! I will change all my profile pictures today! My stories will be packed! …. Love your brother Kay! He is the best internet surfer ever! He always finds us interesting suff to do!” 

Like mentioned above, this location had not a strong notoriety. In fact, there was a maximum of a couple dozen people there. Well, win-win situation for both girls, their posts will be even better without the high traffic of tourists making unintentional “photobombs”: “This will be awesome” Kay said, “I can’t wait to go inside! Save some battery Tes!”

“For sure, Kay-Kay!” Tes replied as they reached the entrance counter. There was only an electronic tablet with a checklist on it. Eventually, the girls clocked on their names, entered the pin they got as message on their mobile phones, and were let in. A start sign on the floor at the beginning of the walking path indicated the beginning of the hiking trail. Next to it was a big signboard entitled: “Give these instructions 3 minutes of your time and enjoy nature!” Here were the instructions:

Welcome to “Lego Meritus” natural reserve. The trail you are about to enter is approximately 9.5 km long with an easy to medium difficulty.

The trail is a circuit that goes deep into the reserve and ends back on the east exit, just on the other side of the trees on your left. The map illustrates the same…

“Just simple safety rules… nothing important. Come on Kay-Kay! No time to waste, Let’s go! go! go!” 

The girls entered the reserve, excitement filling their faces: “Ok, Chatting mode off! Camera mode on!

Let’s take our first shot here at the entrance Tes!”

“Let’s do it as a boomerang with the start sign visible behind us!”

And they both spent one of the best few hours in the wonders of nature, where the loudest sounds were actually birds singing in the trees. They secured very beautiful pictures and videos: They took many trendy shots such as portraits, panoramic pictures, selfies. The nature itself offered wonderful background for all sorts of camera shooting. In addition, you can find man-made complementary stuff, such as swings, decorated trees, small flower rugs. Everything to make the experience even more astonishing. Kay and Tes were truly impressed by the professionalism and the care they witnessed: The walking path was ideally drawn and clearly visible, signs were placed everywhere to make sure that hikers are on the right way.

“Too much stuff to capture!!”, “Let’s do a boomerang on the swing! Or perhaps a normal picture would be better!”, “Is it better if we retake this picture with pop art effect?”, “What do you think could be a suitable caption for this picture Kay?” They felt so much excited to the fact that they became confused every time for selecting the best way to capture something or for choosing the ones to be posted. But to calm down their overwhelm, they always finish by repeating the same sentence “Let’s wait for the panoramic view, and then we choose”. 

They made a little revolt when they crossed out of the walking path and climbed a small rock to capture a funny boomerang on Instagram. “I don’t think we should go outside the path, Tes! The red ribbon here clearly indicates that!”. “YOLO!” replied Tes, “this is not too high! Besides, I have an idea for a boomerang! Hold the selfie stick and I will jump off the rock! This will be hilarious, seeing you taking a selfie and me jumping in the background!”

“Hahaha, you are crazy, Tes! Let’s do it! Climb up!”

Approximately two and a half hours down, Kay and Tes finally reached the sign they were waiting for: “Panorama View”. The sign leads to a small pathway next to the original hiking path. The girls took a deep breath; the same one an actor takes before earning his Oscar award. They even stayed more than ten minutes taking and retaking pics and videos there. They were about to experience THE feature of their trip and of course they should make the best out of it. Entering the small pathway, Kay suddenly became quiet. She was simply astonished, and proud of the accomplishment she is making today. On the other hand, Tes was filming this road to heaven while signaling what was about to happen shortly. 

Just two minutes into the small pathway, Kay and Tes ended up in front of a cave. The entrance was blocked by what it appeared to be small adjacent rooms very similar to toll collections we see on the highways. As much confused as they were excited, each girl entered a separate cubicle like it was instructed.

It was a very small elevator-like space, with an electronic tablet and two doors: One door leading to the cave, and the other is the entrance door obviously. Kay stood there waiting perhaps for something to flash up on the tablet. Suddenly, an automated voice filled the area: “Welcome to Lego Meritus’ Panoramic Area, please select your name.” So did Kay. “Please say the secret expression to get access. Alternatively, you can insert the same on the tablet in front of you.” An empty text box appeared on the tablet with a button underneath stating: “I forgot it”.

What?! Secret expression? Kay was thinking to herself. Is there anything like that? Is it maybe like a coupon for VIPs? Or should visitors get it by the entrance? Kay waited a bit, perhaps for another instruction. She searched for some help button, but nothing. Finally, she broke the silence and started saying random things like: Lego Meritus! Lego Meritus Panoramic View! Enter Panorama! She even tried to enter some on the tablet. Not a single interaction. Confused and a bit worried, Kay opened the exit door, maybe she can seek the help of someone or see what Tes was doing. But the automated voice stopped her: “Caution! Exiting the door will cancel your access to the panoramic view!” 

Back inside, Kay tried to call for assistance, maybe some staff will hear her and reply. Still nothing. Annoyed, not knowing what to do, Kay decided to take the risk. She clicked on the button “I forgot it” while closing her eyes and turning her face as if she was cutting the wire that might defuse the bomb or explode it. The automated voice started talking again: “Don’t worry about that, you have come so far in your journey, and we will not let you go without granting you another chance…” A feeling of relief popped up on Kay’s face while hearing this, but was directly vanquished by confusion. “… You can redeem your access by sacrificing ten red ribbons you collected during your trip. Kindly insert the ribbons through the small pouch on your right”. A small cavity opened on the right with lights indicating to put the ribbons. Fifteen minutes ago, Kay was all over the place, but now she is not understanding a single act. She ended up by pressing again on button: “I don’t have enough” to see what other options she could have. “Too bad! We are truly sorry, but we are sure that you will have a better luck next year! Enjoy the rest of your trip!” And the exit door opened by itself. Not knowing what to do, Kay simply got out, to find Tes waiting outside. 

She was hoping to get some answers from Tes, but she also was pretty furious and on the verge of crying: “What is this nonsense inside? Did you understand anything Kay?”

“No, Sweety. Not even a clue. What happened with you?”

“Just Bullshit! I got inside and this pathetic voice started asking me about a secret word or something like that. So I pressed on the button “I forgot it” and than this same damn voice asked for some red ribbons! I got out of the cabin to ask someone for some help, but there was no one. So I went inside again, but now I cannot access anymore since the screwed voice tells me try again next year every time I tried to select my name!”

“Aren’t the red ribbons the ones we found all the over the trail, Tes? Aren’t these suppose to alert us from possible danger? And what about the secret expression?”

“I don’t know Kay! I don’t know! I was waiting for this moment for ever to come and find this bloody dilemma here blocking us to go further! It’s unacceptable! There should be someone here for assistance!”

“The end of the trail should not be far from here, let’s go find someone there”.

The final half kilometer barely took 10 minutes with the girls to finish. They put aside their smartphones and their selfie sticks, and marched like lunatics, nagging and complaining like small kids banned from playing in the sandbox. All they wanted to do was arrive to the end, find someone, complain and find a solution. Well, that’s actually what happened. As they witnessed the end sign they rushed to search for a staff member. This time also, they ignored the instruction signboard next to the end sign which stated the following:

Well done Fellas! You made till the end!

We are pretty sure you enjoyed your time in Lego Meritus natural reserve!

We don’t want you to leave hands free, make sure you check out our souvenir shop, and do not forget to bring the red ribbons, as you will get the chance to exchange them for a free gift!

Thank you for coming! See you next year!

Meanwhile, other tourists who just came in, were at the entrance checking out the instructions before entering the reserve: 

“Give these instructions 3 minutes of your time and enjoy nature!”

Welcome to “Lego Meritus” natural reserve. The trail you are about to enter is approximately 9.5 km long with an easy to medium difficulty.

The trail is a circuit that goes deep into the reserve and ends back on the east exit, just on the other side of the pine trees on your left. The map illustrates the same.

Safety is number one priority: simply keep yourself of the walking path we made for you and no need to worry, you will not get lost nor hurt. 

Make sure you are suitably dressed for the hiking trail ; hiking or walking shoes must be your first choice.

Make sure you brought some snacks and water. You will probably require some on your way.

The panoramic view is located approximately 0.5 km before the end of the track. A sign entitled “Panorama View” will indicate the same. The secret expression for this week is: Panoramic view, rest my shoe. 

All over the path, you will find red ribbons. We place these ribbons daily to as a collection game for you on your way. Collect as much as you can find, and make sure to claim them on the exit in exchange for interesting souvenirs. The ribbons are mostly easily accessible, so you won’t have a problem collecting them.

Have fun and enjoy your trip, and please make sure that other people also enjoy their time. 

This natural reserve is made to protect our green wealth, and we trust that you will do the same as well.  

Off you go! we will meet again at the finish! 

June 19, 2021 07:23

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