Check out this shorty I wrote about the emotion fear:
Our guide was Tom Blevins, an absolute rock of a man. Forty years old, but his body looked more like it belonged to a man half his age. Not an ounce of visible body fat with huge, muscular arms and a khaki shirt that bulged with his massive chest as he shouted “There! On the port side! Hands inside the craft! Now!”
We were treated to a sight that is etched into my memory to this very day, some fifty-seven years later. The first hippo glided through the murky river water with its mouth wide open, revealing rows of uneven, discolored teeth which I had no doubt could have eaten me alive in one gulp. As the animal’s mouth closed, he submerged, and little trails of air bubbles percolated from his flared gray nostrils. He seemed to float away from the tramp steamer, its eyes at half-mast. But he did not look sleepy to me. I was petrified, and my little fingers were clutched in a death-grip around my father’s rough hand.
“It’s OK son, he assured me. You’re safe. Just do what the man says and you’ll be fine.”
No sooner had the first hippo appeared, when another equally massive, yet strangely graceful Hippopotamus amphibius took its place and another and another. I got the panicky feeling they were closing in on our relatively small watercraft. I instinctively eased myself toward the bleached wooden bench in the center of our river boat. I was even more frightened as our guide fired two warning shots into the air to deter our guests from swimming any closer to us. I just knew I was going to die.
“No worries folks, Tom shouted above the trumpeting animals. “They are just singing.”
Right, I thought. Singing about their impending meal of a boatful of human flesh.
“There on the port side! Can you see the tigers sunning themselves by the riverside?” Tom was pointing as I sat frozen in fear. Our fearless guide tried making what I’m sure he thought were amusing anecdotes, but I was not taking my eyes off the tigers languishing in the noon day sun. They definitely looked hungry to me.
As if reading my mind, or more precisely, my petrified stare, Tom assured me “No worries little mate, the tigers won’t come out to us.”
I didn’t believe him for one second.
I couldn’t have been more thankful as the boat winded away through the lush Amazon when I heard Tom give the orders “Hands out of the water! Keep your arms and hands in the boat!”
A giant colorful snake of some sort twisted its massive body around an overhanging tree limb and flicked his blood-red tongue at us. I watched in silent terror as the hungry piranha approached us. I almost fell into unconsciousness as my father cradled me and the rest is just a blur until we approached the wooden dock. I had never been so relieved in my young life to reach land and as I looked back at what was now a lush, benign landscape with calm, green waters, I could hear:
“Thank you for joining us on the Jungle Cruise today folks, enjoy the rest of your day here at Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth.”