13-year-old Dawn Quinn jumped out of her family’s station wagon and into Guatemala’s warm March heat. The famous archaeologist and Dawn’s father, Stanley Quinn, got out from the driver’s seat of the car. Dawn’s mother Alana Quinn, who was also an archaeologist, stood from the air-conditioned station wagon.
A tall man came up to the Quinn family from across the street and greeted them cheerily. “There you three are! Sure took your time getting here.”
“We wanted to see Mexico’s beauty, Wayne. There’s a lot to see!” Stanley Quinn laughed, shaking his hand.
Wayne smiled at Mrs. Quinn. “Hi Alana, where’s Dawn?”
Mrs. Quinn returned the smile and pointed to the other side of the station wagon.
Dawn was carefully examining a curious bird that had neared her. Wayne snuck up on the distracted girl and shouted. “HiDawn!”
The strange little bird squawked and ran away. Dawn jumped and turned around.
“Thanks, a lot!” she laughed.
“I see you’re still bird crazy,” Wayne teased.
“Bird crazy? The term is ‘bird watching’ Wayne. Bird watching,” Dawn corrected seriously.
Wayne smiled and nodded. He helped Mr. Quinn open the station wagon’s large trunk. Dawn walked up to her mother and looked around. They were in the heart ofthe city of Guatemala, in the country of Guatemala. The city of Guatemala was the capital of the beautiful, tropical country. The Quinn family had been sent by the Blau Archaeology Company to survey and search the wild jungles for lost Mayan ruins. Wayne Curtis, Stanley Quinn’s partner, was joining in on the trip to northern Guatemala.
Mayan ruins had already been found years ago in central Guatemala. The Quinn family had been sent to search the northern, more remote area of the country. They were warned that they would have to travel on foot, for there were no decent roads that cut through the rainforests of northern Guatemala. The Quinn family still accepted the challenge – they loved adventures and spending time together solving problems.
Their hotel was located in an area of the city that was covered with towering trees and vines that hung down into the streets. Citizens of Guatemala walked along the cracked sidewalks.
Dawn looked over ather mother. “When will we be able to leave on the expedition?”
“It could be weeks, dear. We still have to hire our guides and the men to carry our survey equipment.”
Dawn sighed and watched as her father and Wayne continued to unload their research equipment. Weeks sounded like a long time.
She looked around for any other birds she could study. Ever since she was bitten on the nose by a parrot years ago, Dawn had been fascinated by the wingedcreatures. She focused her binoculars and searched through the treetops swiftly. A bird with brightly colored feathers caught her sharp eyes.
“What! What is that bird?” Dawn shouted.
Wayne looked up to the trees where Dawn was pointing. “That? Oh that’s Guatemala’s national bird, or whatever they call it. It’s a Quetzal, I believe,” he explained.
“A Quetzal…” Dawn whispered, fascinated by the bird’s colorful wings.
Mrs. Quinn called to Dawn from a few yards away. “Time to go to the hotel! I’m sure there are plenty of birds for you study some other time.”
“Coming!” Dawn yelled, backing up slowly but still pointing the binoculars towards the Quetzal.
Dawn suddenly bumped into a pedestrian walking along the sidewalk in front of the hotel. Dawn turned and bumped against the building, dropping her binoculars. One of the binocular lenses broke into several pieces, scatteringacross the sidewalk.
The girl that Dawn had bumped into ran up to her. Dawn knelt down to the sidewalk and picked up her broken binoculars. She sighed in disappointment. Those binoculars were a present from a famous archaeologist, specially made just for Dawn.
“I am so sorry,” the girl apologized, her voice thick with a Spanish accent.
Dawn looked up at the young girl. She tried not to look upset and said, “That’s alright, it was my fault.” Dawnscooped the broken binoculars up in her hand.
The girl grabbed the binoculars. “I will have them fixed for you!”
Dawn opened her mouth to explain they couldn’t be fixed but the girl sprinted off and disappeared. She shrugged her shoulders and joined her mom, who was waiting in the hotel lobby.
“What happened?” Mrs. Quinn asked, observing her daughter looked sad.
Dawn quickly explained what had just happened.
“We’ll get you a new pair of binoculars, don’t worry,” Mrs. Quinn assured.
Dawn nodded. She had just got used to those binoculars and now they were gone. Dawn trudged up to her family’s hotel room and entered. Wayne and Mr. Quinn chattered away, discussing what equipment would be suitable for the journey.
Dawn jumped on her bed and rummaged through her backpack. She pulled out a map of Guatemala and looked at the unpopulated area they were sent to search. Waynethrew a measuring stick at Dawn.
“How about some help?” he chuckled.
Dawn nodded, always ready to tinker with her father’s survey equipment.
Mr. Quinn looked down at her. “What do you think we need the most? We can’t bring it all.”
Dawn scratched her auburn hair in thought. She rattled out a list of what was definitely needed.
“She’s right. With that amount of equipment, three men could easily carry it,” Wayneagreed.
Mr. Quinn grabbed his hat. “We’ll go into town and hire some help. Wayne, why don’t you arrange for the guides. Two will do fine.”
Dawn jumped up from the ground and followed her parents out the hotel room door. She ran down the steps and outside, hoping to get a faraway glimpse of the Quetzal, but the bird was gone. Dawn sighed and followed her parents down the sidewalk.