Throughout time, humans have often wondered if forms of intelligent life existed in other parts of the universe. During modern history scientists have even launched probes and broadcast radio messages into space in hopes of contacting alien beings. Some even think they have established a colony on our planet. This summer our writer traveled to an ancient walled city (otherwise known as Quebec City, Canada) where he personally witnessed their secret rituals.
Although the aliens of the walled city spoke an elegant, expressive language, I was able to communicate quite easily through an assigned translator. First, the aliens took me to an exhibit specially constructed for humans at the Musee de la Civilisation to assure me that they were friendly and meant no harm.
The exhibit "Extraterrestrials: What If?" showed how unearthly creatures have captured we humans' fascination over time and have been portrayed in our own films and popular culture. I saw both scary and cuddly personifications of extraterrestrial beings, including fuzzy piglets, Frankenstein, Dracula, and E.T.
The aliens also pointed out that we have little–known life forms with bizarre features right here on our own planet. Just beneath our feet and deep in the oceans live gulpers, water bears, spider crabs, cuttlefish and octopus. Microscopic life forms reveal an even broader diversity of colors and shapes. Why wouldn't it be logical to think that other planets in the gazillions of galaxies throughout the universe might contain unusual organisms and beings as well? I believe that by postulating about unknown worlds, the aliens were trying to prepare me for their evening ceremony… and the other increasingly strange rituals I would witness in the days to come.
The Invisible Paths
After the sun set, I met the aliens underneath a primitive system of elevated concrete ramps that were apparently designed to carry humans into the city at a time when they were the sole inhabitants. As if to mock the obsolescence of a period when people moved about in vehicles powered by burning a dirty, oily substance that they removed from the ground, the aliens used laser technology to project gossamer images of beautiful, flowing waterfalls onto a fluttering gauze fabric suspended from the bridges.
There were three different tribes of aliens and they invited the humans to move around with them as they performed under the different bridges, telling the history of their arrival and establishment of the Earth colony. The aliens took particular delight in demonstrating their highly advanced acrobatic and contortionist abilities as they entwined themselves around poles, swings and each other while jumping, flipping and juggling.
In one breathtaking sequence a group of aliens huddled together on a triangular frame several stories tall and shifted their body weights to make the triangle swing back and forth. When it appeared that the triangle might actually make a full revolution, one of the aliens leaped into the air. He did somersaults as he flew toward the top of the highway bridge. However, the "waterfall" caught him and he softly drifted back to the ground.
Other aliens with long, wooden legs towered over the crowd of gathering humans and had no difficulty moving among them. Others had removable faces. Several tribal members had an affinity for fire while another twirled a giant luminescent cube around her body giving the appearance that she was trapped inside a spinning atomic particle.
© Ville de Quebec - Robert Greffard
A mutant sub–species of the alien colony has been exiled from the city limits to a nearby mountaintop. The outcasts consist primarily of younger aliens and this population exhibits definite masochistic tendencies. My visit coincided with their annual initiation rites, which took place on the side of the mountain.
To get a better view and gain a deeper understanding of the ritual, I first entered a metal and glass cage suspended by a thin cable strung between a series of poles. The cable itself moved, pulling the teetering cage along its route. As soon as the cage began to lift off the ground, the door snapped shut and I had a totally unobstructed view above, below and around me. When I reached the summit, I saw patches of blue sky, sun and clouds over an expansive vista of water and land. Directly beneath me, however, I saw a muddy, rock–strewn path zigzagging through the trees.
I soon learned that the purpose of the ritual was for the aliens to roll down this path as quickly as possible on two–wheeled devices with knobby tires. Males and females had separate rituals and never mixed with each other on the trail. The aliens' bodies had glowing, plastic skin in an assortment of bright yellow, blue, green and red neon colors in swirled and checked patterns. However, their circulation systems appeared faulty and prone to frequent leakage, as there were patches of blood that had oozed out and mixed with mud caked on many individuals' skin.
The aliens' heads were disproportionately large in comparison to their bodies, and their eyes were buried deep within their hard, shiny skulls that lacked any hair whatsoever. These mutants apparently also had poor respiratory function because they required breathing tubes in the front of their heads.
I returned to the base of the mountain to watch the mutants roll down the trail. Their progress was of great interest to their friends and relatives whose appearance and skin coloration were slightly less flamboyant and more human–like. The humanoids lined the path and made loud, guttural sounds as the mutants passed, many of the participants tipping over when they hit bumps and tree roots. A mysterious, evil spell had been cast over a large group of the humanoids who stared without emotion at a huge, light–emitting screen that captured and displayed moving images of some of the key locations in the mutants' ritual.
Since the mutants started their descent at different times, it took a full afternoon for the entire ceremony to be completed. Upon conclusion of the ceremony, the mutants who made it down the trail in the shortest period of time without tipping over assembled on a platform. A male humanoid with a very loud voice praised them and gave them flowers. Then he opened a bottle and sprayed a colorless, bubbling solution on a selected mutant's head. The chosen mutant seemed happy that he was getting wet.
The next morning, one of the aliens invited me to take a ride with her using one of the strange two–wheeled devices that she called a velo de montagne. Sophie appeared to be a bit more human–like in appearance and demeanor than the aliens I had just observed, but no less athletic. She spoke perfect English in addition to her native galactic language.
Our trip, however, did not begin at the top of the mountain. On the contrary, we started at the base and worked our way higher and higher. I found that the process required considerable effort to get my velo to move. I needed to push against two small foot pedals in a constant circular motion. Super–alien Sophie, on the other hand, was energized in the Earth's atmosphere and effortlessly floated upwards. She advised me that I could make the pedaling a bit easier by pressing two small levers with my thumbs.
I did this and fell over.
Sophie laughed. "Now you're one of us!" she said, racing ahead.
The Image Mill
From that point on I found myself enjoying the rituals and culture of this strange, alien colony more and more. As primitive as some aspects of the society were, their culinary arts had evolved to a gastronomic pinnacle. Whether seated outdoors at a sidewalk cafe or atop the ancient city inside a rotating restaurant, I dined in elegance on slow food.
On the last evening of my visit, the aliens conducted a special send–off ceremony. The wall of 120–foot–tall grain silos lining the city's harbor was illuminated from space in a bigger–than–life outdoor music video. The stacks came alive in thousands of visual transformations as they danced to the onward beat of a land and its people that had changed with the passing centuries—suggesting that the capacity for imagination and adaptation is not so alien after all and may lie within all of us.
If you go:
The events and venues depicted in the narrative occurred in the Quebec City, Canada region and included the Musee de la Civilisation (Museum of Civilization), the Cirque du Soleil show Les Chemins invisibles (The Invisible Paths), The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Mont–Sainte–Anne (Saint Anne Mountain) and Moulin a images (The Image Mill).
For information on planning a trip to Quebec City and the surrounding region, see www.quebecregion.com.
© Quebec Tourism
David Lee Drotar's travel stories appear in Mountain Living, The Globe & Mail, New York Post, The Buffalo News and numerous other publications. He is the author of seven books including Steep Passages: A World wide Eco Adventurer Unlocks Nature's Spiritual Truths (www.brookviewpress.com).
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