The Wrist Watch That Saved My Life

duarte mountainIt all began a dark, dreary night on one of the highest mountains in the Dominican Republic. As an avid mountain climber I had decided to climb the highest mountain in the Dominican Republic called Duarte. This mountain has an elevation of approximately 7000 feet and though that is not very high it is a rigorous climb to the top. The record for climbing this mountain was 5 hours and 37 minutes and I was determined to beat that record.

I decided to start my ascent at 4 AM in the morning because it was advantageous to climb before the hot sun came out. The Dominican Republic is a tropical island and it can become quite toasty during the day. When the weather is hot it is harder to climb because of the increase in perspiration. Increased perspiration means that you will have to drink more water which means that you will have to carry more water which means that you will have to go slower because of the extra weight.

As I began my ascent I felt as if there was someone behind me. At first I ignored it as simply being an overactive imagination but the higher I got the more I was convinced that there was indeed someone following me. I tried to ignore this feeling of despair and concentrate on the task at hand. I was now half way up the mountain and I was ahead in time. The climbing record for this mountain has lasted for more than 20 years and there have been many attempts to better it but no one has been able so far to do it.

the snake man
The snake man of the Dominican. Cool figure

As I was 3/4 of the way up the mountain I positively knew that someone was now behind me. I still did not know why there would be someone following me so I continued upward at a torrid pace. The sun was now in the sky and the temperature was starting to rise. I consumed what little water I had carefully so that I would have enough for the return trip down the mountain. I still was on pace to beat the 20-year-old record and I was motivated to do so.

The time is now 9:05 AM and I still had 32 minutes left to make it to the top. I calculated that I would be able to do it in 16 minutes at the pace that I was climbing. I turned around to see if the person behind me was still following and I caught a glimpse of a man 500 yards further down the mountain. He saw me and yelled for me to stop because it was an emergency. I had to stop just in case there was a serious emergency happening and I reasoned that I would still have enough time to break the record.

As a man approached me I recognized him as the person who held the 20-year-old record. He told me that he did not want me to break his record and if I did not stop he would shoot me. I turned around and continued upward and he pulled out a gun and fired. The bullet went through my backpack and hit my outdoor watch which prevented the bullet from entering my body. I immediately turned around and threw a rock at this man and knocked him unconscious. I continued up the mountain and beat his record by 11 minutes. This crazy man was later sent to jail for attempted murder.

Here is the kind of watch that I was wearing then. It was a Seiko SNA411, a really solid steel watch. I don’t know what would have happened if I had one of those new plastic or resin watches, like the G-Shocks. They’re solid allright, but I’m a little doubtful they could retain a bullet. So, my Seiko did a great job. What did I do about that one being broken? I went ahead and bought another exactly the same.