I Traveled to Wakanda, and It Nearly Killed Me

Black Panther » Surviving in Wakanda

“I Visited Wakanda and Barely Survived the Experience”

A Terror-Filled Travelogue Detailing the Hidden Horrors of Wakanda!

Yes, Wakanda is a veritable technological marvel that somehow maintains a cool, consistent 75 degrees -- and yes, I’m referring to the outdoors. However, this wondrous, hyper-clean, fashion-forward future-city -- with its hovering, scrubbing robots projecting frenetic hip-hop beats – hides a great deal of tumult underneath it’s slicky circuited veneer.

When I first entered the city, I was met with a charged African sun; shifting cityscapes that better positioned their solar panel exteriors to absorb said sun; green and glistening gardens inset with humming solar weaves; and brightly wrapped citizens holding nearly transparent cellphones projecting reactive holographic controls.

But shortly after checking in to my hotel (yes, it hovered), and after 3 complimentary drinks, a subtle rumbling began to disturb the ice in my glass. And then the rumbling intensified -- my fruity, blood-colored drink ended up on the lap of a very important dignitary dressed in a porcelain-white body stocking.

And then several headless bodies were hurled into the lobby moments before the body-hurler presented himself:

A very large man dressed like a white ape entered the lobby, beat his chest, and promised to eat the guests if Black Panther didn’t grant his tribe sovereignty. He called himself Man-Ape, and his violent interruption wasn’t the first symptom of serious social and political unrest occurring beneath Wakanda’s nationally projected image of tolerance and civility.

In fact, there were several instances during my “vacation” where the “wonders of Wakanda” presented themselves as jagged-toothed terrors, unfriendly artificial animals, terrorists claiming wrongdoing at the hands of Wakandan royalty, and very volatile security officers/drones that shoot/eviscerate first and cover up international incidents later.

So, that graphic entrance by the boastful and perpetually beheading Man-Ape? Yes, my friends – that incident was the first of many barely survivable occurrences inflicted upon myself, and a few unlucky tourists who followed the lure of civility, technology, culture, and corporate correspondence.

I was hoping my travelogue would astound with stories of wondrous architecture and an enviable utopian society influenced equally by art and science. Instead, I have the following horrific tales to tell regarding my Wakanda experience – an experience that involved a lot of biting, blasting, kicking, pooping and stabbing.

Let’s start at the very beginning – at the exact moment Wakanda’s pristine political finish morphed into a chunky mushroom soup. I call this first entry...

That Time I Lost Three Fingers to the Man-Ape

He screamed; he hollered; and he demanded the Black Panther make an appearance. Unfortunately for myself and the few surviving guests, the Black Panther did NOT make an appearance. So, for about four hours – and every hour on the hour – Man-Ape ate an unfortunate vacationer. We begged. We pleaded. We offered watches, jewels, and various crypto-currencies, but he continually snacked on tourists.

When the fourth hour arrived – with no Panther in sight – and regardless of my blubbering bargaining, he began nibbling on my fingers. Screaming like a ten-year-old girl watching Justin Bieber play tennis, I began to lose consciousness. Fourteen hours later, I woke up in a pristine Wakandan hospital with a neon panther painted over my face.

Apparently, the Black Panther showed up right before Man-Ape chomped down on finger #4 and dropped me off at the nearest health/crisis center. Gee, Panther. Right on time. Maybe skip the Avengers’ cookout when ape-themed tribal leaders start enacting cannibalistic retribution.

I also noticed a lot of activity along Wakanda’s impervious borders...

Are Supervillains Lining Up for Concert Tickets?

Apparently, it’s a weekly thing – a supervillain (and his contingent of militant supporters) can be found shaking fists, blasting soundwaves, and launching face-rockets towards Wakanda’s impervious, mostly invisible border walls.

On the day I took notice, Doctor Doom and a host of Doom-Bots were head-butting the southern gate in an effort to extract pieces of Doom’s very first time machine. After 3 days of incessant head-butting performed by 3,000 very sturdy robots (sounding like 3,000 kids hitting refrigerators with aluminum baking pans), the Black Panther finally revealed himself, confronting Doom and his army.

The result? Doctor Doom is now a reprogrammed nanny, a spiritual advisor, and a connoisseur of fine Wakandan wines.

Something that wasn’t a physical threat, but certainly a threat to my ego...

Everyone Is Smarter Than You

Seriously, everyone here has AT LEAST 2 PHDs – and they’re usually working on a genuinely emotive medical robot, a cure for infectious diseases, or some sort of contraption that disperses crop-growing ice cream to impoverished villages touting formerly unfarmable land.

And, because the average Wakadan is so damn nice, compassionate, tactful and reserved, you can never actually be mad at them for their superior brain power….which makes me very angry.

There Are Giant Vibranium Cables Hidden in the Jungle and They Made Me $#*! Myself

I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing, and I don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing (temperature regulation? Soil maintenance? Mosquito population control??), but I ‘m pretty sure they’re programmed to annihilate you if you start taking pictures. I know this because as soon as I pulled out the selfie stick, both my ankles were wrapped in metal tendrils which sent non-lethal – but very painful – electric shocks through my spinal column.

Suspended in mid-air for AT LEAST 3 hours, the continuous shocking purged my bowels and instigated regular vomiting. When a member of T’Challa’s secret police arrived – the panther-themed Hatut Zeraze -- my clothing was no longer an expression of pre-shrunk cotton – it was a dripping, wrinkled fecal-wrap that could only be removed through freezing, chipping, pointing and laughing.

The Animals Are Robots. With Lasers

During yet another “approved” jungle excursion (because the ‘fecal-wrap’ incident wasn’t enough of a deterrent), I was approached by several “wild” lions. Again, this was an approved trail populated by ROBOT animals who were programmed to INTERACT PEACEFULLY with properly vetted tour-takers.

However, the rules for these tours are very, VERY strict, especially those governing smartphone use. Reading from the brochure:

“Phones MUST remain turned off AT ALL TIMES. Phone signals may disrupt the frequencies emitting complex command packages to artificial wildlife.”

While petting the closest lion, my editor sent a text – he was wondering how I was adjusting to life sans three digits. Immediately after the text alert, the lion spasmed and his eyes bulged, liquefied, and turned a bright, fiery red.

I backed away slowly as the creature vomited fluid-soaked cables and shed fur-covered access panels. From hidden speakers located somewhere near the ears, a piercing siren flowed, followed by a loud, booming proclamation: DESTROY THE SKULL-FACED FOOT SOLDIERS OF THANOS AT ALL COSTS!!!!

After the proclamation repeated itself a third time, those red, fiery eyes emitted a constricting bowel-pummeling beam that held me in place while instigating blistering bursts of diarrhea.

Six hours later, I awoke in the very same Wakandan hospital/crisis center with an artificial stomach, a cybernetic eye, and a cellphone wrapped in sagging, feces-covered skivvies. And yes, I understood the implication. Message received, Doctor Adebayo.

Superior Wi-Fi with an Invasive Drawback

The Wi-Fi is amazing. Just connect it – voluntarily – to the surgically implanted hub residing in your cerebral cortex. And that requires an operation – free to all Wakandan citizens, by the way – that I am in no way amenable to. No sir, no siree, and no siree Bob.

The Panther God is a Little More Hands-on

If you ever slammed your finger in a car door and used the name of your preferred savior/ infallible being in vain, the repercussions for said name-slinging were completely non-existent. In fact, you found it very cathartic and did so again when the hospital issued a bill for services not covered by your insurance.

However, the people of Wakanda will never invoke the name of Bast, the panther god, under any circumstances whatsoever. Why? Because there was once a man named Dumaka.

Dumaka got the very best hover board consumer-grade Wakandan science had to offer. Dumaka underestimated the take-off speed and smashed his shoulder into a tree, dislocating the shoulder. According to witnesses, Dumaka said something like “Bast be damned! You are a cruel god to have mangled my shoulder. You are a sneaky, vile cat who does not deserve my thanks, offerings, or worship!”

Deferring to witness testimony, a swirling black cloud formed directly above Dumaka, and from that cloud emerged a giant black paw. Dumaka’s head was brutally torn from his body, taken by the claw and into the cloud. Immediately after the ordeal, and for three whole days, it rained Vibranium-laced shoulder pads. Apparently, the god had a point to make regarding hover board safety.

I Rubbed a Frog and Ended Up in the Past, and Then Back in the Present, but Without a Big Toe

On my THIRD jungle excursion (because yes, I’m a %@#$ing idiot), I happened across an oddly colored frog. Upon picking up the frog, I found myself standing an arm’s-length away from a massive gladiator in a giant, uncomfortably loud arena. At this point, I noticed the frog cracking a smile.

Apparently, this infinitely charged amphibian is one-half of an artifact pairing known as “King Solomon’s Frogs.” Discovered (and supposedly secured) by the Black Panther, one frog controls space, the other time.

Who was hopping about unsupervised on an approved tourist trail? That’s right, the one that befuddles time for its own malicious purposes.

I shook the frog – whose smile grew wider – and demanded it return us (IMMEDITATELY) to the present. As I shook and yelled and threatened and screamed, the gladiator lunged forward. The frog laughed (yes, it actually laughed), glowed a bright neon green, and began projecting us back to the present – but not before the gladiator’s sword parted one big toe from a chaotically kicking foot.

Awaking in the Wakandan hospital/mostly automated crisis center, Doctor Adebayo circled my bed, shook her head, and pointed to my new Vibranium toe. After another disappointing head shake and a politely conveyed middle finger, “Doctor A” left the room and a neatly folded care guide to my brand-new robot toe (Wi-Fi enabled, of course).

In conclusion, if you’re planning a trip, I would suggest chugging super-soldier serum, reverse-engineering a little Iron Man tech, or hiring the Punisher as your highly trained travel buddy.

And, if you do actually make the trip (which I would NEVER RECOMMEND), I suggest eating very little – Wakanda’s bowel-manipulation technology has been successfully weaponizing partially digested foodstuff since 1966.