Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Standing at the Edge

In mid-November I took my first trip out of Lusaka, a much-needed (literal) breath of fresh air. The daily grind was starting to gnaw away at my joy, and it was time to run around outdoors and just play. Whirlwind was the name of the game- an 8 hour bus ride on Saturday with the return on Monday morning left us with about 36 hours to visit Victoria Falls. Saturday was dedicated to sitting by a pool and eating, lots of eating. In fact, we had two separate dinners. The first took place in a deserted bar/night club, spinning classical rock while we munched away on nachos and crocodile burgers. After an exhilarating round of pool without a proper cue ball (but with bugs-a-plenty), we headed off to dinner number two. This consisted of pizza and milkshakes while listening to a faux jazz/salsa band, covering such hits as “Red Wine” and “Killing me Softly.” Saturday ended with all of my flatmates falling asleep in the hostel room, passed out with the lights on.

Luckily Sunday made the 16 hour trip totally worthwhile. Sara, Michelle, Luke and I headed off to the falls around 10am and didn’t return until after sunset. We spent the day hiking around every imaginable trail, battling baboons, and even enjoyed the screaming as Luke and Sara swung across the gorge. Since the falls are at their lowest this time of year, we were able to actually hike across the top of them. Normally this part of the falls would be gushing with millions of tons of water, but we faced minimal resistance while hiking to the edge of the cliff. Standing at the edge of falls gave me the strangest urge to sing “This is my Father’s World,” and I did in fact hum it a few times that day. It is impossible to not be in awe of all the wonders, to shake in your boots a bit, and just be thankful for the amazing experience.

On the trek out to the edge of the falls, we met two Aussie brothers, Joe and Lewie, who were at the tail end of traveling around the world for a year. Later on that evening we enjoyed a “traditional” Zambian meal together, which in Livingstone apparently means eating n’shima and peanut chicken (pounded by the village wives) with a bib. It was weird. We ended the weekend with a few drinks, games and a good reason to learn Spanish. After a mere 5 hours of sleep on Sunday night, Sara and I managed to throw ourselves onto a bus and begin the long trek home. Despite the exhaustion, I had the bounce back in my step.

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