I’m not sure if it was the clouds above or the mist below, the soggy trail or the price gouging or the aggressive touts selling the same 50 billion Zimbabwean notes “my friend” or the sad road to the noble bridge or the “no bungee jumping for old farts with back surgeries” or the overpriced taxi back or my boys’ lung infections or the airline putting Ben on stand-by for our return flight or the mosquitos or the untrained waiters or the other fake friend asking for my shoes or T-shirt, but today was a lowlight.
Victoria Falls is lipstick on a frog in need of a kiss. It is deservedly a natural world wonder, and might stir the soul absent the surrounding fees and gates and touts and tragedy… but today the latter won and I left The Smoke that Thunders more melancholy than inspired.
Enough whining. The falls are magnificent – I’ll let the pictures tell the tale – and the
Victoria Falls Bridge holds as much wonder as our beloved Golden Gate… spanning this deep gorge in deep dark Africa in 1904 was an impressive feat of engineering and logistics.
And we did recapture some of the area’s long lost grandeur when we lunched at the Victoria Hotel. That grande dame has modest roots as the bridge-builders’ workers’ quarters, but colonial brits wrapped it in lovely English gardens and grew it into a haven above the Zambezi. Though we were not guests, the head server Philip welcomed us all warmly and took the time to show off the grounds and share some history… and the wart hog family playing out front entertained us before heading back.
The boys needed rest …so I sent them and Sue back to the lodge and made a more pleasant afternoon wandering the streets, avoiding hawkers, and getting some business done. Crackers for the boys? check. Cought syrup? check. 3-pronged South African charging block? check. Shuttle home? Check.
With Max and Ben both down for the count Sue and I snuck out for what started as a quiet dinner, until the Zulu singers and dancers piled into the restaurant like an African Mariachi band. Good fun but not the quiet dinner we sought…