A Travellerspoint blog

Day 83 – To the falls and Mama Africa

14th December 2011

semi-overcast 26 °C

Victoria Falls is a tourist town built at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side of the Zambezi. We’d pulled into Shoestrings backpackers the previous afternoon. We’d made straight for the pool and had an impromptu game of volleyball with a couple of locals, Nigel and Bashia. The night had been a big one and the bar got busy when thirty Swedes arrived from nowhere all gagging for a session. The pool table had been jammed with the local guys taking on all comers. I’d duly put my money down and was waiting to take on the table. By the time I got to the table I’d had quite a few beers that had been washed down with rum and coke; it was time for a bit of flamboyance. I hit the table, the arrogant joker, telling the guys they were in trouble now and that they’d met a Scouser. I played like only a drunk man can. I told them what I’d do before pulling off the perfect shot. Chip shots, doubles, even a treble; all preceded with a self confident “Guys! Watch this, get your video cameras out, you won’t see this again.” The first game was over, too easy, but then the rum slipped into my blood stream. I became rubbish again. The dream was over, the arrogance gone.

A couple of white Zimbabweans joined the table and Laura had got chatting about the last decade in the country. In the latter part of the 2000’s inflation rose something like one sextillion percent so the goods that your one Zimbabwean Dollar used to buy could now only be bought with 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 dollars. It was crazy, bread would be worth one price in the morning and be a fourth price by the time the shop closed. Suitcases of money were needed; the treasury produced million dollar notes before billion and finally trillion dollar notes. For the guys who had US dollars life was cheap. For those that didn’t, by the time you got to spend your weekly or monthly wage it was no longer worth a loaf of bread. Ironically the money is worth more now as 80 billion dollars gets you a pair of snazzy binoculars from a Scouse tourist. Back then it got you a piece of bread.

The Falls were far more spectacular from the Zimbabwe side, a better view of the length of the Falls was gained and we could see the Devils pool across the drop, in Zambia, where we’d swam a few days earlier. Beneath us, where the water hit the river, iridescent rainbows sprang from the rocks looping all the way back to the rocks again. We got soaked as we danced in the spray and we sat for an hour on the rocky edge staring down into the falls.

The heat of the sun soon dried us and on our way back we had a bite to eat in Mama Africas’ cafe for some hot pot and respite from the heat. We stopped at the Spar on the way back to stockpile some booze. Dark rum for five pounds a bottle; and beers for one pound a litre. That’d do the trick.

Posted by ibeamish 02:31 Archived in Zimbabwe

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