I was recently afforded the opportunity to fulfill a long-lived dream: to visit Victoria Falls.
I was there at a Conference, so, for the most part of the weekend, I remained indoors, with only the promise of a vast landscape that the windows of the hotel so generously offered its guests.
Soon enough, however, more by impulse than anything, I got on the bus and saw myself being taken to the city center of friendly Vic Falls town in Zimbabwe.
I took my passport with, thankfully a beneficiary of all things SADC, meaning that I could freely cross over to Zambia should I so wish. And oh, how I wished.
I stepped on the sign of Victoria Falls, and though eager to finally see the wonder, the $30 fee that came with left me in despair.
And then there was Ari.
Originally from Livingstone himself, and carrying only an A4 piece of paper written, “Endorsed”, he commuted daily from Livingstone to Victoria Falls town. (that piece of paper, by then, filled with angry stamps).
We walked together from then Zimbabwe (a 30 minute walk until Zambia), and in walking he would alternate between being a tour guide and telling me about the story of his humble life.
He showed me the bridge, the bungee jumping site, the hints of the falls, all with the promise that the Zambian side was much, much better than I would imagine. And cheaper, too!
“I’ll just tell them you’re my friend from Lusaka“, he told me, “and maybe you’ll pay about $5“.
I payed $10, and it was all worth it.
The view was mesmerizing, there was almost no difference between the sky and the actual water. The furnace that came as a result of the reunion between the crashing water and the river is a sight you would definitely pay for.
We had to rush through it, so we only spend about 10 minutes at the Falls, since I had to catch a shuttle back in Zimbabwe. Of course I didn’t, I ended up taking a walk, rather, back.
I met Mande, Kenneth and Donovan, all from Zambia themselves, from whom I managed to negotiate some crafts as souvenirs.
I was just genuinely happy to be in the middle of Zimbabwe and Zambia, comforted by the sound of the falls. It’s a comfortable feeling to be in, with no worries, besides from the sun that shone unashamed.
I ended up being broke, as all my money left me.
I had only $5 dollars left, with which I pulled the “help a poor tourist out”, got in a cab, and the driver generously drove me back to where I was staying.
I packed my bags, drank an entire bottle of water, and left for the airport.
It was time to leave home.