This should be a story about wading through sky, a moss-slick bridge, a blinding invisible cloud raining up fromthe earthallaround drencheddrippingfloodpouring through you water on wateron water on and on washing on and gushing on and on soaking spongy shirts on sopping skin, eyes stung by an apocalyptic sunshower surrounding all sides, water, rushing to the bottom, coming back again, the most impatient water cycle ever on and flowing falling flying up or down or on and on or steam or clouds or condensation drowning conversation fogging saturated senses redefining preconceived anticipated misperceptions of precipita—-RAINBOW : rain recapitulating pounding humid sound stream falling from there to here and on wet wet wetwetwet. Wet. Wet. Woah.
But then Victoria falls was overshadowed by a handsy monkey. Having not used my new toy phone all day, of course I decided a baby babboon deserved to be the only thing I documented on this device for the benefit of future generations. One thing led to another and my friend’s vulnerable backpack wound up in the hands of a fatherly babboon. I was sent to hike through the rest of the pack of babboons to the top of the trail and look for help. It’s a steep trail and I hate running under any circumstances. I’ve always said that running makes me feel like I’m either being chased by something, or I’m playing some less confrontational role in a group standoff against a babboon. I stand by those sentiments.
The oh-so-chill park rangers I found when I was near to passing out plainly informed me that if there was no food in the backpack*, the babboon would just leave it after looking through it. The important thing was just to not be aggressive, not try to scare or chase the babboon because then it would either run off with the bag or become aggressive back. They assured me despite my pleas that there was no need from them to attend to the situation. Lovely, I thought to myself, everything will be fine because probably they’re down there just waiting to hear from me anyway, riding it out, and the babboon will just leave the things and we’ll all be fine. Just in case, I desperately tried reaching everyone involved through phone, finally managing to send a WhatsApp message that seemed to have been received.
Meanwhile, back at the babboon ranch. It turns out my crew is not so much the ‘wait-and-see’ type. Let’s just say most of the objects were recovered but not before C’s dress had been ripped by the babboon and one friend brandished a knife on the babboon. At that point a third friend wisely noted that this made the babboon angry and told him to stop doing it. However, nearby Zambian men noted that this made the babboon angry and told him to keep doing it. In fact they joined in with their own knives.
The knife-wielder was of course the friend who I had managed to message to say ‘whatever you do: DONT BE AGGRESSIVE’. It turns out he did get the message: on the hike back up the trail.
Sorry, but I never got to take that photo.