Apart from our time in South Africa, our little ragamuffin gang also took a side trip to the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. That’s where you’ll find Victoria Falls, one of the so-called seven natural wonders of the world. Although it’s not the highest waterfall on Earth – that would be Angel Falls in Venezuela – the combined height and width of Victoria Falls make it the largest sheet of falling water on the planet. During peak season, 500 million liters of water (132 million gallons) go over the edge every minute.
It was at about that point in our voyage, the seven of us having huddled together in various airports, immigration lines, and hotel lobbies (not to mention squeezing into taxis not designed for seven passengers) that we decided we needed a name for our group. After all, the different animal groups all have names. Everyone knows a group of lions is called a pride. And elephants travel in a herd (as do many other species). Our safari ranger Fred taught us a few more. A group of cheetahs is called a coalition. A group of crocodiles is a bask (or a float). It’s a dazzle of zebras and a journey (or tower) of giraffes. It’s a pod of hippos and a crash of rhinos. Here’s a weird one: a group of water buffalo is called an implausibility.
An implausibility? What the heck does that mean? I have no idea. In Africa, lots of little things don’t always make sense. Like the night we had dinner at a fine restaurant in Johannesburg and requested water for the table. So they brought us three glassfuls.
For seven people.
Why? Don’t ask. It’s Africa.
I also have no idea who came up with all the crazy animal group names. But after a brief discussion amongst ourselves, Tim hit on one that seemed to fit us perfectly. As we trudged through yet another airport terminal with our luggage and electronics and souvenirs in tow, we realized that our little ragamuffin gang could be nothing else but an ambiguity of tourists.
An ambiguity? What the heck does that mean?
Don’t ask. It’s Africa.
As for Victoria Falls, being there is another experience where, like a safari, pictures negate the need for more words. Some of our pictures came out great, especially the ones we took during our brief helicopter ride above the falls. Others appear a bit cloudy or greyed. That’s because when you’re up close near the falls, the constant spray of water and the rising mist make it hard to catch clear shots. It’s kind of like trying to take pictures from inside a raincloud. At one point we got completely soaked, even though we were wearing two layers of ponchos. A couple of peeps in our group had to shut down their cameras to avoid water damage. And unfortunately, one iPhone bit the dust.
But we laughed our way through the deluge and shrugged off the broken gadgets. And we lent and borrowed clothes when a couple of pieces of our luggage were purposely taken off the plane before one of our flights – without our knowledge (until we landed). And we stayed calm when we were told that one of our flight bookings had mysteriously disappeared from the airline’s system. Hey, shit happens, even on vacation. Fortunately everyone in our ragamuffin gang is easygoing and flexible enough to handle our little “first world” problems with good humor and serenity. Because we’re an ambiguity, you see. And evidently that’s how an ambiguity rolls.
That, and it’s Africa.