‘It’s 100 metres.’
‘So how long will that take?’
‘The man says it takes twenty minutes.’
‘Twenty minutes? Even I,’ I scoff, ‘can manage to walk 100 metres in twenty minutes.’ And with that I fling open the car door.
Immediately I am knocked backwards by the wave of humidity. I groan and pull myself up. I am not dressed for sweating. I am wearing the last item of clothing left in my bag that isn’t dirty, sweat soaked or caked in sand. It is a pretty, strapless silk dress I bought for £2 in India. It’s elasticated around the bust and the sweat has already started to gather in the folds (of the dress – I’m not that fat) and I haven’t even started moving yet. I groan some more as we set off on the walk to the waterfall – or the mountainfall as Lula calls them.
We approach what looks to be a concrete wall. No, I blink, it’s just the road. It veers upwards like a granite cliff. Ok, so now I get the twenty minutes. My own child outwalks me. She is 3. I growl and curse and sweat my way along the path, muttering between clenched teeth that it had better be bloody Vic Falls after this.
The view that greets us is astonishing. Litter cakes the ground in all directions, frothy, stagnant water gathers in pools at our feet and a little bit of a water falls over a rock a few feet above us.
‘I can’t believe I climbed that bloody hill, in this dress – for that.’ I wave my hand at the dribble above us. ‘I cannot believe it.’ I stamp off back the way we came, whilst John and Alula start leaping over rocks determined to find some grace in the situation.
I don’t get very far before I have to stop. My sunglasses are fogging up – – and there is now more water pouring down my cleavage than over the waterfall.
Sometimes, sometimes, I think I would sell my body parts for air con.
Even as I think it I hear Al Gore yelling at me about climate change but seriously, obviously he’s never climbed a waterfall in a silk dress in Malaysia.