An African holiday

An African holiday

It was May 2, 2018. After our great African holiday, six of us left for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Our mood was upbeat and our minds were still soaking in our pleasant travel experiences, until we realised that we were stuck in a huge traffic jam.

It was raining heavily and all roads were gridlocked with bumper to fender vehicles. Our vehicle moved, then inched and finally came to a grinding halt. It would not move for the next two hours. The truth dawned on us that we were missing our flight and we could do nothing about it. We had to re-book our tickets and stay in a hotel for the night. We reached Bengaluru late next night. Initially, we were a little confused, a little bemused, a little stressed. Then we realised that missing a flight can happen to the best of us and there is nobody to blame except Nature. But in our case, how could we blame nature in whose lap we were cradled for two weeks?

George Bernard Shaw said “A happy family is but an earlier heaven”. We are lucky to be in it. My wife has three sisters and one lives in Nairobi. A family holiday for four sisters and four co-brothers (we call ourselves COBRAS) was meticulously planned with great enthusiasm by the ladies. The plan included a visit to Victoria Falls in Zambia and the various interesting places in Kenya.

The first three days of our holidays were spent at my sister-in-laws house in Nairobi. We celebrated birthdays, wedding days, played balderdash, rummy and watched IPL. There were plenty of things to eat and drink all the time.  

As the ladies left for the famous Masai market, we men stayed at home and discussed politics. In the Masai market, one can shop for a variety of wooden sculptures, beaded necklaces, stone carvings and sisal bags. The two nice things about shopping here are that you talk to the actual people who make the craft items and you can bargain.

We had planned to meet our wives at the entrance of the market in the afternoon and then go out for lunch. As they did not come out on time, we entered the market only to be warmly greeted by the traders. “Are you looking for the four sisters, four mamas (ladies in Swahili)?” We then spent some more time admiring the bargaining skills of our spouses.

Livingstone is a town in southwestern Zambia, a few kilometres from the Zambezi River and the border with Zimbabwe. As we drove from the tiny, beautiful airport to our hotel, we could watch from our vehicle the world’s largest sheet of falling water — Victoria Falls or “the smoke that thunders”.

We had a helicopter ride and had an aerial view of the falls, but our walk on the “knife edge bridge” was the high point of our holiday. The exhilarating feeling treading on the bridge above the Zambezi River and getting drenched in the rain-like showers cannot be described by mere words. For the first time, I could touch a rainbow end on a nearby tree. I saw God in Nature.