So I began my recce around the falls, walking through the little tourist village, which lined the river looking out to the falls a couple of hundred yards away in the distance. I crossed the bridge which crossed from there over to some other lodges secluded in the jungle, but which afforded closer views of the falls, and walked through up to the falls themselves. And they were beautiful…. not dramatic by any means….. but almost like a minature version of Niagra on the American side. They’re a bout 10 metres high and stretch maybe a hundred and fifty yards across, with all sorts of temptations for climbing and exploring them.
There were places to swim, a ladder going up and everywhere you looked children seemed to be playing and enjoying themselves without any adults restricting their imagination. And even though there was also their village along the banks of the river, in the distance just passed the tourist part, on the same side……… the whole of Tadlo felt secluded and away from everything…… none of the man made structures inhibited on the scene of the natural beauty. It looked like an amazing place to grow up!!!!! 🙂
So after a walk up and around, crossing another footbridge back to the other side, I went and had some lunch in what was gonna turn out to be the “local”. And after lunch, I felt like going for a swim and exploring the waterfalls. This German geezer was also up for it, so we crossed the bridge, went down to the river and swum through the water to the falls and climbed up them, then waded through the top of them, climbing here and there and taking liberties!!!!
It was great…. but the thing was….. as you well know by now…. I enjoy taking the odd liberty cos it gives me a buzz…… but I take calculated liberties…… but this German…… well…… he was taking DIABOLICAL LIBERTIES……… walking in places even an eskimo would find slippery and climbing in places where even I wouldn’t climb!!!!! Infact, he was taking so many liberties he was gonna end up killing himself!!!!….. and you know what…. he almost did!!!!
I’d found a pretty chilled spot, sitting on a rock in the middle of the falls with the water gushing over my shoulders, just above a ledge which was about 3ft wide and 10ft long. I’d already walked on it and felt like an ice skater minus his skates!!! I warned the Nazi… I mean German…. (I’m only having a bubble bath with ya….. and the Germans know it too!!!;-) )…… that it was slippery, but he continued in Japanese Kamakarze vein (no wonder they were allies during the war!!! 😉 …. I’m so joking!!!! 😉 )…….. and he ended up slipping backwards, in almost slow motion, landing on his hands, so he was on all fours but in a crab like stlyle with his coal sack beneath him. And slowly and increasingly faster the flow of the water was taking him along the ledge and leading him over it, into what would be his last moments……. because if you could’ve seen the volume and power of the falls as they crashed the 10 metres to the rocks below, you’d realise that Bob Hope was back in town ready for another cameo!!!!! 🙂
He had a frozen expression on his face as he realised he was powerless to do anything about it…… but luckily his projected route went straight past me and I was reaching out for him….. and just as he was inches from the edge I managed to grab hold of his forearm, pulling it up and placing his hand on a rock so he could get a grip and support his own weight…… I swear, it was that close!!!!!
Yeah, I saved a Germans life!!!! Yeah, yeah …. I know, I know…… what was I thinking!!!!! Dont give me a hard time about it!!!! I’ve been doing that myself!!!!!! ;-)….. I’m only joking…… I do actually really like the Germans, they’re great people……. I do I tell ya!!!!….. Why does nobody ever believe me when I say that?!!!! I’ve found that the English and Ze Germans 😉 have so much in common…… except that they’re more organised and we have more of a laugh!!!! We are all Angles and Saxons after all….. well, maybe our darker cousins (who are also English) aren’t, but at least they can pretend to be if they want!!!! :-)……………
* You see the English are pretty much a mongrel nation anyway…. we’ve got a bit of everything in us….(and I’m so glad about that Viking bit!!!!!….. definately makes me feel like more of a man after all those girlie Normans started spreading their seeds about!!!!), and what I’ve discovered over the years is that being English is not about race or colour, or bloodline or culture…….. its about an ideal….. a common ideal amongst a group of people who share the same values and cherish the same things…… its about the ideal of liberty and freedom, of justice, tolerance and fair play…. for all people……. whomever they are and whatever they’re doing……. and it’s about standing up for the defence of those liberties in the face of oppression.
I’ve met many people who are not ethinically “English”, but who live in England and are far more “English” to me then some of those who claim to be as a blood right. And as a result I feel that anyone is welcome to live in the land that I was born into…….. as long as their intentions are positive and they hold dear to their hearts the same ideals that I have refered to.
*……… and I’m sure there are many nations and peoples around the world who hold the same ideals close to THEIR hearts too…. so maybe we are, after all in fact, part of the same nation. *
I was talking to a Scotsman a couple of days ago and it turns out that New Zealand isn’t as free as the first impressions suggest….. they’ve got some really anal procedures restricting liberty too. Jim wanted to do a walk through a national park and it turns out he has to book everything about that walk in advance……. book going on it, state where he will be on each day and book the nights accomodation at each place before he sets out!!!!! So much for doing things spontaneously at your leisure!!!! And of course you have to pay for the priveledge of walking through nature…. apparently all monies going towards conservation……. conservation being an army of wardens policing the parks making sure that you dont walk off the designated paths!!!!
Apparently this is all in the pursuit of making sure people are safe….. well that’s great….. everyone’s safe but nobody has any FREEDOM!!!!!! I mentioned to Jim how I feel that England (Britain) really is one of the freest countrys in the world and he said… “Its interesting you should say that, cos when I’m out in the countryside around Fife, I always pick foreign back packers up….. and whenever I ask them what it is about Scotland (Britain) that they like the most….. they always say the freedom”.
…..and I feel its no coincidence that the Magna Carter was signed in England (even if it did infact gave away power to the church!!!!) and the first modern democracy was born there (even if democracy is a lie, in fact, if there’s no choice!!!!). Now these aren’t the ramblings of some kind of patriot!!!…… I’m well passed that now….. but I was once and that phase of my life helped me to understand a lot about the passions of tribalism and its limited thinking…… and this is also not a rant to tell the rest of the world how great ….. Britain is! 😉
In fact, it’s the opposite, its to make the people that already live there, and who haven’t travelled, REALISE WHAT THEY”VE GOT AND TO REMIND THEM OF WHO THEY FUCKING ARE! And to help them understand why so many people desire to live in the United Kingdom and why those freedoms are worth standing up and shouting the odds for as the falsehood which is Blair tries to undermine those civil liberties in the name of fictious anti-terrorism measures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry…….. got a bit carried away there!!!! :-)……… but felt it had to be said….. heard about the ID card melarchy the other day and wasn’t happy about it……… it’s a stepping stone to something bigger.
Ok…….. I was going on about what I believe it means to be English……… and from now on when I say England or English…… read Britain or British…….. because I think this has got something to do with the British Isles as a collective…….. and as much as Englands Celtic neighbours will want to spit at the fact :-)!!!!….. we are, for all intense and purposes, the same people, with the same way of looking at the world. Isn’t it strange how sometimes we can be drawn into hating the very thing we most resemble….. perhaps because it’s a reflection of ourselves and we’re not comfortable with it!!!!….
…………and all this Englishness is summed up in one word…….. Cricket….. And to truly understand the English and their mentality, you first have to understand the game of Cricket!!!!! And more to the point……. watching Cricket…….. you see, for the English………. it’s not about winning at all costs……….. it’s about having a laugh while living in the hope of winning, no matter how long it takes!!!!! 🙂
It’s a perculiar oddity with England that we’re terrible when things are going well and we’re in the driving seat…… we seem to fall to pieces at the easiest hurdle…… but when our backs are against the wall and all hope seems lost…… it inspires a passion in us which enables us to perform the most amazing of miracles!!!! That’s why the Ashes brought so much joy to the English people….. not only were they were won in pure English fashion……. against the odds, showing touches of genious to get in front, falling flat our faces allowing the opposition to catch up and going on to scrape past the post in style!!!!!!…… but they also captured that passion of hope in achieving glory!!!!
And although, like many nations, England always has the greatest of expectations for itself……. the most glaring difference between England and the rest of the world is that what we respect the most is not a winner…… but the person who’s willing to take on all the odds in the hope of winning!!! And it’s no surprise that some of our greatest heroes are also amongst our greatest failures!!!! A la Eddie the Eagle Edwards again!!!!!! Or Frank Spencer!!!! 🙂 ….. We love someone who tries their heart out and fails, just as much as someone who wins in style…… because it doesn’t matter to us about the winning or the losing……… what matters to us is how they conduct themselves throughout the act of winning or losing. And if we do happen to win……. it’s never the easy way!!!!!!!! 🙂
And away from Englands mirage of misery and its dramatic failures…… it remains a nation steeped in hope…… and even in the midst of defeat…… hope continues to spring eternal…….. hope for a better day………. hope for a sunny day ;-)……… and hope for the glory!!!!! 🙂 And many many times, when all seems lost……. we haven’t given up…… and we’ve found that glory…….. because deep within our hearts we know that even if we fail……. from the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success!!!!!……. And for us…… they’re English Roses 😉
Daaaa Daa daa da daaaaa da………… daa da dadada daaaaaaaa 😉 …….. last night at the proms hey!!!!…. What would you do without them!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
And that should apply to everyone no matter what nationality you find yourself to be……. it matters not what blood runs through your veins or the flag that flies above your head or which government speaks in your name……… what matters are the values you hold dear to your heart and the qualities that make you human. That’s what makes a nation. And that’s why everyone can speak English!!!!! 😉
And so back to those people I like so much, Germany and the World cup!!!! ;-)….. and the hope of an England Germany final!!!!!! It’s what everyone wants….. well apart from Brazil, France, Argentina, Italy…. etc, etc!!!! 🙂 May the best team win……. it’s only a game after all ……. Cricket that is!!!!! Come on England!!!!!! 😉 *
………. With relief, he managed to hold on and clamber up on top of the falls, and as he stood there, catching his breath and composing himself…. he looked at me and said… “You saved my life”… I said “It’s cool….. you can buy me a beer later if you want” and smiled. He looked at me with a blank face and wandered off into the water, continuing to take liberties…….. but only now……. Diabolical had convieniently departed!!!!! 😉
And he never did buy me that beer in the evening!!!! Which was cool….. I never did see anyone buy Superman a beer and god knows how many lives he’s saved!!!!;-)……… and it turned out he was skint anyway…… well…… skint by choice…… he reckoned he only had $15 to his name in cash because, although he had travellers cheques, he didnt like to cash them……. because when he cashed his travellers cheques….. he ended up spending his money!!!!!……. “What the fuck!!! That’s what it’s there for!!!!” I said with a hint of taking the piss in my voice……. but oh no… he prefered to starve all day, everyday, only spending money on his accomadation and the odd pancake!!!!!
Meanwhile…….. he would stare at everyone while they were eating, with a look on his face which said droul was imminent!!!! It was actually quite unsettling, because literally everytime someone paused from eating to participate in conversation (and maybe temporarily put their knife and fork down)….. he ask if they’d finished….. cos he was after the left overs!!!!! I found it to be a bit rude…. and quite frankly…. embarassing…. but he was a good lad though, so you couldnt hold it against him! 🙂
But as my adventure in Tadlo went on, I continued to meet some beautiful people…..
Love and Light,