Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Bangu and the Vampa
The Vampa falls were designated as the lower and upper falls. The lower falls were a much shorter trip – maybe an hour walk from the river. Scrambling over the rocks and playing in the clear, cold water was fun. The valley rang with our shouts and laughter as we jumped from the edge of a cascade into the pool below, or slid down the smooth rock slide to the bottom of the upper falls. Swimming here was a relief from the heat and humidity of the rainy season and we relished it!
Once, Garcia (our gardener, previously mentioned here) and Pedro, our houseboy, went with my brother George and I for the strenuous hike to the very top of the plateau. I do not recall who else was with us. What I do remember is the struggle to get up the steep rocky path – I was never the most athletic or fit kid – and even worse, the trip down. My knees were water, my thighs on fire. A brutal hike. On that same trip, I fell on the final ladder, putting my leg between the slats and deeply bruising my shin. Garcia and Pedro started laughing as I started to tear up and though I knew why, it still felt cruel. (One was supposed to laugh at pain or fear, to keep the bad spirits away.) I had a knot on that shin for years afterwards.
On another occasion, I was walking with Dr. and Mrs. Frazier, running up and down the small hummocks in the path. Serious miscalculation caused me to land on my left knee resulting in a deep jagged gash. It took weeks to heal. That scar still reminds me to pay attention on uneven ground!