So, back to where we left off, in Zimbabwe.
We met out on the veranda for dinner. The sun was just setting, and the grassy lawn stretched out long and away in front of us. The mists from The Falls rose in the distance. An exquisite landscape.
Mr D and I sat there like lumps, not really talking. He was scared witless and was afraid to open his mouth for fear of making some other detestable, contemptible mistake. I was furious about absolutely everything.
But I was also listening for the whine of mosquitos, who would soon be detecting my alluring scent and would descend upon me en masse to bite me and suck my blood. In the process, of course, I would be infected with the deadliest kind of malaria, the kind that strikes you down unexpectedly in a week's time. The kind where you're out at the shopping centre in the morning, picking out new shoes, and by the evening you're lying on a slab, dead as a doornail.
Because that's the kind of malaria I would surely be getting. Any moment now.
Miss T joined us.
She looked at both of us.
She cleared her throat.
"Ummmm. I think I should tell you that I was reading the hotel information book, and they say that this is a malarial area and we should be using mosquito repellant and taking anti-malarials."
I looked at Mr D and raised my eyebrows.
He swallowed and said, "Yes, we saw that too. I'm going to go out to find some Off! right after supper."
He did find some Off! for us, and the rest of the weekend went according to plan.
We saw the Falls, and we learned about the current state of Zim from our very articulate and well-educated guide, Bryson.
Zimbabwe was terrible then, in Feb 2007, and it's much worse now.
We walked along the edge of the Falls.
I imagined myself slipping on a wet rock and "Eeeeeee!" I was hurtling down the short wooded bank, grabbing for branches, tearing fingernails on rocks, and then suddenly, it was a freefall toward the raging waters beating the rocks far below.
That would just serve him right. Who's sorry now, buster?
We swung on vine swings. You see how pleased and happy I was.
"If this vine breaks, buddy, it'll all be YOUR FAULT!"
That evening, we saw hippo families bathing in the great Zambezi river.
"If one of those hippos comes over and bites our riverboat in half and we have to swim for our lives and I get pulled under and chomped to bits, you'll know who was to blame, pal!"
By the last morning, I'd gotten my MOOD under control, but only just. The monkeys stealing fruit from the breakfast buffet cheered me up quite a lot.
We were really lucky to see what may have been a last glimpse of this unique spot. And of course, none of us got malaria, so it was all fine in the end.
When we returned to safe old Jo'burg (ha!) Miss T and I scurried off to get anti-malarial drugs to be taken retroactively. Four weeks of pills. Mmmm, mmmm.
And we learned that of course, South Africans and a whole bunch of other nationalities don't need visas at all for traveling to Zim, which was why the travel agent hadn't thought to mention it. And of course, every South African already knows that malaria is rampant in Zimbabwe, so no need to mention that either.
Dumb Americans, on the other hand.... don't know much at all. Hey, live and learn.