Swimming at the ledge

Victoria Falls , in the southern portion of the African continent, are know as the “largest” falls in the world. Using simple math in order to claim this status, they combine a vast height of 350 feet and a width of 5,600 feet to assemble the largest sheer face of a waterfall in the world.


courtesy, zambiatourism.com

Naturally, you would think the ledge of these falls would thwart close approaches. Living on the edge is not about wading just feet away from a watery precipice which will plunge you south about 350 feet in a blinding, drowning haze of turbulent water, right? Well at the top of Victoria Falls there is a small rock pool called Devil’s Pool which the locals and adventurous travelers claim is safe to wade in. Its proximity to the edge of the falls gives acrophobics like me the shivers. The fact that that people dive madly into Devil’s Pool and float happily to the very edge of onrushing hydro-destruction makes me fidget in this seat. This video shows a group of female tourists. From the looks and sound of it, college girls from the United States.

The video shows these girls climbing bravely up the rocks. Led by African guides they ascend to Devil’s Pool where they plunge in, one by one. The pool is relatively shallow and evidently the rocky footing is stable enough to prevent people from being swept over the ledge. The brave who have done it claim it is safe and exhilarating. Yes, I’ll buy the exhilarating thing. I’m sure jumping off the Eiffel Tower might be considered exhilarating except for the promise of hard ground at the end of the fall which promises to make the exhilaration very short lived, as well as its memory.

Other than the guides, the women are all white and look like they came right out of a Spring Break advertisement for Lake Havasu. Damned rich White people, they love that daredevil shit. Why is this? If they aren’t bungee jumping, they are parasailing or paragliding or jumping out of planes or climbing the face of 1000-foot rocks. White people have balls, don’t they? All the daredevil crap I’ve ever seen was performed by White people. White people, especially the well-to-do, seem to delight in squandering the ennui of their monetarily-assured status by risking their life on the nuttiest of physical feats. I never see minorities doing this stuff! I’m sure much of it is attributable to the fact that most daredevilry is not cheap, but still, there are minorities with the disposable means to indulge in such demented risk-taking behavior, but still…I don’t hear of too many who do. Putting your life on a recreational limb seems to be solely the province of the White person.

Speaking for myself, I’m intimidated by heights and feats of physical recklessness. I want to stay on the ground and to be propelled only by my own legs. I don’t want to fly through the air, I don’t want to hang for my life at the edge of dizzying heights. I just want to live in this crazy town which can be deadly enough. Actually, I’ve come close to checking out a few times. It’s the Mexican way, I think. I have no proof, but anecdotally, I’m certain Mexican people seem to have a built-in death wish. Mexican people (just read the news) are always letting their kids run into the street or getting squashed by garage doors or pulverized by industrial equipment and a host of other mundane dangers. We Mexicans have an unqualified ability to put ourselves in harm’s way even when we are just living life in all its daily drudgery. I realize accidents and murder just happen anywhere and at any time, but it seems Mexicans live their lives not far from the ledge of a waterfall called life.