So Day 2, Moyo Island dawns with a ‘BLIM BLIM BLIM BLIM BLIM BLIM BLIM BLIM’ from my iPhone that’s charging on my ‘Jungle Tent’ bedside table. It’s great having an itinerary ‘n’ all, but there’s about 800% more alarm calls than there would be if we were just doing it a la carte. My usual holiday itinerary is ‘Arrive. Disrobe. Drink.’ But we’re heading for a special waterfall inland, so special that it takes a walk-boat-walk-jeep-walk to get there, which – as I’m sure you can appreciate – is music to the ears of someone with 4 children, two aged 5 or less.
We take a boat, then we arrive at Labuan Aji, the nearest village, then we walk to the Jeep park. Turns out it’s a WWII Toyota left behind by the Japanese when they quit in 1946.
I think I might have watched ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ too many times because I’m BESIDE MYSELF with excitement. It’s like going to the Imperial War Museum and then driving away in one of the exhibits, complete with utterly realistic stage-set and fully costumed actors. The kids are – as usual – massively underwhelmed by what is quite the experience. Motion sickness sets in after 5 minutes (to be fair, the road is properly f**cked, if it exists in any form at all) and then there’s ‘ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?’ from the back seat. I tell you, kids these days.
But there’s a certain ‘I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here’ appeal to the old ‘jungle waterfall in clearing’ scenario so I’m game. Haven’t we all dreamed of such places: crystal, tumbling waters; iridescent butterflies, luscious foliage?
This place is all of that, and more. The water is clear and green and everyone* jumps in without a second thought except … me. My absolute nightmare is one of the kids (or me, frankly) diving or jumping into a pool without checking the depth/rocks and getting properly messed up. The kids have all done it without hitch and now it’s my turn:
Ignore the massive pants/arse: feel the fear.
And she’s in. Blimey O’Reilly I’m glad them pants were black.
SERIOUS, INTROSPECTIVE BIT KLAXON: Honestly, I’ve got more and more risk-averse as I’ve got older and I’m really not proud or happy about it. I used to be much more gung-ho. I know this is a fairly common phenomenon but still: it sucks. I have to force myself to do slightly risky things now, even things that are palpably ‘good for me’ and have a very low probability of causing harm (you should see me trying to cross on a flashing green man – it’s like something from Elf). Given how much travelling we’re planning on doing in the next 6-8 months though, I’d better get my head round it. I’m married to someone with an active death-wish, hobbies-wise and I have panic attacks about scuba diving. All I can say is, the next time I risk my life on camera, I’m going to make sure it’s not – as the Scots would say – ‘Arse Oot’.
*John John didn’t jump. He was nearly thrown. But he didn’t jump.