Mid-morning on Saturday, I saw the boat coming. It must have felt what overconfident Christians must imagine it will feel like when the Lord comes for them. And so I ran to the shore as the boat came to a stall.
Guess what I should find wearing a life jacket and an idiot face on the boat. A Frenchman. There is a popular belief in regard to the unpardonability of the French people. (I believe it too. I wish to state this minute that I am willing to join or donate any charitable organisation that deals in playing bad practical jokes on Frenchmen on a tight schedule).
I asked in unbelief
whether he intended to go our way across the lake even when I knew he had hired the boat to the Central Islands.
“No”, the guide answered. Of course not.
“Then why did you stop here?” I wondered.
“There’s something the guide wants to pick”. And he did it fast returning in a few minutes.
The lake was unbelievably serene today in comparison with its madness the day before. The boat wasted no more time its roar was soon growing whimper as it skidded to the horizon. But I wasn’t going to be fooled today; I was going to pack and go back home. I walked back to where my bike stood for four days now. I felt like I owed it an explanation but I found it had already decided to give itself a vacation seeing as it was likely to look forward to a few weeks right there. Its rear tyre was flat and with it my motivation to pack right away.
Nothing induces paralysing lazyness in me like small inconveniences and so I sat for a long time in the shade and almost drifted into sleep when a group of women with toddlers and obscene loads upon their heads came chattering to join me. Unusual.
Almost always I’m unable to concern myself with other people’s business but I had to ask what had brought them here. They were going across the lake, one of the women said.
“Sorry. Please say that again,” I begged dreamily. And she did. No kidding! They had waited for the same boat as me together with their husbands and had been told it was going to leave today at 4 o’clock- good enough time for the boat to have come back from a pointless trip with a Frenchman.
It was now around 1 o’clock, which did not make sense to get here this early and I pointed it out.
“You don’t understand. We are here to pack our husbands’ boats”, she added to the enigma. What she meant was that the motorboat usually doubles up as a tug-boat for the sailboats that cross the lake against the wind. Today, there were four boats that were going to be pulled.
I’m either too gullible or dreaded the shame of going back home today for I believed them and we waited together. It was the right decision. We left that evening but not before we became fast friends with a little adorable girl whose entire vocabulary was “mama”, “ma” and the most angelic, infectious and constant baby laughter.