The Waterfall

The Waterfall

This is a re-post of an article that was written by Jiddu Alexander for The original can be found here.

At 3 am I hiked up Adam’s peak with 4 fellow travellers, it is a highlight for many Sri Lanka visitors. The 5000+ steps staircase starts from Dalhousie, a tourist village where people stay for one or two nights only, just for the climb. I checked in at a very comfortable guest house (White House) with a gorgeous garden, clear river, yummy food, fast internet and great owner and dog. The surrounding area was incredibly stunning too so I thought I hang around a bit longer than one day. It was in this following week that I got a treat of an unexpected and for much bigger highlight.

Within a minute walk from my guest house I can see a dozen of 20 meter plus waterfalls. This is jaw-dropping nature to me, but the usual daily scenery for the locals. A few of who keep telling me to visit ‘the waterfall’.
“The waterfall?” I ask several times trying to get a more specific name for this plummet. I never got a reply.
I set off on a hike with a bottle of water, my new old-school 15 dollar Kodak film camera, a packet of coconut biscuits and two bits of information: First, a general direction, follow the road, cross the river and follow the other road. Second, Moray, the name of a tea estate.
I follow a dirt road that winds through tea plantations with towering redgum and other eucalyptus trees. I take photos with local kids who ask for pens and money. I pass a waterfall that drops right next to the path. Is that it? I’m slightly disappointed because it looks pretty mediocre. Ah well, there’s a beautiful lake and I decide to walk on a bit. Oh wait, what’s that rumbling sound? Not long and I see ‘the waterfall’. It is a spectacular huge drop far in the background that plunders into the lake, like someone is emptying a bucket the size of a football stadium. I spot a peninsula into the calm waters that should allow for a perfect photo opportunity. I cut across tea fields to get there and some children join me.

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“Come, come. Waterfall?” They shout.
Okay. They take me closer to a nice view point. I realise they are Tamil so I make them laugh with my view words of Tamil vocabulary. They point. I see the top of another huge waterfall a lot nearer than we could ever get to the first one.
“Come, come.”
We get off the dirt road onto a small jungle path. I wear shorts and flip flops and I know this area is laden with leeches. Ah well, three of the boys don’t even wear any footwear.
“Run, run.” We start running through the fully overgrown path jumping through the waist high grasses that cover it.
“Is dangerous.” The other boy says.
“Dangerous? What? Animals?” I ask
“No, no.” But I didn’t get a further explanation.
Around a corner and suddenly we are close to the waterfall. Wow. It thunders a mere 50 meters away, just across a narrow shoot of the lake. We snap some photos and eat biscuits, all I could give them. It takes a good 10 minutes before I notice, but another pretty impressive waterfall is right next to us. We walk down to it. ‘God’ they point to a small shrine at the bottom of the fall. We start skipping stones into the lake, like seven year old boys do, and for a moment I feel twenty years younger.
On the way back we start running again at the same place. One boy points out a rock the size of a smart car and then the destruction it left from rolling down. ‘Dangerous’ the other boy repeats. Now I get it.
“The rolling stones. Yes, they are dangerous.” My pun goes lost in translation. It doesn’t matter.
We walk through their village, wave to their families as they proudly present their homes. They remain in a little paradise as I walk back to my tourist life. I cannot stop smiling right now.

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