Metro delays this morning, temperature in the teens. Time for a virtual vacation. Today's trip is to Tanougou Falls, which the locals (and all French-speaking, I believe) call chutes.
We pulled up tired, dusty, minds still reeling from Parc Pendjari and the close-up view of baboons, elephants and what turns out to have been a young cheetah. Our van was almost snagged on the rutted, rocky road to the small restaurant and souvenir stand that guards the entrance to the falls.
We were immediately surrounded by a staff of willing guides. It was a short walk to the first falls, picturesque but small. Many eager hands to lead the way. But no, said the guides, this was just the beginning. There's another chute ahead, up and over those boulders.
One of our party said no go, her knees were sore. I waited a bit, sized up the endeavor. There was a scramble over rocks that were under water, but the more I looked the more I thought I could do it. "Tres facile," said one guide. "Be careful," said another.
When I nodded yes, Mr. "Tres Facile" took one hand and Mr. "Be Careful" took another. It was perfect. The push toward adventure, cautiously approached. Each step was carefully chosen and pointed out: "Ici ... ici ... tres facile ... be careful."
And before long we were there, Tanougou Falls. A perfect bowl of a setting, water deep enough to swim in. Gorgeous chute, angling, spilling, gleaming. Idyllic, except for one problem — I had to get back.
But I did, of course, thanks to Mr. Tres Facile and Mr. Be Careful, who were rightly rewarded for their toil.