Victoria Falls Fiasco

fnorkHenry was my only friend who was able to visit me wherever I was and that included specifically Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

Henry was afforded the luxury of inheriting many millions of dollars from his family. I crashed one of Henry’s parties in 1976 or 1975.

This was because of Henry’s affiliation with the paparazzi crowd at the G. Gallery. They needed the coolest house to party at, which was Henry’s house.

Henry wouldn’t let me leave the party because I was too drunk. Henry’s parties included Andy Warhol, and had famous bands playing live.

The celebrity DJ from WHFS, Surf, entertained us. Henry had aluminum tubs filled with Rolling Rock beers and ice.

Henry never let me forget whenever I brought up my next-door neighbor’s name, Steve, the person I crashed the party with, that Steve was the coolest person he ever saw puking.

Steve had conveniently found the chips bowl next to him and casually began using it as the receptacle for his puke with never any hesitation.

Steve and I arrived at the party with a whole entourage equipped with Hashish and Tequila. We had the best Hashish in town. Henry was famous for his parties and we became best friends. The next day or so my mother said this guy came by and delivered his calling card, which was a wooden nickel listing his hard-to-spell name and his fancy address on Massachusetts Avenue in NW Washington DC, that is, Henry’s parents’ house.

A triangle of grass separated this fancy house from the exclusive Embassy Row neighborhood. A coincidence was that Henry’s father knew my grandmother on my mother’s side very well.

Henry has since become a Hare Krishna and painted his house a glorious salmon pink color, giving it an amazing spiritual look right off Massachusetts Avenue. Henry’s house is now what he considers a temple. He drinks and smokes dope outside the house. When I pick him up to go out for lunch, he sneaks into the garage and smokes a joint.

When I confront Henry over this hypocrisy, he says the house is still a temple. The garage doesn’t count and he’s not doing it in the house. Stashed in the freezer he is known to have kept some of his exotic pets after they have died, like his Mata Mata turtle and Piranha fish.

Henry had the privilege of visiting me three times while I was living in Zimbabwe and we soon became great friends, along with my best friend there, and still today, James (Jim). Jim talked Henry into renting a car so that the three of us could travel to Victoria Falls, one of the world’s greatest wonders.

We called Echo Car Hire and asked them for the best car they had. The only one that caught Henry’s fancy was a little Alfa Romeo sports car. We rented the car and made plans to travel to Victoria Falls the next day, Jim, Henry, and me. James called the Marijuana connection that promptly delivered some Marijuana and we were ready for our trip.

The cook packed us a lunch for the eight or nine hour trip. I brought along a case of large beers, 18 beers to a case in those days. Surprisingly, only I drank the beer, all 18 bottles. Henry and James smoked joints on the way up, and I of course indulged in that too. I was shitfaced by the time we got to the world famous Victoria Falls Hotel, a fancy Victorian hotel. I was victorious in my accomplishment of finishing every beer in the car.

We get to the hotel room that the three of us are staying in and order room service. Henry then gives us cash to go gamble with in the casino. My memory is bad, but I get into some kind of trouble in the casino and am banned from the casino. What did me in was that I brought a fifth of Vodka into the casino with me, and may have fallen down, knocking peoples’ bets off the Roulette table.

I am escorted to my room. In the meantime Henry and James are gambling the night away. Later on that night James is making a joint with Hash oil and probably saying that I can’t have any because I have caused a scene at the hotel, putting a spotlight on James and Henry, which wasn’t cool.

I make an attempt to jump over the two beds and land on Henry’s suitcase, breaking it and spraining my ankle. The next morning Henry and Jim take me to a Victoria Falls doctor who wraps my leg and gives me some painkillers. Henry and James say that I am now banned from drinking any Alcohol whatsoever for the rest of the trip, or we are heading right back home.

I am not happy with this directive, having never gone a day without booze in many years other than when I was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital. I have some pills given to me by the doctor for pain, anxiety, and sleep. We also have enough weed to keep any group of hippies happy.

The first test is when we arrive at a remote hotel for lunch. We had done a bit of game viewing and were trying to live it up to the maximum on Henry’s unlimited resources. We stopped by a bank that had never seen a credit card before. Henry must have written a check and the bank manager put Henry’s card in his desk drawer.

On our return to the bank three days later, Henry was amazed to find that he had lost his credit card. The bank manager opened his drawer and discovered Henry’s card still there. This blew Henry’s mind, as he could not comprehend that for three days the bank manager hadn’t opened his desk drawer. Only in Africa do things happen at such an amazingly slow and carefree pace.

I broke down and had to have a beer at lunch at the restaurant. Henry and James surrendered to the fact that it was virtually impossible for me to stop drinking. They let me have one or two beers at the restaurant. I was the one suffering with my sprained ankle, limping from landing on Henry’s suitcase.

That night we were camping in a tent in the middle of the park. We had filet mignon steaks and all kinds of great food to eat. We put the food remains outside the tent, which resulted in a pack of hyenas having a feast with our food.

We were terrified because the hyenas were actually biting at the tent. Being stoned and paranoid didn’t help. James also intentionally put the frying pan outside of the tent to specifically attract some animals, so he could photograph them at night.

We made it back home with many stories to tell, laughing about the hyenas, my breaking Henry’s suitcase, me being banned from the casino, the credit card being left in the bank manager’s desk untouched, and that we had put so many miles on that brand new Alfa Romeo from Echo Car Hire.

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