out of the bay



early 2005

Under the weight of my full pack and tripod, under the scorching midday sun, I'm thoroughly exhausted. And out of water. It's still a long way up back to the main road. I'm alone. I wish I'm somewhere I know, somewhere comfortable.

Off the dirt track to the right I see a trickle of a small waterfall. I walk over to it, throw my pack down, and put my back against the rocks. I let it pour over me and I feel instantly refreshed. The water is very cool. I sit there for a minute and relax. I get out of the small pool and reach down to grab my pack.

I look up and there is a big shirtless man with one eye, and a machete in hand, staring down at me. He's wearing only a lava lava. I'm startled. I didn't hear him approaching.

We say "malo". I then notice he has a coconut in the other hand. He hacks off the top of it and with a big smile hands it to me to drink. My fear instantly fades. I've never been more appreciative of a drink in my life. I thank him profusely and then am on my way again, and he disappears into the bush.