“Diana, come on; we’re going to be late!”
I can hear my dad shouting from the hotel hallway. It’s our summer vacation after high school and we’re spending it with my dad in South Africa, me and my best friend Helen that is. My dad is a speleologist, this means he studies caves for a living, and he decided to take us to one of his sites this summer. This cave was only recently discovered by one of the locals who was walking toward the river to get some water for his family when he “fell through the ground” as he said. He was rescued two days later when a group of tourists was passing by on one of their tours through the many wonders of the African jungle.
“We’re coming dad, let me just get my phone!”
Helen was already ready and waiting for me at the door, I could tell she was excited as I was because she was swaying back and forth on the hells of her Timberland shoes while watching me get my thing together.
“Ok, I’m ready. My dads’ probably already in the lobby. Let’s go.”
I tell my best friend and we lock the door behind us.
Downstairs in the enormous and overly decorated lobby my dad was standing next to a one of the locals who was wearing a yellow T-shirt and green shorts. They were talking but we couldn’t hear what the conversation was about, so we got a bit closer.
“Yes, yes. One hour, no problem.”
I heard the man tell my dad.
“Ok, that’s perfect. Oh hey girls, are you ready?”
My dad was now facing me and Helen.
“Yeah, let’s get going!”
Both of us had a big green back pack on our back with all the essentials: phone, water, extra clothes and all the other things on the long list my dad gave us the night before.
Outside parked in front of the hotel was parked a topless, white Jeep with one more green bag in the trunk; my dad’s no doubt. Me and Helen took the back seats while my dad sat next to the man driving. Dad pulled out a map from his bag.
“No need, no need.”
The man said.
“Do you know where you are going then?”
My dad answered back.
“No problem, I take you.”
The biggest problem in Africa is the way they speak; most of them know English but they always repeat themselves and use the most simple words that sometimes you’re not sure whether you should feel safe or worried, this was one of those moments. Dad slipped the map back to us and gave me a wink as if to say ‘just in case’.
We put on our seatbelts and listened to the sound of the engine roaring to life in the front of the car. Outside it was hot but the air blowing through our hair as the car passed over bumps and turns that lead next to huge rows of trees cooled us off. Nothing can compare to the sounds of Africa; the birds chirping in the trees, monkeys and colorful birds swinging and flying all around us and not to mention the vast green jungle that surrounded us wherever we were.
The drive, just like the man said, lasted for about an hour. When we arrived at the site we couldn’t see anything unusual except for a lot of people crowding almost every corner of our view. I looked at my dad with a questioning face and I could tell that Helen was doing the same.
“Walk forward a bit.”
My dad said with a mocking smile on his face. We took a few steps back, and right before us a wide dark hole opened up that seemed to lead to the center of the Earth. Helen and I exchanged looks of amazement but we were both thinking the same thing: ‘so this is where our adventure begins’.