Thursday, October 11, 2007

A little water won't hurt you

Compared to throwing your body off a 160 meter bridge, rafting was rather tame. I wasn't the only one who thought so. Many in our group had been bungy jumping the day before and were waiting for something a little more thrilling to happen on the river.

We had to settle instead for views of lush green mountains, many terraced for rice planting, punctuated by regular runs through rapids that sent the raft jumping up and down and waves of water in our faces and across our bodies. None of our four rafts flipped, but several individuals were thrown into the river. On ours only one took the plunge – and it wasn't me.

We had 7 people on board, including one guide and his assistant. So, basically two people who knew what they were doing. The two Scandinavians up front had done a rafting trip years ago, while the German across from me in the middle, and the Italian and Swiss girls in the rear were beginners. We did a short training on land, then on a calm stretch of the river, coordinating our paddling and responding to an assortment of commands. And then we were off. We traveled perhaps 90 minutes, stopped for a picnic lunch that was brought in by bus along a road running next to the river, and then we did another 90 minutes before packing everything up into the bus and heading back to Kathmandu.

It was great fun and I'd love to do it again. There are rafting tours across Nepal that last anywhere from 3 to 18 days, some including treks of several days across the mountains to get to the river head. I don't really have 2 or 3 weeks to give up, but perhaps a well-placed holiday will give me a few days to get away and once again get wet.



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