Whitewater rafting has never appealed to me. So I have no idea why I said “yes” to this. I think I was still high after the canyon swing. The river didn’t look so bad the day before. Then it rained overnight. Oh dear.
We had to swap buses on the way to the launch point because of landslides. Doesn’t it take a lot of water to cause landslides? I was starting to get worried…
Our crew was me, Chris H (from the trip), Christine (from the trip), 1 random American, 1 Vietnamese and 1 Thai. Oh and a Nepalese guide/Captain Ahab.
Chris H and I started in the middle, on the left and right but were soon moved to the front when the Cap realised that the latency between shouting “LEFT!!!” and it being translated from Nepal-English, to Viet/Thai-English to a physical action was taking way too long.
I also think he wanted the big-guns at the front. Mind you, getting the instructions right is not easy. If you are sat on the left and the tyrannical Cap shouts “Right BACK!” you need to remember that this also means “Left FORWARD!”. Not easy with a face full of water and a foreign crew mate paddling like a body popping junkie on a sugar rush behind you. “Does anyone know the Thai for “all together or not at all?””.
Some gentle rapids got us in the mood for a bigger challenge and after lunch we hit the big dippers which were outrageous. Very, very exciting. I seem to recall our Captain shouting “C’mon is this all you’ve got?!, This is NOTHING!!! Rawr!!!” at the river after one bad section which had seen us lose a crew member over the side. He may have been delirious! He was certainly in the moment.
The crew struggled at first and the Captain was too busy shaking his fists at the sky – but with my natural drummers rhythm setting a perfect pace and with the super-human strength of Double Chris in the front we soon tamed Mother Nature (!).
When we do the drive to the Tibet border in a weeks time I think she’ll be back (“and this time it’s personal”). I’ve seen the roads and I can’t see how our big truck can make it what with all the landslides and mud…