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travelling with laughter

Messing about in the river!

NEPAL | Saturday, 24 November 2007 | Views [1167] | Comments [2]

Rafting on the Kali Gandaki river sounded like fun, little did i know...in the space of 12 hours i would almost drown and lose my shoe in the process....

I met all the crew early in the morning and we all boarded the bus to our starting point, there it was all very organised. Everything was loaded off the bus, lunch tables were set up and everyone pitched into help. I was very useful, i had the designated task of opening the biscuits....very tricky! Before steping foot in our rafts we had a safety talk "this is what you do if you fall out....first don't panic...etc" and put on our life jackets, helmet and waterproof jacket.

I was on the best rafting team of all....(not at all biased), soon to be named team screamers. We consisted of 2 dutch, 1 kiwi, i swiss, 2 english (inc me) and our two guides. We set off on a calm stretch of water pratising our moves "left forward, right back, faster faster etc" shouted at us from the back of the raft. After a little confusion of our rights and lefts we got into a good rhythm. Soon we were hitting little dips and dives, the other three girls and i were yelping and screeching as we were splashed by the freezing water (hence our team name). However this was just the beggining....little did we know that our guide seemed to have a suicidal tendency.....purposely manoevering us over rocks and wedging us in so that we had the rapids flowing over us!

The last 'wedge in' proved to be interesting.....no sooner had we come to a halt a wave of water flew into the boat knocking me out in the fashion of a diver entering the water backwards, head first, feet last! It happened so fast i didn't have a chance to mourn my soon to be lost shoe as it flew over my head! The team gave me a score of 9.2 for that dive! The first thing they teach you is not to panic....um that lasted about a second as i inhaled gulps of water trying to establish what direction i was facing. It felt like an eternity of not being able to breathe but i was soon rescued and relieved to be above the water! "your ok, your ok" i was told as i hacked and heaved whilst hanging onto his kayak. As it happened i had timed it well as we had arrived at our camp, me just fashionably wet!

After a few jolly -you oks and hugs we all helped unload the rafts, changed and warmed up with hot tea and some tasty popcorn. Our "tents" were set up, this was not a tent as you and i would imagine it at all! The raft was propped up with paddles and a sheet was draped over the top...hard core campers we were to be! We had a lovely evening, chatting as the moon rose silhouetting the trees and casting a glow over the beach - our campsite.

The loo ( as i always like to share with you was very amusing), two paddles held up a sheet disguising the poo drop and a good distance infront a paddle was postioned with a helmet perched on top. Helmet on - vacant, helmet in the sand - occupied. It worked well....some people also chose to wear the helmet.....whatever floats your boat!

I don't think anyone slept well during the night but after coffee and breakfast we were ready to embrace the water. I located my one and only shoe and we attached it to the boat as our emblem. Now paddling in unison as a team we hit the rapids full throttle then hung on tight as we bounced in the air. It wasn't long before 'plop' one went in followed by another two of our team. This time i had made sure i was fully wedged in...i wasn't going anywhere!

Further down the river it took a somber turn, we rounded a bend and were soon filling our noses with acrid smoke. On a beach a fire was burning, as we came closer it became apparent that this was actually a cremation. Family and friends filled the beach. We paddled past silently in respect. No sooner had we gone past we came across another funeral, this one hadn't started yet as preperations of the fire were still under way. The body of the deceased lay peacefully on the sand. This is the Nepali way.

We were also lucky enough to witness the feeding of two vultures. High up they circled dropping down to the river banks to feed on a carcus, fighting over tit bits. They were so huge, there wing span unbelievable...we all stared in awe of these magnificant birds forgetting about the oncoming rapids...after a few bumps and waves we quickly focused on the task at hand! Our guide with a cheeky grin soon planted us underneath cascading waterfalls, over rocks and into crashing waves!

The evening turned into whisky fueled fun, dancing and singing around the fire and some very amusing games in which i ended up as the 'victim'. I soon found myself being tricked into applying charcoal to my face....much to the amusement of everyone and this was just the start as next i had a saucepan strapped around my waist, hanging between my legs whilst our guide had a ladle attached to him! The idea of the game being that we had to create a 'dong'!!!! Attacking the game with enthusiasm we quickly chimed and retired to the fire...Later four of us grabbed our sleeping bags and slept by the fire in the hope of keeping warm...it was very peaceful under the stars.

In the morning we weren't so warm..waking up with a layer of dew and a pounding headache! Back in the raft we were soon paddling down, it was an easy day, a few rapids broken up by streches of calm water. The calmness was soon evaporated as we hijacked another raft stealing there oars and pushing in a few on the way! This descended into mayhem, people being pushed into the freezing water left right and centre!

Before reaching the dam the end of our trip we cruised slowly, paddling from sun patch to sun patch in the aim to keep warm and dry off! The sun was a blessing as with every stroke of the paddle a trickle of water would slide down your arm and then down your back.....

We got back to shore eventually though i wasn't the most helpful of the team, paddling backwards when everyone was facing forwards...thought i would spice it up abit!

We shared dinner together in the evening to celebrate our survival and say our goodbyes. I had a really wonderful time with my new friends, sharing many laughs and team bonding moments! Thanks for a wonderful time team!!!!

Tags: Adrenaline



glad you had an incredible experience but i missed you while i was still at 'base camp' in pokhara. i guess someone had to keep an eye on mark and our 'prime property' at the butterfly lodge...by the way since we're STILL here we should think about maybe investing....

  whereintheworld Dec 1, 2007 3:23 AM


hmmmm...cosy by the fire aye!
contessa whiskey + stand still for the foto &'gongs' = your SACKED team synergy.
peas out x

  tess Jan 5, 2008 3:59 PM

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