White water madness!!!
Trip Start Feb 25, 2004
49Trip End Ongoing
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After shelling out the equivilant of forty notes I didn't expect an amazing experience, as that cash covered food, accomodation and all rafting for 3 days. The group and organisers had a meeting at a local bar the night before we were due to set off where we were given the low down on what to take with us. Of course I ended up taking too much though! The English man, Terry, looked like a washed out rock and roll star
We had a 7am start the next morning so I was planning on getting an early end to the day but this was hindered by a guy whom I met earlier in the changing room of a clothes shop earlier that day..... ok, rewind about 4 hours........ I needed a pair of shorts for the rafting, having cleverly left a pair of treking shorts in a guest house somewhere on the Annapurna Circuit to dry. Inspired by Rob, i decided to purchase a hat so was after one of those aswell. I entered an establishment, selected a pair of shorts and asked to try them on. I was led to the changing room which co-incidently doubled as a living room come kitchen come bedroom. Now, a key point to the story is that, on that day, i decided to go 'comando'. It's hot overhere and underwear is scarce - only have 3 pairs so only wear them occassionally - ok..
Complete with sore head I arrived at the rafting meeting point on time
once all the rafts were inflated, food eaten and utensils cleaned and put away, we were ready for the hour long safetly speech!! Don't think because you're rafting in a 3rd world country that they cut corners! So now we were on the river. I bagged a front spot. Another amusing point here is that I needed the instructors helmet as all the others were too small. So, down the river we went, through the first set of rapids - little brother - which didn't seem too bad....... Got slightly wet, my arse was propelled in the air and the raft seemed to be out of control for a few seconds but we could handle it...... 'What's next?' I heard the dancing spaniard cry. 'big brother' was the reply. This set of rapids started with a huge drop where we ended up getting sucked back in to the waterfall due to the sheer volume of water involved. The raft filled very quickly with water and suddenly we had been flipped around. The raft pin balled down the next part of the rapids where we managed to momentarily landed the raft on a centrally positioned rock before catching air and landing in calmer water. Add to this the constant spray of water in our faces and we were, without doubt, out of control. We were all holding on to the centre of the raft which was all we could do to stop getting thrown clear of the raft. Things didn't seem that funny anymore. The Spaniard was no longer smiling, the Russian/German was very quiet but the Nepalese guide was laughing away. He'd done the river about 800 times before so he was allowed to laugh at us!
We set up camp by ingeniusly using the raft as shield for us to sleep under. We played cards, drank beer and set up a camp fire.. The group was bonding. Now safe on dry land, the spaniard could dance around all he wanted, singing and generally being funny. I was happy to take a back seat and laugh at him.
5 hours of rafting fun!!! The rapids were just as good as the above mentioned encounters, with many a scary moment and a 'hang on for dear life' scenarios! Some of the rapids weren't too rough so we were allowed to jump in a cruise down the river in just life jackets which, although I say the rapids weren't too rough, were reasonably scary when you're not in a raft! Another superb lunch at 1pm and at 1:02pm the children arrived!! Jumping in an out of the raft, being inquisitive kids and generally being annoying! Managed to get a seat where a child was not in view for my meal!! Set up camp by 5 where we all just did much of the same as the previous night. Won't go on too much about different incidents but rest assured that it was great fun and well worth the cash!
On the third day we cruised to a waiting bus before a 4 hours uncomfortable ride back to Pokhara. I decided to go back to the first guest house I stayed in where Del and I stayed called 'The Kiwi guest house'. En-route there i heard someone call out my name. Now, being 6,000 miles from home and not knowing an awful lot of people on first names terms I was bemused by this. I turned and saw Del with 2 other people frantically stuffing their faces with food. Having only just returned from his trek they were getting as much good food as they could!!! I sat with them, we caught up and I was introduced to the 2 people with Del..... Gary, a nearly 30 year old Scottish guy and Carina - a Swiss girl who spoke English with a very London accent (turned out she'd lived in Balham for a a few years - small world!) Gary turned out to have a wicked sense of humour and a thoroughly decent bloke. I liked him instantly! In the 2 days that followed a group of 7 of us formed (names and general descriptions will follow later), and after a steak meal and more than a bottle of red wine per head we conjured up a scheme to head to tibet for about 2 weeks...Plans had been chucked well and truely into the air and landed in Tibet! So, that was only decided last night and we're all off to a pool in an hour to discuss the arrangements but think it'll be an amusing coach journey!
Just cruising the crest of lifes wave at the moment and have well and truely found myself one hell of a wave to surf!!!!!