Whitewater rafting, or stillwater floating?

Trip Start Feb 06, 2005
Trip End Jul 2005

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Sunday, May 8, 2005

We headed from Chitwan back to Pokhara to jump on a whitewater adventure which all of the brochures and travel agents had been harping to us about. Three days and two nights of thrills, spills and fun in the sun: we were psyched.
Anyway, we rocked up only for the tour operators in town to inform us that they were so short of numbers that they had to combine with a million other operators to get a big enough group. The rafting groups that were returning from their trips had 20 poeple each, but suddenly for our trip there weren't enough people. We had just hit the season cut off. This meant pot-luck with finding a trip, and sure enough the operator who ended up taking us turned out to be much more expensive. We had booked through an agent popular with Israelis, and were expecting to pay U$65. The new operator settled for charging us only 70, just to stop us haggling with him. We were annoyed until we found out everyone else had payed 80 to 90. Suckers.
It was a weird group to say the least. Another Aussie, an alcoholic Pom (at least 6 litres of beer a day), a couple of Canadians who woke up early every day and then made sure everyone else was awake early too, an Israeli, two Danish girls who spoke like Californian teenagers ("and I was like, totally, and then, like, yah") and four middle-aged Ukrainians who didn't speak English and while paddling hit people when they missed a stroke.
This was quite harsh, not just because we're on holiday and supposed to be taking it easy, but because we spent hours simply paddling. Whitewater? about 15 minutes a day. To get anywhere we had to work continuously. On the second day I thought I'd try one of the canoes. I figured if we had to paddle anyway, maybe the canoes would be easier. It was true, it was easier- if only I could've made it go forward instead of just round and round.
The nights were cool though- good food, lots of beer and rum and sleeping in the great outdoors. With the monsoon coming it rained every afternoon, so the focus was to get the tents up quickly. This simply meant dragging the inflatable boats onto the beach and propping them up with paddles over a tarp. Only the pom snored, but he managed to bring himself to pick up one of the Danes (no one else was going there...), so there wasn't much snoring and we all got some sleep once we kicked them out of the communal sleeping areas...
Anyway, it was fun if flat, but it was good to get back to beds and linen. We headed from Pokhara back to Kathmandu to pick up our passports, and that was where the fun really began.
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