Going back to the same awesome breakfast place, somehow the food changed drastically and even the coffee tastes horribly different. Guess they had a rookie chef in the kitchen, but we ate plenty to prep us up for a half day of whitewater rafting!
Being reluctant at first about white water rafting in Nepal, especially when they keep rating their rapids level 4 or level 5! Turns out their rating system is a bit different, but whatever, we still signed up for a half day of fun in the upper section of the Seti river!
The boat had six people, one guy from the UK, one guy from France, two guys from Singapore and us. The Singapore guy wore a tee, showing his massive tattoos that covered his forearms. The tattoos were pretty cool (he even had the whole of Da Vinci’s Last Supper on his left arm), but they weren’t so fortunate in the river. The water was pretty cold, and looked rather scary as we drove next to it but was reassured that there were two kayaks were on hand to save our asses if we happen to fall into the river. We were quite surprised as the whole tour was very well organized, safety standards were high, unlike other places where it seems like you just grab a paddle and jump into the boat!
In all seriousness though, compared to the white water in Ottawa river, this was much less interesting. The rapids weren’t too fast and actually for most of the time we’d just be sitting idle, and ‘float’ around, tossing and turning in the whitewater without much action. There was only this one time, where you really felt some problems, and things got pretty bad…for the other guys on the boat. The river’s scariest rapid is probably the most narrow, and our team couldn’t muster enough forward motion to get us past the currents and we rammed sideways into a massive protruding rock. The guide yelled “Jump to the right!”, and amidst the confusion I was actually still trying to paddle as the boat started to tilt onto its side, and that’s when I clued in that I should GTFO and jump to the right side of the boat unless I want to start swimming in whitewater. As I got to the right side to hang onto the safety rope, the boat started to tilt at a 90 degree angle, and we were literally hanging on by the safety line. This was when I saw a few of our less fortunate crew members that fell into the water. The water was rushing so hard that it pinned the whole boat on its side onto the rock, just glad that nobody is underneath as 3 of us managed to climb up to the top, while the rest should be in the safety of the kayaks. Boat was recovered easily, but it floated downstream and we had to walk (who pays to walk next to whitewater!), and meeting the fallen ones, it seems like they weren’t so lucky.
Back Story: Let’s call them, Tattoo and Banker, as that’s sort of representative of who they were. Tattoo was already ‘injured’ prior to the crazy rapid, by breaking his toenail off and was bleeding quite a bit, but nothing serious of sorts. When we got back into the boat, he had issues with his flip-flops so his buddy Banker says “You should abandon the slippers.”. Tattoo thought about it for a while, and it passed his logic test and let the slippers float around inside the boat, thinking it’d be safe, since we haven’t had much tossing and turning in the boat, they should be relatively safe. When the boat flipped out 3 of its passengers, you can imagine where the flip-flops went. Ha ha ha. It’s funny now, but only because it didn’t happen to me, and “abandon slippers” will probably be forever etched into our memories as a pretty funny gag. Also, Tattoo did not want to lose his glasses so he was very keen on taking care of them, and we suspect that one reason why he fell down in the first place was because he was trying to keep his glasses on his face while trying to hold onto the safety rope. He did manage to keep his glasses, but at a very severe price which he wouldn’t have paid for at all if he just held onto the safety rope in the first place =P
So now back on the river, we’ve reunited with Banker, but he was footwear-less as he has lost his flip-flops and suffered a cut on his foot. He also got banged up pretty badly by the rocks and was walking with a mild limp, but nothing severe. He was pretty awesome as he actually managed to SWIM his way to the shore, definite props for that. Tattoo was not as lucky, even though he made it safely to shore as well, his pants was ripped at the knee and you can see him in severe pain, barely able to move. He said he couldn’t bend or put weight on his left knee. The last guy, was actually on the other side of the river hanging onto a kayak! Crazy…. but at least no one was seriously hurt.
The rapids were much more tame afterwards, and we got a lift back into Pokhara. Tattoo and Banker definitely got it bad, and the last we saw them was one lightly injured guy limping his way into the hotel, holding onto a severely injured guy who was limping even worst. Sad scene indeed.
With that much activity, we deserved a nice meal and had some pretty awesome Korean food in a nice little courtyard. Then heading over to the International Mountain Museum, we saw some pretty strange and interesting things inside. Probably the most interesting thing was the actual climbing gear used back in the 50s/60s when people first made summit on the 8000m+ peaks. Tenzing Norgay is posterized all over the museum, but just looking at the gear made me quiver. I wouldn’t even trust that stuff they used to go camping in, let alone climb mountains in that kind of cold with that little oxygen. Crazy!
In the evening, we had hotpot and drinks with our friends we met on the trek. Except not going rafting, we pretty much were hanging out everyday for the past 2 weeks, but will be going on our separate ways shortly. One is going to Lumbini for a meditation course, while the other is flying out to India! Friends, we definitely won’t forget. It’s really cool how many interesting people you meet on the road.