I'm alive and well. Finished rafting yesterday. It was excellent. Beyond excellent. Some pretty big, nasty rapids. There's nothing like having your heart jammed in your throat as you're being launched off a 15 ft waterfall or crashing through 10 ft standing waves. It's truly surreal world when you're at the trough of some of these waves. You quickly lose perspective as the horizon disappears and are surrounded by the deafening roar of the boiling rapids.
An even more surreal experience is being tossed into the drink. Got thrown out twice. The first tip happened when we rolled the raft broadside into a gargantuan wave. Everyone was given the heave-ho except for Klaus, the resident Danish funny guy.
In the second incident, I alone was thrown. I'm not sure what the hell happened to this day. I think we got a little too cocky. We were setting up the raft to "surf" at the bottom of a waterfall. As we approached the sweet spot in the stream (where a gigantic eddy pool would hold us steady), the raft jerked and then tilted toward my side. Without any effort, I inelegantly somersaulted head first over the side of the boat and found myself in a peaceful white bubbly world (with the Strauss' Blue Danube playing in my head). Smooth move, ex-lax. After getting through the initial set of rapids, it wasn't so scary after all. Embarrassingly I was reeled in by one of the accompanying rescue kayakers.
[Inevitably there will be questions regarding the Zambezi River vs. the Nile. The Zambezi was much more intense. The rapids there are much closer together. The flat water stretches on the Nile gave us a lot of rest (much appreciated sometimes). There were a lot more rocks in the Zambezi. I'm talking about the house-sized variety. The channel was much more narrow than that of the Nile. The roar was much louder as well on the Zambezi. All because of the river being confined to the bottom of a gorge, I think.
The paddling techniques were different as well. I don't know if it had to do with the smaller rafts used on the Nile, but Henry, our guide was never hesitant to shout out "get down" command. On the Zambezi we had to paddle the entire rapid. Maybe we needed more speed to crash through the waves. If i recollect correctly the Zambezi rapids, on average, were longer. We were given a lot more instructions on the course.
In my opinion, you've got to do both. Life's too short not to.]
The price of admission included a huge bbq dinner plus a drink beer till you puke party. Oh how I feel like a kid again...
I've decided to stay in Bujagali Falls, home of the bbq dinner, for a day or two. Situated at the edge of the Nile Gorge, the view of the river is really nice. More importantly, the air is fresh compared to noxious fumes of Kampala. The ol' lungs, despite the occasional spasms, seem to be responding well.
I think I'm going to like it here...
Monday, February 18, 2008
Posted by bubba at 9:40 PM