Saturday, December 13, 2003

White Water Rafting (2 of lots)

Kelvin taught us all necessary (and hopefully unnecessary) commands:  front paddle, back paddle, left back, right back, hold on (put paddle to side and hold ropes with each hand), watch the rock (keep both hands on paddle, but hold rope with one), over left, over right, and get down.

Interesting note on the "over" commands -- they involve moving to the other side of the raft and "putting your ass in front of the person on the other side."  Kelvin used "ass" as a perfectly normal conversational word.  I've noticed that, in general, Kiwis aren't as hung up on "bad words" as we are.  (Back in Queenstown, an ad for the Canyon Swing included the quote, "Even my shit was scared" -- and I thought you'd never see an ad like that in the States.)  And (get this) -- on normal commercial television, they show R-rated movies without bleeping out the naughty language.

ANYWAY, Kelvin teaches us all the commands and I am gratified to learn I am not the worst person on our raft.  Some others have a hard time grasping which way to paddle when (and one has a bit of trouble with just grasping the paddle).  Actually, I like to think my form didn't totally suck -- back in the funyak, my guide had given me some tips on my paddling technique.  So yay me.  Confidence is a good thing.

We toss our raft onto the river (and boy do I like these adventures where you DON'T have to hike forever to get to the starting point) test out some of the commands, make sure we won't actually kill ourselves, and meet the other raft -- we're rafting along with a raft from another company.  It's all men in that raft (ours is 3 girls, 2 guys + Kelvin), and their raft and paddles and helmets are all bright and shiny while ours show real signs of wear.  And while normally this would give me some concern, very early on I realize that *I'm* in the right raft -- 'cause it all comes down to the guide, and you really want someone who has run this river a bazillion times and knows exactly what he's doing, not the new guy with the bright shiny raft.

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