Thursday, November 03, 2005

The fat man & the river

Finally the river rafting did happen. I went over to rdz position called the Marine drive, the first thing in the morning. The first thing in the morning, was not 7 as I had supposed it to be, but rather sometime closer to ten. It turned out that my partners for the raft were four French. One lady & three other chaps. Right besides us another team was busy getting themselves ready, so we waited for them to get in the water.

Those guys spent at least 15 min on land itself, learning the theory of river rafting & how to dig into the water with your paddles & such stuff. In fact the way that instructor was going, you would be forgiven for thinking that he was intent on covering everything between wearing a condom to the basics of astro-physics.
So when my guide asked me to get in the boat, I was a bit apprehensive. But then the minute we were in the boat, he pushed off & we were actually rafting. This caused much panic & what the French call an “ au-something”. I think they call it a lot of things, because we suddenly had a lot of French people shouting a lot of things in French. A guy, who later turned out to be a chap called “Marcus” finally identified the problem as being that we still did not have our paddles.
The consequent hunt for paddles resulted in bringing to light that fact that we were one paddle short. The French have an extensive vocabulary for this sort of thing as well.

Being the native, the guide reasoned with me in Hindi to give up my paddle & assured me that sitting in the middle of the boat, doing nothing, while the others sweated themselves was much more satisfying.
I have always considered myself a very rational person & I must admit that there were very few flaws in his logic chain. So I very graciously gave my paddle to the French lady, an action which I am sure has many French words for it.
One of the immediate advantages of this, as I found later was the fact that I could take photographs. Did I mention that I dive? Well two major advantages I had because of that, was that I was wearing my wet-suit shorties & I had my camera in its underwater casing. Very thankful I was of both. By the end of the day the French had loosened up a bit too & Marcus even met up with me & had a beer back in Delhi.

All in all, I enjoyed rafting a lot, but I doubt that I will be doing much of it in the future. Firstly the water is cold. For some reason ice insists on melting at a temperature that I consider ridiculously low. Secondly I doubt that I will always be fortunate enough to be stuck in a boat with a paddle short.
And rafting just seems to much work to remain fun after a couple of years. But it does seem a fun place to learn some French.