White water rafting from the Tibet Border to Kathmandu

Day 7 – Nepal 2008

We were up quite early for the rafting and after a decent wee buffet breakfast were loaded back onto the death bus for a quick ride down to the start line. It was a roasting day and I was really looking forward to starting – I’ve wanted to try white water rafting for years but never got round to

it. The leader gave us the standard safety talk before splitting us up into groups of 6 and allocating us to an instructor. Cat and I ended up with a group of 4 aussies, 3 guys and a girl, and I was surprised to discover my first ever set of taciturn Australians. They were friendly enough when we spoke to them but no more, maybe they’re just scared of the water…

The rafting was brilliant fun, and by all accounts the river was actually really good as rafting trips go. Marco had done it a fair few times at home and gave it the thumbs up, and Cat and I were loving the rapids, almost being thrown out of the raft a few times along the way. The views were amazing too making even the slower bits in between good fun as we drifted along at the bottom of these sheer valleys – trees, goats and villages alike perched precariously on the cliffs above us, and the hills ascending into mist beyond.

At one point the instructor directed us under a little rock overhang for a quick rest and we were overcome by a ripe, rotten stench. On looking around at the rockface, and then further up, it turned out that he’d chosen a little family’s personal sewer in which to park, lines of ‘stuff’ dripping down from the shack above. so we did a rapid about-turn, pushed off the slippery wall with oars alone, and headed back into the fresh stream.

At the end of the rafting it was back on the death bus and a long trek back into Kathmandu. We hit the outside of the city at what seemed like rush-hour, altho I think in Kathmandu the word rush-evening might be more appropriate. We sat in a queue for about 3 hours, slowly snaking into the city, but at least we learned the way that traffic jams should be run. The Nepalis are much more sociable with their snarl-ups than us, people from cars and busses alike wandering out, chatting to their neighbours, walking over to the shops and generally not getting annoyed as we would. We didn’t see one of the tour organisers for about an hour and it turned out that he’d simply walked up the jam about 2 miles before waiting for us and jumping back on as we passed.

That morning and as we were travelling cat and I had been coming up with alternative plans for the next few days since our wussy travel idea, staying in a resort for 5 days, hadn’t worked out. We decided to head to Pokhara as we’d had a few recommendations and it sounded like we’d get some amazing views of the mountains from there. Cat had also been speaking to a German couple, Bastion and Steff, and it turned out that they had a similar idea so we agreed to be bus buddies for the trip and see what happened. On the bus journey we’d also been talking to Marco and Gille about hotels and, naturally, it turned out we were being taken for a ride with our first hotel. It was nice enough but it was way above the going rate so on leaving the bus they led Cat, I, Bastion and Steff to their favourite, the Hotel Potala, for a room a quarter of the price of our first at a mere £4.

The food there turned out to be good too, and half the price of most of the restaurants, so we availed ourselves of mountains of Nepali fare with the group that evening in celebration of a Nepali death bus survived. This resulted in an agreement for a far later departure time the next day than first discussed but never mind, there were no spiders.

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