Uganda, February 5, 2003
Oxygen is under-rated when you swallow half the Nile
||While the locals tease her by going over the many rapids just holding onto plastic jerry cans, we, the intrepid white-water rafters from distant lands, are going to challenge the mighty Nile River's rapids in life vests, helmets, big boats, and plenty of sunscreen.
This of course, did nothing to erase the fear!
With several class five and six rapids foaming the Nile on its initial 100 meter drop, before it takes the rest of the continent to drop the remaining one kilometer in altitude to the Mediterranean Sea, we were going to face hurdles interestingly called 'the Bad Place' and 'Lost Lunch.'
Moreover, that 'we' was a motley mixture of travelers lead by a twenty-two year old Zimbabwean guide who usually forsook rafts and straight out surfed the river on a bodyboard. In fact, I was the oldest guy on the boat by at least 7 years, making me feel like I was at the opposite end of a few conversations I had when I was traveling at twenty-two.
This of course, did nothing to erase the fun!
Each time we crested the top of a massive drop, with a standing wave foaming for our souls, I would be the only one smiling with the youthful joy of playing in the water. As we descended into the cauldron to be thoroughly whipped and washed, I would be the only one laughing with relaxed pleasure at the spins and twists of the raft and its occupants.
Even when I was tossed ass over teakettle out of the raft, and I was not the only one swallowing half the Nile while falling in love my lifejacket and helmet, I would be swimming for the surface with a smile, thinking that oxygen is definitely underrated most of the time.
This of course, did nothing to erase my desire to do it all again!