This is no time to get hyped up on big waves, even if there are no quakes involved. Perhaps we should have picked a different occasion. Anyway, this past weekend, after a day and a half of New Year relaxation at the Kingfisher Hotel in Jinja, we had our first true rafting experience on the Nile. There were seven of us: three who had experience and four novices. Having worked as a rafting guide before, our friend Ian was qualified to lead us along without much outside help – and also qualified enough to find all the nasty waves along the eleven rapids we tackled. These stretches of fast white water included a few rapids of grade five, i.e. the highest standard allowed for mortals like us. Grade six, Ian said, would be Niagara. I have to say that was a thought that came to mind when the wall of roaring water suddenly towered in front of us at the G-Spot, the first grade five, a second before it capsized our raft.
All along, we travelled
But this is only to say that rafting has a certain element incongruous with my understanding of sport – it is not to undermine its value as adventure. I had a wonderful time in spite (or because) of the scratches and bruises and little sunburns that appeared on northern skin despite our manic use of mad amounts of sunscreen in every spare moment. And it was definitely good to get a whole day of outdoor recreation even if only a tiny amount of the motion involved was generated by my own musculature.