White water rafting

On the way to Mae Tang
On the way to Mae Tang

This is going backwards in time to mid-September but I wanted to put up this post because:

  1. I can’t believe I went white water rafting.
  2. I can’t believe I didn’t die.
In front of paintings by clever elephants
In front of paintings by clever elephants

My boss decided that we should have a work outing to Mae Tang, not far from Chiang Mai. White water rafting was once on my list of things ‘to do’ in life but I crossed it off years ago when I realised how dangerous it was. But I couldn’t exactly back out of it — besides, I really enjoy spending time with my workmates and it’s even better when we get a chance to hang out socially. So from that point of view I was all for it.

Elephant trekking
Elephant trekking
Before white water rafting
Before white water rafting
Setting off
Setting off

We went during the wet season so the water was at its fastest, level 5. It was so fast in fact, that we weren’t allowed to complete the entire course in one go and were pulled out of the river at various points, to resume the journey in less dangerous waters. I clung on for dear life most of the time, particularly when the raft went vertical a few times, and just thanked God that I was in a boat with two strong men in the front steering us through: my boss, who is very fit, and a twentysomething year old rugby player named Dicky from Northern England.

Hitting the rapids
Hitting the rapids - that's me with the yellow paddle!

Three of my workmates fell into the water and got washed away. One of them fell in twice. It’s little wonder they shut down operations the following day because they decided it was too dangerous. I freaked out when I saw one of my workmates fall into the water as I fell into the boat. Within seconds she was about 10m up the river and looked terrified. All I could think of, there, but for the grace of God…

We all bonded over our experience and even now when someone brings it up, we all let out involuntary whimpers at the thought of it all. But maybe there’s a small part of me that really enjoyed the adrenalin rush and the thrill of it all. Maybe I would even do it a second time. I guess I’m not exactly known for taking it easy :-)

White water rafting at Mae Tang
White water rafting at Mae Tang
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