First things first: fix up yesterday’s lack of food issue. Found the fresh produce market and went about buying a bunch of fruit, pastries and empanadas. I’m really loving the meat empanadas, chicken pastries and white dragon fruit! Also found something that looks like a custard apple, but isn’t. About a day later, while trying to buy ice cream, I found out that the fruit that looks like custard apple is actually Guanabana (the smoothie I had back in Bogota). And to say it properly, think of it in the banana boat sunscreen song. So from now on, if a freak storm hits and I can’t get anywhere, I will no longer be sad and food-less, I will be able to pig out while the storm passes.
Actually that wasn’t first: before heading out I asked the reception if I could go white water rafting today. I knew that the guys from yesterday were doing a tour at 10.30 so I was hoping to go on their tour. But in typical Colombian style, I was told she couldn’t confirm until later, maybe in 30 mins. That was at 9.30. So fine, I did a quick trip to the market.
When I rushed back from the market I was told that I would get picked up at 11…oh dear, don’t think I’ll be on the same tour then. The guy that came to collect me gave me a helmet – so soon? Surely I’d get the safety demonstration first? I thought. Haha no, rather than getting in a mini van as per normal, I had to get on the back of a motorbike. That could have been the activity in itself! Going 2 blocks down from the hostel on the steep cobblestone road was…interesting. In fact, the place he took me was just at the bottom of the road. I could have walked!
The shop was filled with locals and I was the only white tourist there for a while – so not on the same tour as yesterday’s peeps. Eventually there were a German guy and Canadian girl to chat to. Turns out the company I was going with is owned by a Canadian girl who started it up 4 years ago.
The minivan we took felt barely road worthy; some windows didn’t have glass, it rolled a lot and of course, driving appeared to be done with no road rules in mind.
The river included rapids levels 1-5 (the highest unless you include going down waterfalls). I’ve bee rafting before so knew what to expect although had never done level 5 rapid before. It was actually a little scary.
There was one rapid where the raft tipped and we all fell out. It was like being in a moving washing machine; not knowing which way was up, when I’d be able to breathe again, how long I’d have to hold my breath for, when the rapid was going to end… I’ve never had a fear of drowning – not that I think it would be fun, just that it’s never been a top fear, but now I understand how people have that fear and don’t like swimming in waves. It was intense. When I first fell in I frantically looked around for the raft, lunged for it but couldn’t quite reach. The water was flowing so fast and my head kept going under and I was moving in all directions. Took me a few seconds to remember they had said in the safety talk to always float facing downstream with your feet up so not to run into any rocks. It seemed like the rapid was huge…it probably wasn’t. I was still panting when the kayak came to rescue me. Have never been so happy to hold onto something stable before.
All in all, it was a fun and exhausting day. I was glad to get back to the hostel and chill out. I think I’m getting better at this ‘planning ahead’ thing as I took the time to book a hostel 2 DAYS ahead! Didn’t have too much else to do that night. Seems like my hostel is entirely French speaking – even the owners. And not that they’re not friendly; but they definitely prefer to talk to other French people rather than me. So snacking on this morning’s food purchases in the dorm before having an early night.