Robert Siegel

The Mighty Nile

So here I am rafting the White Nile. This is one of the very first rapids - Only a few days earlier I had summitted Kilimanjaro. Conquered might be too strong of a word, but triumphant would certainly apply. However, the word "defeated" certainly comes to mind with regard to my experience on the Nile. I am on the left side as seen between Seema in front and Jacek behind her. (Perhaps I now know why sailors call it the port side instead of left. Nost of the time the raft was heading backwards or sideways making the notion of orientation a bit more arcane.) The guy on the bank is blithely filming us knowing we are about to get trashed. Later, he will later try (unsuccessful) to sell up this cinematic masterpiece for large quantities of American dollars.
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See I told you so. Sometimes rafters raise their paddles in triumph. That is not what is going on here.

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Amazingly, we are still in the raft. Well, sort of. I am the one in the front that is still hanging on. Yeah, like that matters. Seema, is that you at the bottom about to fade from view? Notice there is a watch on my left wrist.

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Well, I guess this was inevitable. Remember all those people who used to be in this raft?

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So then we all get back in. And get ready for the next rapid. That's the fun part??!?? I am the one with the red helmet in the back, which is actually the front.

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I am still on the left. Clearly, I am trying to "forward paddle". The rafter behind me is pointing out my remarkable technique.

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Now, remember all those people who used to be in this raft? Oh yeah, I already said that. I think I know what it feels like to be in a washing machine.

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This kayak has the job of trying to protect us in case anything goes wrong. Now I feel really safe.

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Can you believe that sometimes, I actually jumped in voluntarily? This was well before Seema and Jacek saw a large monitor lizard swimming upstream (by the bungee jump). By the way where did that watch go? I think I will go back and look for it.

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At this point we have all just portaged around a class 6 (=suicide) rapid. And this is the final rapid of the day. No, there are no any people in the picture...yet. But you gotta wonder about a rapid named "The bad place" (class 5). Two people wondered enough that they decided to call it quits for the day and head directly to the beer.

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More bad place. Aww, it doesn't look all that bad.

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Not counting the guide, I am the guy in the back (which is really the back, as if that mattered. I decided to move to the back because people in the back are less likely to get ejected, which has already happened to me twice, not counting the three flips.

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Look I am still there. It is just a lazy little float trip. Notice there are 6 people in the raft. (This is what you call foreshadowing.) That is not counting the two who are now spectators.

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Down. Oh shit.

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And up. Notice there are five people in the raft at this point. Guide? What Guide? I am the people at the back, (which is now really the bottom).

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Now this does not look all that good. Am I in or am I out. Seema, how's that beer?

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I think I'll just ride alongside. At this point I remember the guide saying, "This is the one rapid where if you fall out, you should let go.

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So I let go. I am the dark spot on the left. But what is that dark spot on the right? The guide, who you have not seen for a while, is actually still holding on.

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On the left you can make out my hand. I am waving goodbye. Man, the Nile really tastes good. That is the only explanation I can think of for what I kept trying to drink large quantities of it. And how about that guide?

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Here I am in a peaceful place. You will just have to imagine. This is the one rapid where I found I could just calmly ride it out underwater... for what seemed like a long time... but was probably only a few seconds, and then just emerge (Is supermerge the opposite of submerge?) at the end. By the way, somewhere beyond this, the guide, still holding on, managed to get back in the raft.

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And now it is Mirinda time. Gee, it tastes like the Nile.

And on to our next "fun" activity.

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Other scenes from the Nile.

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Motabota to the source.

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The source of the Nile. Apparently there used to be a waterfall here...before they built the dam. Now the remaining waterwhite is in jeopardy because of another proposed dam.

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Three at the source. So, as I understand it, the area behind us must be the lower end of Lake Victoria which it cascades (at least in one's historical imagination into the White Nile. Seema and Jacek are former students. They are now "real doctors".

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Cormorants at the source.

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Having braved the Nile, we were ready to take on...The course at the source.

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Uganda page
Tanzania page
Kilimanjaro page

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Modified: August 29, 2003
Created: August 22, 2003