turned out that launching at the market was a lucky and excellent decision.
It gave us the opportunity to stock up - fresh lunch of fried chicken
and sticky rice, coconuts, water, rice, etc. There was a strong urge
to get tapioca desserts and watermelons to go along. We were carrying
7 days ration for Plan A, but fresh food were too enticing. Our ration
can be reserved. We didn't really care we had to carry them, as we were
also mindful there might not be places along the river for supplies.
Following The Bamboo Rafters
river began its journey through dense bamboo forests. There were many
families chopping bamboos along its banks. These chopped bamboos were
floated down the river and collected by a group of young men. When
I saw them they had already collected enough bamboos to string together
a raft. They were 'chasing' bamboos stuck in the undergrowth by the
river's banks, or were just waiting for the next batches of bamboos
to float down. The bamboos were destined for construction sites or
replacement for houses and household usage.
The Bamboos - It was a sustainable business to chop bamboos along
the river, as there were just endless bamboo trees. photo:
river was fast and there were many sections of rapids. We had thought
there would be some big rapids but all those we passed were navigable.
We knew the rapids were ahead by the sound of rolling water. It was
usually an urgent low volume gushes, but there was a bend where we
suddenly heard loud splashes.
look!", JB shouted.
was furiously splashing down from a 10 meters waterfall. It was an
awesome sight and we we paddled to get near it. Throughout the day
there were to be more waterfalls, mini to good sized ones on both
sides of the river banks.
encountering many of these waterfalls we were able to discern between
the sound of rapids and waterfalls. The rapids were never beyond Class
1, so was more a send off of speed than an obstacle for the paddle.
It was a rush of water over a bend or shallow, or rocks. It sounded
bubbly. The waterfall on the other hand splashed. Whichever it was,
these sounds of splashes and gushes added a spa-like sound quality
to the already pleasent paddle.
! - One of the many many waterfalls we saw along the river.
This was one of the highest, and was great for a cold, splashing
First Night on The River
passed quickly when you were enjoying yourself. So night fell suddenly
on us. I thought we were still enjoying our fried chicken with sticky
rice, or dangling our legs into the cold water. We quickly broke lightsticks
and prepared for night paddling. We had not been actively looking
for places to stay, and had a vague idea where we were.
we did not covered a lot today, let's do a few hours of night paddling?",
reluctant. He reasoned that we did not know the river and there could
be bigger rapids infront, or even obstacles we might not know. He
wanted to stop at the first available place.
banks were steep to climb for a camp and everywhere was just bamboo
forests. There was this sand bank but we thought the river might rise
at night and swept us off. We were in a situation where we could either
gamble forward, or take what we could find now. Due to the strong
river flow, there was no turning back once we gave up a place.
could do nicely!", I said.
JB could barely make out the boat house in the darkness.
was taking me away from the boat house and I could not wait for JB
to respond. I went in for it. The place was obviously occupied as
a work station or something.
just borrow it for one night. Low light and noise. We go very early
first thing tomorrow.", I whispered.
JB hushed back as he rolled out his entire kitchen set.