Thursday, April 9, 2009

White Water Rafting at Padas

(From my archive - Nov 2007)

Yesterday we went white water rafting at Padas River. It was arranged like two months back so I was surprised how time flies and it was time to go for the trip. Unfortunately many pulled out last minute (duh) I thought it would be good to just go and have fun no matter how small the group is. 

The night before - Saturday - it was raining like mad and I was praying for it to stop by the next morning. Where 4:30 am on the wee hours of Sunday morning it rained BUCKETS!! I mean, really, I was woken up by the sound of something like someone pouring buckets and buckets of water on the was like being under a waterfall, the rain was just pouring solid for hours.

Well we braved the wet weather and trooped onto our van for the trip down to Beaufort. Reached Beaufort train station and the rain had reduced to a drizzle, which was a good sign. 

The train ride was quite an experience. Very embarrassing for me to admit this is my first train ride in Malaysia. Bikin malu eh. Like I said it was quite an experience coz there were many villagers from Tenom who had transported their produce by the sackfuls for the marketplace, so they had the carriages filled to the brim. By the time they finished unloading their things you couldnt see the platform floor. Managed to get seats for the 1 hr journey, then stopped at Rayoh(?) for a quick change of attire and jumped back on board the training for another 30 minutes journey to the starting point. 

Throughout the journey was in interesting conversation with Ronnie the Swede guy who has travelled extensively in like 40 countries ! wow. The locals who sat across asked whether we were going rafting and when we said yes, he gave us a brief "are you crazy?" look and told us that it has been raining past few days and the rapids might be rough. I replied that we'll wait and see when we reached the starting point and decide from there (trying to sound very confident and like I knew what I was talking about!)

When we reached the starting point (across from a school SK Pangi), we got some watermelons and bottled water. After getting ready with our vests and helmets, we had our safety briefing and then proceeded to the river edge. By this time I was asking myself whylah did I agree to do this? Pushing my demons aside we hopped on to the boat - I didn't paddle coz the rest seemed quite excited to do the paddling so I was seated front row, centre - I call it the cockpit view. Not the best seat in the house, I would say however there's always a first time for everything. Everytime the water splashed it was right in my face. Now I know what it's like to be a windshield!

No pics of us in the boat coz no cameras but it was crazy. My only bragging point is that I didn't swallow any of the murky water (teh tarik, anyone?) however some did go up my nose. Duh, that was a bit painful. The water was initially cold but got used to it as we went downriver. The guide was amusing, trying his best I guess to explain to us this and that in English. We had 2 safety kayakers, the guys are just so cool. One of them even sort of took a nap on his kayak while drifting through the calmer rapids. 

Parts of the river were named after funny things - they had the swimming pool, Headhunter, Scooby Doo, Washing Machine, Cobra Point, Lambada..BBQ..those we the ones I could remember. Scariest part? I thought the Flying Fish maneuvers gave me the real jitters coz it really did seem like the boat was gonna turn turtle.

Reached the end point and the guides decided to tilt the boat! Ha ha. Now I can laugh about it. Once in the river, the cold water didn't help with my non-existent swimming skills. I remembered to just relax and float and let the life jacket help with that. Floated to the right side of the riverbank, tried to do something resembling swimming (wading, kicking?) got pulled by one of the guides and I'm back on solid ground! Yay! I survived! I think half my energy was spent on screaming and laughing throughout.

Quickly took a shower al fresco, got changed to dry clothes and had some lunch. Not the greatest of menus but when you're hungry anything goes. We had a good 1 hour before the train comes shuttling by so time was spent drying hair, taking pics and posing for the camera. Then the train came at 3:30 pm and it was off we go onto the platform ! No siree, we decided to be adventurous and ride the train al fresco..(by the way, is it legal?).

Bumpy, noisy, a little bit smoky coz the engine was in front, that's how I would describe the ride back but boy it was fun and interesting! When else and where else would you be able to experience this kind of train ride?

Reached Beaufort about 5 pm and then hopped into our van for the 1 1/2 hours journey back to KK. Reaching KK I was quite hungry so went to Emperor's Delight for some la mian. Yummy.

Well - that was my weekend. Looking forward to another trip soon - we joked about going to Kiulu just for fun ("a walk in the park") so it might just happen!

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Very well written. I learned a lot from it! Will be coming back for more!

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