Tuesday, July 10, 2012
"Teresa tried to kill me."
Six of us drove to the little village of Collias, dressed in the grubbiest clothes we brought. (Arles Betty stayed behind to explore the city of Avignon and do a little shopping.) We parked the cars, hopped into the van and were driven down to the river by a very enthusiastic cute young French girl. I signed the forms, we were shown the route, we zipped ourselves into life jackets, grabbed our oars, put our belongings in the white bidon, strapped it in, and shoved off. Blue skies, singing cicadas, a gentle breeze, and 8 km of river ahead of us. What could be better? A few teeny tiny "rapids"-- just enough for someone who likes very low key adventures of this sort. (The BFF was in the back of my boat, the steering position, I have since learned.) Not long into the trip, we came upon an little island and from behind us, we heard Iron Woman shout "Go to the left." So we did. Then she and Sister-in-law went right. Only seconds into it, we were headed straight into a wall of rock. I tried to push off from it with my paddle, but all that did was knock it out of my hands and send it on down the river. The BFF yelled at me to watch my head and I turned to make sure she was watching hers as the boat tipped over. All I saw was her cute little head heading straight for the rock and then she went under. She popped back up saying "I'm okay" and the she went under a second time. I grabbed ahold of the kayak as best I could, but the oar and one of the BFF's shoes which was supposed to be on my foot (except that I had taken them off to try to get some sun on my very pale feet) were quickly out of reach. I kept yelling for the BFF and promised her I would buy her a new pair at The Rack Room where they are Buy One Get One Free (BOGO). That isn't totally true- they are Buy One Get One Half-Off. All's well that ends well, though. Iron Woman and Sister-in-law recovered the shoe and the oar, the BFF and I made it to the little island with the kayak, Arizona Tammy and Ms. Louisiana came ashore to check on us. A Frenchie and his little boy, who were fishing, helped us out as we got back into the boat, repeating tranquillement tranquillement. We continued down the river, floated under the magnificent Pont du Gard, and continued with no further incidents.
At Mme P's dinner party last night, all the Frenchies who had been down the river knew the exact spot of our incident and had stories of their own. There were no injuries, I am happy to report.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I wish that I had photos, but if I had had my camera with me, it would now be on the bottom of the river.
More on the amazing dinner party later. Today's photo is M. P's gift to his wife and me. He wrote that into the fleshly poured concrete by the pool. A very touching moment.