Saturday, December 22, 2012

Whitewater Rafting and Fist Pumps...But Not at the Same Time

Guy at a Queenstown bar: "Did I just see you fist pumping?"
Me: "It's dad is from Jersey."

This comment pretty much sums up our Saturday night in Queenstown. Let's back up to Saturday morning to fully explain how the night got to this...

On Saturday morning, Diana, Ashley, and I went whitewater rafting down the Shotover River near Queenstown, New Zealand. Now let me, again, point out one important fact about myself: I am not a strong swimmer. I've mentioned this multiple times in previous blog posts, but I had to reiterate this fact in order to fully emphasize the magnitude of this issue when it comes to riding down a rocky river in a tube holding a wooden paddle.

When we arrived at Queenstown Rafting, we found out that the trip we originally booked was cancelled due to too small of a group. However, we were upgraded to a route for more "experienced" rafters. The first question they asked us: "All of you are strong swimmers, right?" Me being me, I smiled and nodded.

On our way up the surrounding mountains, our tour guide stressed how important it was that all the people going on this rafting trip be strong swimmers. She then told horror stories involving lost limbs and other ridiculousness, had us look over cartoon drawings regarding how to handle being thrown into the water, and finally had us sign our lives away. I instantly felt my stomach doing flip flops. At one point, she said, "If anyone isn't a strong swimmer, you should really back out now..." I kept thinking to myself, "Is this a sign? Should I back out?" I decided to live by the theory feel the fear and do it anyway and figured, hey, if I survive, I will have conquered yet another fear AND have photos to prove it (who doesn't like a good photo opp?!).

As we got into our wetsuits, my anxiety was high yet I covered it up nicely with my sarcasm and wit. We were put into groups of six and introduced to our raft tour guide, Bob the Canadian. He started us off easy down the river and practiced various techniques to ease the worry and prepare us for the ride ahead. (One of my personal favorites was when he said, "Hold on!" which means to hold onto the rope in front of us and Ashley and I ducked into the spot between the seats of the raft instead while holding our heads down. When we finally looked behind us, we realized we were overly ambitious in our attempts to save ourselves.)

As we floated down the "easy" areas of the river, there were about ten other rafts either ahead or in back of us and each seemed to know "the Chicago girls." I've never had so many people guys make a pass at us with us while wearing SUPER attractive wetsuits, life jackets, and helmets (proof of our attractiveness below). We were literally the talk of the raft trip. It may or may not have been due to the fact that I was on my A-game with witty comments and banter and Diana and Ashley's natural awesomeness. We had multiple invites to go out Saturday night.

Okay, now let's fast forward to Saturday night. There we were, out with all the male tour guides (we decided their invite seemed most fun) when interesting things commenced. The night involved shot skis, performing Gangnam Style both on a bar patio in front of the customers AND at a club (which then started the dance party), white girl dancing to Paul McCarthy's "Wonderful Christmastime" outside a cookie shop (don't worry, I've added it below), and much much more.

We ended up at a pizza place turned dance club called Winnie's, which is where the fist pump incident occurred. One of the raft tour guides saw me dancing (santa hat on head) and fist pumping (both fists) as hard as I could...I then delivered the line above to his posed question, to which he responded with a respectful head nod and smirk.

Spontaneous dance parties seem to be my new past time. I'm definitely bringing it back Stateside!


  1. I guess it is good that I read the blogs AFTER you have your adventures!!! I also have to admit that when I went to Jamaica on spring break in college, I also had a lapse in good judgement. You know that rocks swim better than me, however, that did not stop me from getting on a sailboat in the barracuda infested Caribbean without a life preserver. Of course that does not make me worry less about you but I do understand if you sometimes don't throw caution to the wind, you may not experience things in life.

  2. I would never do anything that would put my life into serious danger, Mom...I promise! :) Love you and miss you. "See" you soon on Skype!