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Near Thing in Chitwan We tourists are beguiled to think our safety is assured because our guide is native Nepalese, he hires the dug-out, the paddlers bow and stern, sits with us in mild discomfort, a brief excursion on the Rapti river. Borne on the current, more rapid than the placid surface would appear, we see ahead, a tree limb snagged, up-ended, break the surging water, a self-designed beacon to the unwary, to steer away. As though mesmerized, our fragile craft sucked unguided sweeps toward its fate, the spear aimed to pierce the vessel, toss us helpless, flailing in the stream. All aware, impending disaster pressing, eyes frozen on the stump, gunwales gripped in fright, we scrape the splintered snag sliding by. Breathless whistles of relief. The paddlers, inept, offer no apologies the guide, immune to our apprehension resumes his cheerful chatter as we debark cheated of an unadvertised adventure.
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