rapid cycling of thoughts.

after we reached the end of our trip down the rio toro, the rafting guide told us that we had a situation. he explained how people abandon their pets when they no longer want them, before leading us up an embankment where there was a cat with its head sticking out of a bag of rice. another cat — emaciated, fur matted with rain and dirt — lay dead in the grass beside it.

we gathered around an overturned kayak, eating pieces of pineapple and yucca chips, while someone cut the cat free and washed it in the river as it shook and whined. wrapped in a towel, we fed it crumbled bits of coconut cookies. it couldn’t support its own weight.

we drove to town for lunch, the cat in the front seat of the van, nestled in the floorboards. we drove to town to put the cat down as humanely as possible.

i don’t know why i’m telling you this. i don’t know what motivated me to continue through this story, rather than talking about the whitewater rafting experience itself. i could have written about how the guide initially told me my strokes were lazy, and the irony of that statement when, upon viewing the pictures taken while we paddled, we noticed the girl behind me staring directly at the camera in each photograph and even flashing the peace sign in one. i could have told you that i became completely soaked, my shoes, formerly caked with mud from a hike on a muddy trail near an active volcano, now pristine. i could have just said that it wasn’t worth the money and left it at that (though then everyone would think of me as a curmudgeon that cannot be satisfied, instead of someone whose idea of adventure is skewed).

i’m sorry that my thoughts tend to go in these directions and that i become fixated on the details of an event outside the event, that i remember the way a dying cat was carefully bathed along the banks of a raging river rather than presenting a travel guide so that you know what places to visit and what tour companies to use. again, i am seeing how strangers come together to support each other at times of crisis, but, yeah, i could have achieved those ends by detailing how we synchronized our oars to navigate without capsizing.


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