Moises, my rafting guide, is drilling me. "When I say 'back paddle', what do you do?" Sitting in the raft, still docked on the side of the river I move my oar in reverse as he'd taught me to do. "Very good. Vamanos. We're ready."
On this stretch of the Sarapiqui River my husband and I, along with guides Moises, Martin and Victor, will be tackling Class I, II and III rapids while taking in our verdant surroundings. Bromeliads regally perch upon the branches of the lush, towering trees lining the river's bank. Herons and vultures convene in large groups while howler monkeys rustle in the trees. Just when I've lost myself in the scenery, the next set of rapids approaches and a giant wave wallops me in the face.
"Back paddle! Back Paddle!" Moises yells. We successfully clear the rapids, sharing a celebratory high five with our oars. Remnants of the Sarapiqui River drip down our faces as we prepare to brave the rough waters ahead.
Jennifer Rhodes is a writer and teacher whose big mouth and complete absence of sound judgment make her a liability in most professional and social situations.