To Add Some Fun to the Ordinary Life
My colleague buzzed me on Saturday afternoon: “Join us in canoeing.” Without giving a second thought, I hurriedly smeared the sunscreen on my face, packed some snack and water, and hopped in a Ford Focus. Six of us occupied two vehicles fully loaded with three canoes and spent about an hour on the Highway before vanishing in the bush. We decided to park the vehicles at either end of the canoe route for the best coordination before launching canoes. Although the straight distance of this stream was about two kilos, it meandered back and forth through the valley, so we figured out the peddling time would be roughly two hours and we should be safe to get home for supper at about six o’clock.
A leaking tire of the pick-up truck was detected. The owner shrugged off his should, gave a grin and commented the tire would be self-healing (such an easy fix by replacing it with the spare, say, maximum 20 minutes), not a big deal, so we agreed to change it afterwards.
我们于是在一陡坡处下了船，密林深处，蚊虫很多，溪水清澈见底，水流时缓时急。独木舟狭长，限坐两人，掌握好平衡和摆渡是关键。溪水欢快地淌着，我们过浅滩，转急弯，跳险峡。。。又或下水扛船跨过/绕过枯枝堆(log jam/beaver dam)，深潭处戏水惊鸟，驻停垂钓。。。
We sent the canoes down the stream from a steep hill. In the heart of the forest, sheets of mosquitoes were patrolling. The translucent water naughtily changed its pattern from tranquility to tumbling current at various folds. Tactical steering and good weight balancing were the trick to handle the long, skinny canoe, which could contained two persons only. We stumbled through shallow stream bed, navigated tight bends, hurdled off cliffs… In areas where encountered by log jam or beaver dam, we lifted the canoes across the obstacles or made a detour along the branch. Inspired by plentiful playful water and chirping birds in surroundings, we pulled over the canoes in the midst of deep pond for fishing.
Fishing deserved to further elaborate: unlike my childhood experience, the fishing rod demanded only a sharp hook along with a flashing metal wabler devoid of any baits. When casting a fishing rod downstream and slowly dragging it down-and-across the stream channel, you could noticed a sudden jerk by local habitants whose attention was caught by the vibratory wabler. It was with great fun to pull the trout or unnamed fish out of water and release them later.
Time flied by and it passed six o’clock when we jumped off the canoes. We had to reassume the arrival time to home would be around eight o’clock. Four of us hung around waiting for the pick-up from the truck departing from another end once its flat tire had been changed. We were starving and bombarded by mosquitoes. We played Frisbee in hope of the movement could shake off them, but it wouldn’t help. We dashed in the Ford Focus with doors and windows locked, scavenging for food, and devouring all the remnant raw vegetables (celery,red pepper, carrot…). We had been desperately waiting for like more than an hour and still no dust arising in distance yet. Realizing something went wrong, we fired up the Focus and drove to the other end, volunteering a poor guy to stay and safeguard the canoes and other belongings.
As anticipated, the pierced tire was complete flat as opposed to be “self-healing”. Unfortunately, the spare was unable to be cranked down (due to the mechanical faulty). The poor guy was sweat soaked, cursed Holly Jesus Mother &*@!^…, and preyed by hundreds of mosquitoes. We restudied the Truck’s manual over times and still felt cloudy (Damn Ford!). The dusk crept in and no one was willing to stay overnight in this remote isolated place. We voted for abandoning the truck instantly and saved the trouble for tomorrow. In a blink of eyes, we tucked the canoes in the bush and squeezed in the little Focus leading to home.
终于能上路，车里挤得不行，我一语点破，小车载重超过一千磅。。。大家望天打卦，希望不要再有爆胎或其他意外。一路上手机没有信号，无法和家人联系。又动弹不得，不免有点郁闷。没有电台信号，只有席琳.迪翁的CD， 当再次听到“my heart will go on and on and on…”时，脑后根一片发麻。
The little Focus was completely pressurized by six adults, with total net weight over 1000 pounds (I did the math). We could do nothing but pray, hoping all the tires could sustain… no cell signal meaning no chance to get hold of our families and being compressed denying any movements inside the car, which slowly built up the cloud of frustration. We turned on the radio and nothing was appealing expect electronic notice… Fortunately, we had a Celine Dion’s CD. Yes, no kidding. It was hers! We played her song immediately and then “my heart will go on and on and on and on…” My god! I felt so bitterly thankful.
It was quiet for a while and then a lady shouted: “Shit! I locked my house key and car key in the truck left in the bush.” Meanwhile, a guy lost his voice: “Don’t you know I’ve locked mine (keys) in your car? How am I supposed to go home tonight if you cannot open your car door?” We were so puzzled (how could this happen), sighed, and shook heads. Again, we voted for scarifying individual interest for sake of the team and decided to keep going and leave troubles for tomorrow.
Afterwards, we sent those who could get home to home, and then rolled down poor lady’s car window by means of a wiry tool refurnished from a cloth hanger so the poor guy could fetch his keys and go home. The lady would be provided shelter overnight by the truck’s owner so they could arrange another trip to the bush again tomorrow. It was 11:30pm when I was safely home. I took a shower, feeling I was exhausted and was about to have a fever, and hit the pillow right after. The next day morning I found I had almost finished a whole roll of tissue paper for my sniffling nose. I felt I was (like) constipated and the toasted hotdog was still lingering in my stomach.
PS: Together along are structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, engineer in training, and environmental specialists with average ages 35 as opposed to teenagers, but sometimes we could be even goofier.