‘More power, more power,” Orlando screams from the back of the raft. “That’s easy for you to say, mate,” I think to myself as I plunge my oar back into the icy water. “You’re not paddling.”
We make it through the swirling rapids to some calmer water on the other side and I double up over my paddle and gulp in lungfuls of oxygen-deprived air.
White-water rafting at 3000 metres is hard work. To be honest, doing anything at 3000 metres is hard work. At this altitude a flight of stairs can reduce you to a gasping wreck, so a white-water rafting trip might not seem the ideal way to spend an afternoon. But it’s one of the best ways of taking in the majestic scenery around Cusco, a region in Peru that’s famous for its soaring tree-covered mountains and ancient Inca ruins.
Unfortunately, only one other person in Cusco felt the same way, so there are just the two of us on today’s tour. Which would be fine if we were in a kayak. But we’re in an eight-person raft. And our guide – a sinewy local by the name of Orlando – is a maniac.
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