On V-Day (aka Vild Water Rafting Day), Roxy left Madeline in the hands of her Latin lover, Juanité, and roamed the rugged streets of Tarapoto looking for adventure and infinite possibilities. This longing for a life-changing journey of course led her straight to the Tour shop near the Plaza. For anyone who doesn't know what the Plaza is in Tarapoto: shame on you. This 80m2 square not only offers one of the tiniest overpriced farmacia's known to man, but it additionally provides the likes of bored looking tweenage boys who occasionally pop up uncomfortably close to your face to greet you for absolutely no reason other than to scare the shit out of you. The local Tarapoto community value this place similar to the Spanish appreciation of La Sagrada Familia. We personally couldn't agree more. When passing this square on their motorcycles, they proudly bask in the landmark's allure and direct everyone around them to do the same. Asking a Tarapotan why he feels such a strong desire to view the square with such appreciation would be like asking Roxy’s dog, Clifford, why he - so full of elegance and determination - humps the sofa. It just needs to be done.
Having arrived at the tour shop, Roxy inquired whether there were still any upcoming tours that day. Since the man who worked at the tour shop remained silent for quite some time and it was already 2:30 PM, Roxy didn’t expect any fruitful answer and had already emotionally resigned herself to a lovely afternoon chillaxing in a jungle hammock, cradling a pisco sour (or five). However, that daydream burst into el Diablo’s flames when a kind semi English speaker approached Roxy to inform her that the man at the tour shop did not speak English and that the last tour commenced at 3 PM. With the daydream still at arm’s reach, Roxy thought long and hard about whether she should embark on this adventure and asked herself, “What would Madeline do?”, and the answer came (frighteningly) quick; “Go hard or go home!”, spiritual Madeline screamed. So that was a wrap. Roxy asked the man what the 3PM tour entailed and the man assured her it would be “canotaje”. To which Roxy responded, “Come again?”. The man then pulled out a translator app on his phone, showed her that the word means “wild water rafting”, and the rest of the dialogue flowed via that. Thanks Apple!
After Roxy paid the 70 soles (roughly $20) and was ready to embark on the tour van that had just pulled up, the tour guide was suddenly very concerned that Roxy would not be able to make it out of canotaje alive and would eventually become one with the river. He didn’t phrase it in this many words, but his look spoke volumes. Roxy assured him she only needed “un pocito ayuda”, however the man was still unconvinced. He had Roxy speak to his boss - who Roxy pictured as Scarface – and she assured him that she is very strong. Scarface remained silent on the phone for an uncomfortable amount of time and finally assured her that she wasn’t allowed to be drunk on the boat. Roxy assured him that she wasn’t drunk and that the word she had in fact used was “strong”. Scarface remained skeptical, but hey, Roxy was a paying customer and “in this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women”, thus the conversation was futile.
Roxy got in the van and when the men asked her how to fold her wheelchair, she told them it was impossible, but that the wheels could come off. They told her all the chairs in the car, including the ones in the rear, were needed to accommodate all the canotaje passengers and that there would be no room to fit the chair. The combination of the Peruvian heat and arguing with Scarface about being drunk or not rendered Roxy indifferent to her wheelchair’s fate and she agreed to let the men watch it for her during her canotaje adventure. She poured all her remaining strengths into pleading with the men to be careful as it is “muy importante”. The men reassured Roxy the chair would be safe in a way a teenage babysitter assures the parents of the child she will be watching that she will most definitely not make out with her boyfriend, who is coming over later, while on the job. Roxy knew it was very possible that the chair and she might never meet again, as well as the possibility that this van could be the vessel that transports Roxy and eight other ‘canotaje’ members into sex trafficking, but then again… Go hard or go home!
After a thirty minute car ride into the wilderness, Roxy and the eight other rafters arrived at the Mayo River. A very petite but incredibly strong Mowgli lookalike, lifted Roxy into a raft and the other eight quickly followed. Roxy sat at the front of the raft, feeling radiantly powerful like Captain Hook. However, this power quickly turned into rebellion after the main tour guide of the group persisted that she couldn't have an ore and that she should pull on the rope that was attached to the front of the raft. At first, this seemed extremely rude to Roxy, but, whilst reminiscing later, probably vital for saving her life. Roxy’s lack of the Spanish tongue coaxed her to pick her battles and thus she created a delusional fantasy in which holding that rope was the most important job wrapped in the guise of the laziest. She thought: even though no one informed her that pulling that rope was a task any greater than helping herself from flopping around in the raft like a dead seal, she knew that it would slightly lift the front of the raft just enough to spare her peddling men in the back from getting a tsunami spat in their faces everytime a wave hit. Not much different from Joan of Arc, in her opinion. So, de nada, bitches. Also she became the raft’s jester by yelling, "oei oei oei", followed by either "la cucaracha", "vamos a la playa", or the always classic, "tengo la camisa negra", as the raft encountered the impending doom of the wave in front of them.
After an hour of rafting, Roxy and the group returned to the van and everyone was returned to their destinations. This is when the realization resurfaced that Roxy had spontaneously deserted her gold-rimmed companion, who had always loved her unconditionally and stood beside (or under) her through all these years, in the hands of a sketchy Tarapotan tour shop. When the van pulled up at the tour shop and the men greeted Roxy with her alive and kicking, shiny companion, she felt extremely guilty about her flaky behavior and hoped that her wheelchair wouldn’t one day avenge this spontaneous abandonment by leaving Roxy in a sketchy situation… Then she reminisced about that one time at Schindler’s Factory in Krakow – of all places - when her wheelchair spontaneously decided to reject a front wheel, and she decided that they were even.