The Ayung is gentle, at least along the stretch we were on. The rapids soon dissipate, as if they'd never been angry and threatening in the first place, leaving the water to meander slowly through the gorge. Most of the other rafters were Chinese - we had a couple from Hunan Province in our boat - and they have this annoying habit of splashing each other by smacking their oars onto the water. That seemed to be the highlight of their day and left me wishing I knew how to say "Cut that out!" in Mandarin.
One stretch of the river is absolutely breathtaking. A magnificent frieze of moss covered sculptures depicting the pantheon of Hindu belief is carved into the wall of the gorge and right down to the water. The sight was so beautiful and unexpected, everyone went quiet and even the Chinese forgot to splash each other for a while. Now and then a little kiosk beckoned from the river bank where you could buy a drink or a snack. Further downstream, the Ayung winds its way through opulent hotels with pristine lawns and ornate gazebos for their guests to dine in luxury. We were done around lunchtime and had an excellent buffet lunch before climbing back out of the gorge. Now my daughter wants us to take an Indonesian chef back with us or at the very least, buy our helper in Johannesburg an Indonesian cook book. Somehow I don't think her cooking will ever improve but that's a story for another day.