Friday, January 27, 2012

A tale from Aurelie - The joy of camping

When my dear husband left he told me to try to be sociable, to meet people.
So I made the effort last week to go back to the hostel to keep in touch with the 2 guys there, especially Lorence who has a boy of Ela's age so the kids can play. There came the suggestion of a BBQ on Friday night, I said cool count us in.
Got a call on Thursday to be at the hostel on Friday early afternoon to organise shopping, more people were involved. They take BBQ very seriously here and it probably takes an afternoon to organise it.
So here I was on board, ready for my 1st bbq without Stephen. There I met Manuella and Fred and their 3 kids. Women were sent to go shopping while men were getting the camp and fire set up. Gladly I was just the driver for Manuella cos I had no idea what to get. As we were shopping she kept mentioning tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. I realised then that this wasn't just an evening bbq. This was CAMPING.
I don't do camping. I like comfort, my own space, things not being on the ground and above all private bathroom. I understand it's a cheap accommodation when travelling, but I rather spend my money on hotels, and the more stars the better. But this was a new concept to me all together: camping for the sake of it, when you live actually 10 min away by car!
I was not sure exactly what I had enrolled into, but I went to get the kids who were excited about bbq, and trilled about camping for the first time. I kept saying to myself that I could always go home later if I needed to, after all it was only 10 min aways 15 at most. Worse case scenario I could sleep in the car.
They camped just beside the beach. Camping is actually not allowed, but everyone does it anyway. So it's wild camping, with no facilities beside the fire place. Great.
Kids were sorted they were sharing 2 tents for 6 of them. The camp was sheltered by big plastic cover tied to trees. There was one more on the ground and a big blanket to sit on. They had bought all the pots and pan, bags of food and ice box. They were making marinade and everything from scratch. I was very impressed. With Lorence there is always music so we had a guitar, djembe and  Kayamb. So far so good.
The fun started when I had to take my kids for a pee in the dark in the wild. Samuel refused to pee standing up and he did in sitting position so his trousers were soaked ( at least I had brought spare clothes). Ela refused to do at all and I had to drove her back to the hostel 5 min up the road (which was fine with me since I had to go for myself too, not being an outdoor type of person). In the mean time it started to rain. Kind of tropical rain fall. Ela fell asleep on the way back, so I decided to leave her sleep in the car while I go back to the camp waiting for the rain to stop as it usually does not last too long. I was told is was not a good idea and I had to get her back paddleling in the mud. With her sleeping in a tent I saw my chances of going back home getting a lot less probable. Shortly after Samuel asked to go to sleep too in the tent. I was stranded.
Don't get me wrong, people were very nice, the food when finally ready (sometime after 10) was very good, even if I prefer to see what I eat. It's just that the plastic covers were not really waterproof, and there were more tropical showers.
Everyone insisted that I had a drink to ease it up, so I did and then there was definitely no going anywhere. After a couple of drinks and maybe some smoking we had good fun singing away or at least trying to as we did not know most of the word in them. This could be the reason why the rain did not stop. We had the visit of a crab who managed to get under the blanket. I was told we were probably surrounded by dozen of them, so to be careful when walking in the dark (not like it was going to happen anyway).
Then some people left, the others passed out and I was left with Fred who told me he was not going to sleep cos it's not safe here. Strange people are around (they certainly have to be if they stay in the rain in the dark). 3 people have gone missing from this place, never to been seen again, except for 1 found 3 month later somewhere else (very X files). So I should never ever leave my kids in the car (though I did not get if it was more dangerous for the car or the kid). Etc, ect...  I was not sure if Fred was trying to scare me or being spookingly paranoiac.
So let summarise the situation: it was 3, 4, 5 o'clock AM. I had been sitting on the (hard and actually stony) ground for hours and my bum was sore and my legs were numbed (or the other way around). There was nowhere to lie down. I was tired. There were heavy showers one after another. I was getting drops on my head. Everything was damp. I was now being scared by every noise around me (blaire witch came in my mind). I had been bitten by mosquitos.  I needed to pee, which was not going to happen for so many reasons (rain, dark, blaire witch to name a few).
Hmm... Yes I remembered: this is why I don't like camping!
At 7, some sun came out. I went for swim to keep me awake. This was cool as I nearly had the beach and the sea to myself. Ready for the new day I went back to the camp and it started to rain again. A lot. That was it I took kids and bags, said goodbye and left.
I'll do a quick epilogue as it's a very long article. Saturday night as I was going to put the kids to bed I get a call saying they were waiting for us. So we went back (things you do for your kids!!). 2nd night was better cos it did not rain and I squeezed in the tent with the kids to sleep (very cramped but I was so tired I did not care).
Conclusion: next time I'll send Stephen camping and I'll have a comfy night in all by myself

D2: camp site on dry ground
"neighbours" also joined in

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