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Month: January 2014

DEATH AT THE CAMP – PART TWO

The next morning brought death at the camp.

Using the showers early, I had to encounter sharing the ablutions with the foreigners from the Das Rolande Hotel who had obviously held wind till they were safely positioned above a toilet.  The smell did not make for a pleasant experience and fortunately I could breath through my mouth so as not to smell the stench.

Unfortunately, the fumes were over powering for many and there was death everywhere – huhu beetles, wasps, mosquito’s, moths and sand fly’s, their lifeless bodies lay on the tiled floor with back sides up and legs curled.

Death at the Camp - Part 2(1) Death at the Camp - Part 2(2) Death at the Camp - Part2(4) Death at the Camp - Part 2(5)

Little respect was shown for the dying or the dead.  There were no prayers either.

Eventually the Rotel Tours trundled off to live another day and with it, the coffin hotel.  Life after death returned to normal.Death at the Camp - Part2(6)

Breathing through the nostrils did too, one is happy to exhale!

DEATH AT THE CAMP – PART ONE

Rotel Tours Hotel (1)A truck and massive trailer unit pulled onto the campsite ground opposite and located itself on levelled ground as best that can be found.  Boxed shaped windows were spaced out evenly down one side of the trailer unit and the other side was closed in with the words, ‘Rotel Tours – Das Rolande Hotel.’  A bright orange, it looks like a horse float more than anything once it was unhooked and stabilized.

Apparently not, this is a hotel on wheels for international visitors to our land of the long white cloud.  It’s a rack ’em and stack ’em cheaper accommodation option with the boxed compartments more in tune with coffin sized spaces!Rotel Tours Hotel (2)

The operator opened up the closed in side expanding the floor by a couple of metres for the walkway to the three levelled bunk system inside.  Only the ends have mattresses side by side for couples to share a compartment to snuggle, the remaining are single.  Sharing intimacy would require stealth in such close quarters, one would imagine.

Only clothes that you plan to wear the next day are hung in the walkway making space to manoeuvre the body to your coffin, I mean bed, so as to clamber into. All other baggage is stowed away over night.  Snoring, farting, and incontinence would also require stealth in such close quarters, one would hope!

Rotel Tours Hotel (3)The back opened up to expose a mini-kitchen with an awning hanging off the end to give shelter for the area to prepare food.  Un-stacked tables from underneath were unfolded onto an area close by, a hose connected for running water and the power plugged in for the electricals.  Very clever indeed.

Later in the day, a bus arrived.  People disembarked both young and old and you have to wonder what they thought of their first nights sleeping arrangements when their travel attire would suit five star credentials.  I left the caravan in flip flops, shorts, no tee shirt and sun glasses to wander over to the ablutions and the language was certainly foreign – not too sure if they were in awe of what was or swearing of what is going to be.

Rotel Tours Hotel (4)However, the next hour was spent by our new neighbours in a frenzy with bags being opened, garments sorted, ant trail to the ablutions to shit, shower, shave and shampoo so as to freshen up.  The ovens were soon steaming with food and as the group slowly got sorted, bottles of Heineken were de-capped and ale sloshed down.  They looked more relaxed and wandered about to stretch out before the food was served up like an army mess tent.

The odd salutation was exchanged and as darkness fell upon the camp, the numbers dwindled into the back of the truck for the night, resting in peace!

A NEW YEAR YAWNED

Tandem RidesOur background is in primary aged childcare and therefore, our last day for 2013 was spent entertaining camping children during the daylight hours.  Taking them for rides on a tandem gave them moments of share thrills as the route chosen took us over tree roots and slight rising sand dunes.  Wearing no helmets meant the wind could breeze through their hair, the shrieks of laughter were better than a honk of a car giving pedestrians the heads up to stay left.  The queue for passengers incrementally grew, handing over the front seat, brakes, gears and steering to volunteering Dad’s was welcomed when it happened.

Zombie tag featured as a loved game by the kids.  This is where one person starts off wearing a wrist band with the name ‘Zombie Tag’.  Giving the other players 20 seconds to scatter, a whistle is blown and off the first zombie goes to try to tag others to become zombies.  They too have a wrist band affixed once tagged and then head out to try to tag others.  The last person tagged wins and with it, a chocolate Freedo Frog prize as reward.  I was the first Zombie for the first game so that had them scattering further afield than usual.  During the last game, I was the last to be tagged as a Zombie so had 20 odd kids chasing after me and when they cottoned onto taking relay turns to run me down, I eventually ran out of puff and collapsed onto the ground!

As light faded, spirits had certainly lifted around the camp on the eve of the new year, there was happiness because the sun had delivered a summers day that was one of the best yet.  It had nothing to do with the rum, vodka, bourbon spirits or wine and beer being lifted to people’s mouths!

Spencer Holiday Beach Park had set up a disco for revellers to shake their booty leading up to the count-down.  The music blemished old and new, kids danced liked there was no one watching where as adults, they danced only when night had fallen so as to hide their embarrassment … because everyone was in-fact watching.  Bad booty I guess!

Zombie TagYou wouldn’t have seen me dancing neither, I could hardly walk after the tag games earlier in the day.  So much so that for me, it was a new year yawn and asleep for this zombie-fied body.  I was happy.

Age is unforgiving when you try to act like a kid y’know.

Happy New Year everyone.

TEARS OF DISBELIEF

Camp EntranceWhen the weather is inclement, the only sound that can be heard is the thud from rain meeting the roof, the slush from wheels carving through puddles or the dull echo of mumbled voices from dampened canvas abodes.  The persistent down pours frustrated both old and young – it’s supposed to be the time of year where adults worship the sun whilst kids vanish to play amongst the abyss of tentage.

We watched from the comforts of our caravan some who gave into mother nature and packed up their belongings and drove away.  Will it be a Christmas Holiday they will remember or one they would like to forget?  We watched others tough it out showing glimpses of life to venture across to the toilets, showers or kitchen wondering if they have a system as to who does what or whether the weather had them draw straws to be the one to fight the deluges.Surface Flooding 1

Then there were the hardened determined arrivals who weren’t going to let moisture deter them from their god given moment to make the most of the holidays and arrive to set up camp under the awful conditions.  It’s not easy to duck down in the caravan so as not to make eye contact and hide either as they soldiered on to set up camp.  Guilt got the better of me and before long, the jacket was donned on and out into the elements one went to offer a hand to speed up their discomfort quicker!

Surface Flooding 2Some construction needed engineering backgrounds just to erect the poles whilst some were the traditional three roomed green canvassed ones with colour coded poles we grew up only needing ‘poles two, three, six and seven’ pushed together.  Either types didn’t require a hammer to bang in the pegs, they were easily pushed in by foot because the ground underneath was so saturated.

The ground since the quakes has slightly rippled the land meaning undulation on some sites causing water to pool at the lowest elevation. Unfortunately, our next door neighbour was one such site and it was hard to distinguish what was rain splattered cheeks or tears of disbelief as the water levels rose to start her home to float … inside the tent.Trench Waterfare

Out came the spades from around the gated community and soon a trench was dug to channel the water, it’s flow draining the site leaving a moat to do more protecting from further carnage.  The camp tractor arrived with a couple of scoops of bark.  This was dumped where once the lake had ponded, rakes levelling the mounds to curve with the landscape.

We sheltered under the gazebo to intermittently dash out and re-groove or slice the earth to navigate more liquid to dissipate.  It allowed for conversations to be had as if we had been neighbours way longer than the introduction salutations just a couple of days before.

Barking LakeHow cool it was that the weather isobars overhead presented opportunities for new friendships to be struck up like they were.  This became the habit for the next day, and the next across the camp ground.

There was no ducking down or hiding anymore.  Even if it was weather for the ducks.