Tuesday, November 09, 2004


One of my all time favorite vacations took place in 1984. My Uncle took my cousin and I camping along the Mediterranean and Aegean Coastline. This was my first time camping. Come to think of it, it was a maiden camping voyage. None of us had pitched a tent before that trip.

Before we got underway, we stopped off and picked up the tent from another Uncle. When we arrived at his house he wasn’t home. So my Aunt pointed us in the direction of the camping supplies. She told us to take whatever we needed and that she guessed everything was in place. We had no reason to think what we grabbed wasn’t all we needed. (Yes, mistake #1)

After driving for 6 hours we arrived at our first campsite. A beachfront camp ground as each of them were on that trip. So beautiful, top of the line cooking and bathing facilities at a very reasonable cost. The goal was the more reasonable the cost, the longer our trip would last. I can’t remember the itinerary, but I know we were gone for at least 12 days.

We picked our location and started to unload our supplies. We set forth putting up the frame of the tent (keep in mind that I am not a seasoned camper, my terminology of the parts is probably way off). It was huge. I was expecting something much smaller. It looked like it had sitting area in front and then 2 bedrooms in the back. The frame was up and the 2 rooms were up. The material of the bedrooms was gauzy, very similar to mosquito netting with durable flooring. The bedrooms were fully enclosed complete with zippered doors. We inflated the 2 air mattresses and placed them in each bedroom as well. My cousin and I would share one room and my Uncle would have the other. It was at this point that we realized our mistake. We did not have the tarp that would act as a roof for the frame. So what we had was a large frame which housed 2 see through bedrooms. We had 2 choices. Spend the night in a hotel and then return home canceling the entire trip or continuing on with our modified tent.

My Uncle and cousin were leaving the final decision up to me. I knew we didn’t have the funds to complete our trip and spend the nights in hotels. I am not a very high maintenance person and when would I ever have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful beaches and sites along those coastlines again? My suggestion was to keep our original plan and enjoy our trip. It was summer time so the fact that our sleeping quarters would allow the ocean breezes through was a big plus for me. Let me be near water and hear the tides come in and go out and I am one happy camper. (Pun intended) Our only problem would be if it ever rained, then we would not be able to use our tent as shelter. We all agreed to take that chance.

We basically spent 2 nights at each campsite during our trip. I am not sure how it was possible, but each campground was nicer than the last. I am talking marbled kitchen and shower areas. No wonder there are happy campers, who knew. By the time we got to campsite 2 we had whittled our tent frame to the portion that help up only the bedrooms. It just didn’t make sense to keep erecting the whole structure when we couldn’t use it. We became quite good at the assembly and even better at explaining why our tent was so unusual. We had several different scenarios to explain our plight. We got creative as the days went by. Our fellow campers seemed to be sympathetic. One night we did endure a pretty fierce windstorm. That night I could feel the sand coming in through the gauzy walls of our bedroom. It wasn’t the most comfortable feeling but isn’t that part of the whole camping experience? We decided to tell anyone who asked after that night that our tarp was taken by the wind thus rendering us topless. My cousin and I would take turns holding up a sheet as a shield to keep everyone from watching us get dressed and undressed. My Uncle was on his own, he either dressed in the bathroom facilities or he was giving everyone a free show. I never asked. It might explain why he always had a gaggle of European females on his heels.

Our 12-day, topless adventure was perfect. No rain, one windstorm and some of the best memories I could ever ask for.


HotForSimon said...

What? No comments?

I'll be the first...teehee!!

Wicked H said...

Sniff, I guess this one wasn't comment worthy. I'll try to do better, I promise!!