OK, I’m a Wimp.

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Let me clearly state: I am a wimp. Camping is not an activity that is super high on my list of things to do, camping in the jungle and on the beach even less so. Nature is dirty and constantly trying to kill me. Someone should really clean Nature up… I mean, there’s dirt EVERYWHERE. So, after several weeks being au naturale, I think some observations are in order.

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Firstly, bathrooms, real bathrooms, with water and porcelain and soap and toilet paper and walls and doors, are REALLY, REALLY great. I cannot over emphasize that. THEY ARE GREAT! While it is possible to “take care of business” without one, it’s just not the same. You can do your damnedest out in the wild to successfully achieve the principle goal, but there will always be some sort of problem, sometimes minor, sometimes major. I will spare you the gory details.

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Secondly, showers, any sort of shower, even a garden hose, are likewise amazing. Since Nature is so dirty and sticky and salty and sandy and oily and dusty and sweaty, having a good fresh water cleanse is so much more than a trivial luxury. It is virtually impossible to sleep when you are covered with salt and sweat and sand. Again, I’m a wimp, but I stand by my assertion. My first item, the simple bathroom, coincidently can, in a pinch double as a shower. I just recommend that it has a locking door as not to offend the natives. (A trip to the local Walmart subsidiary, pictured above, and using the facilities therein raised a few eyebrows when the “showers” started…)

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I never thought I would appreciate America’s contribution to world culture in the ways I did. McDonald’s has mediocre, but consistent food worldwide. I have been to this de facto American embassy many times around the world, particularly when feeling a little homesick. These little trips “home” have usually been while staying in a city and therefore I didn’t realize the subtler aspects of these visits. First of all, McDonald’s believes strongly in climate control. Air conditioning is indeed a luxury, a luxury I now appreciate much more. Ice that you can actually eat is also in that category. Free WiFi service (while being A/C’d) as well as great bathrooms is likewise a potent combination – the WiFi network was charmingly named “McInternet”.

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While I never felt particularly in danger during the trip, aside from traveling some rather hair-raising mountain roads, the sign above being posted outside a fairly upscale grocery store did not instill confidence. Culture shock on my part? Perhaps.

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But, when it all becomes too much, for a not-so-small fee, you can take a vacation from the vacation. I highly recommend splurging every now and then and dipping your toes in the sterile chlorine water. Having amenities at your fingertips can transform, invigorate and give you the energy to dive back into the dusty, salty, sandy, sweaty, sticky oiliness of Nature. That at least is the opinion of this wimp.

Jeff Chapple

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One Response to OK, I’m a Wimp.

  1. Marie says:

    This made me laugh Jeff, thank you! Okay, I’m going to minimize the internet now on a wiki link. *)