Personal Note: “Finally I have time to reflect on the year 2010. As English ist not my first language (as you know), I apologize beforehand for any spelling mistakes, for choosing the wrong words or for building complicated sentences. It is not my attention to upset anybody! Maybe you know what I mean. It is complicated, but I try my best to use “understandable English”. So please enjoy my personal highlights of the year. Beate
In July my world-traveling writer friend Angelika just sent me an interesting letter about hair removal, Brazilian Waxing and other methods used by American women to look good at places where normally nobody sees it.
I laughed my head off and I am very glad, that I am too old, too lazy and too poor for these things. And because of the weather and my apple shaped body type I am not wearing a bikini anymore. I can’t afford Liposuction and because I am allergic to pain, I will not have Botox (wasn’t that used as neurotoxin during the Vietnam War?) injections or body lifting. If you have a total body lift, they cut one circle around the waste, pull the skin up (like a pantyhose), cut off the overlapping skin and then stitch it all back together. From that remaining piece of skin, they can design new lips, new ears, or breast enlargements for you. Not for me! From time to time I pluck a hair from my chin, if the weather is nice I shave the hair under my arms and the ones on my legs will only be removed in summer when I wear the comfortable Capri pants with elastics around the waist – and that’s it!
As a good girl -not like Brittney Spears- I always wear underpants, mostly big enough to catch a rabbit, if necessary – you’ll never know! Because of my age I am not wearing miniskirts anymore, for comfort reasons I am not wearing g-strings and it is not my style anymore to wear see-through lace, silk, chiffon or handmade crochet dresses. All of those don’t go well with my love handles and the little “sausage rolls” on my back according to “Triny and Susanna” and “What not to wear”. That reminds me of Blackforrest ham . Everytime, I am really ready to become a Vegetarian, I get a terrible craving for Blackforrest ham and German bread (the one that feels like a brick). Is that normal or is it part of my midlife crises or is it psychotic preparation for hard times to come?
I am also glad, that the Soccer World Cup is over and we can go back to sleep at night. During that time it wasn’t my mortgage that kept me up at night, but the screams coming from the gun- secured Middle Earth area in my living room, where my lovely husband was fighting his personal war against international players and referees. I tried to buy that psychic Octopus on e-bay. It would have made a nice Christmas present for Bernie, so that he knows by Friday night, if his team is winning and if it is worth to get up that early on a Saturday morning. And if the Octopus loses his magic, we can have him with soup for dinner. Or we could use him as a soap holder or automatic massage machine with a hand-made brush at each arm in the shower.
My 49. Birthday passed by – very quietly. This year I haven’t invited anybody and I had no stress preapring a big party. Instead I took the opportunity to wash my car and clean up the garage. And the day before my birthday I made a “Kaese-Sahne-Torte” for myself (just like my Mum used to make it 20 years ago). I enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and added a few pounds to my hips.
When I went to the bank to change my credit card, I was reminded to use the points that I have collected over the years and I didn’t know anything about. When I found out that I you can use the points in an electronic store, I (with my caring nature) choose a new flatscreen tv to make my lovely husband happy and to have a reason to open up the Middle Earth zone in my living room for other family members. First creature to notice the new TV was big black fat cat Mimi. As usual she jumped on top of it, just to find out (still flying), that there was actually no space anymore for her 8.5 kg womanly body to land on.
Since we haven’t had any vacation in the past years, I had booked one before last Christmas (2009) to surprise my lovely husband and my even lovelier son under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately and because of Christmas and school holidays related stress, I forgot all about it and I recovered the internet booking voucher during a clean-up session of my office drawers. Luckily the booking was for the weekend 26/27. March 2010 and therefore still valid when I found it a few days earlier. For nearly 10 years Henry tried to convince his boring parents to go camping and at the time of booking, I thought a weekend in an original Indian Tipi-tent would be the perfect alternative solution. Alright- booked long ago – then forgotten – then re-discovered, I made the very quick decision: We are going! (even though the financial situation didn’t scream: holidays!). And we went. A booking is a booking! Raglan, a tiny little village on the west coast, 50km from Hamilton just takes three hours by car.
One woman – one decision! Henry was very excited, Bernie was more concerned about the missed Soccer game on Saturday and if his soccer team will have any chance to win without him, and I was stressed with packing. Finally we loaded everything in my old car and off we went, heading down South.
Straight after passing the City of Auckland we had a “Smoko” break for Bernie in a little village, where I will definitely not stop on our way back home and hopefully never have a car break down in that area. But we went on, enjoyed the wonderful scenery, green hills, millions of sheep, inhaled toxic exhausts from the trucks in front of us and finally we reached the hills and bushes, where our Indian Tipi was hidden.
Unfortunately during internet booking they forgot to mention, that you could only reach the Tipi by feet and that is was around 1 km away from the reception and the parking place, where you had to leave your car. But real Indians are tough and therefore we started our walk in rather un-suitable shoes. We climbed up the hills, down the hills, over rocks, stumbled over roots, went through the mud and all the way trying to pull or push our suitcases on wheels, boxes with food, clothing for any weather condition, Henry’s toy collection, his bicycle, my books and of course my art supplies. If we wouldn’t have passed a wooden sign, I thought we were lost in the bush by then. But no – we were still on track and with a final push and the last breath, we reached a flat green area on a hill, where our Tipi was hidden.
Positively surprised about the freshly made beds inside and the not working Solar lamp, what was the complete interior of the tent, I fell on the bed and tried to breathe for half an hour. Henry was very happy and Bernie lighted his first peace pipe.
Everything looked very romantic. There were some other Tipis, but there was enough distance to have your privacy. In the middle of it all we found a rustic, open bush kitchen. And the organic toilet tract a la Friedensreich Hundertwasser was where all the flies circled. That reminded me of the wooden toilet hut we had in our garden in 1965, when my parents lived with three little children, no money and for historical reasons hated by the neighbours in a totally run-down house in a tiny little village in Belgium. And we had to clean our bums with carefully ripped newspaper squares. One of those cold winter evenings on the wooden plank toilet in Belgium I made the decision to do something with my life, so that I would never ever have to freeze my backside on such a “toilet”. And here we are: 45 years later, and I am paying $200 for the experience!
But even the shower with ice cold water can be romantic, if you keep an open mind and if you only stay from Friday till Sunday.
Bernie spent the rest of the day to secure world peace by smoking lots of peace pipes, I was a bit worried, how to survive, once it starts raining and Henry collected stones, sticks and built a BMX race course for his bike, which started at the Eco-toilets and went all the way down to our Tipi entrance. Like real Indians!
In the evening and during cooking and eating under the stars we met some other Indians, which came from all sorts of countries and who were used to not have a shower every day and travel the world just with a backpack and for practical reasons wear dreadlocks on their heads. That makes you think again if you really need all these civilization goods you spent your money on over the years. I am sure, that not one of the fellow Indians had sleepless nights, thinking how to pay their mortgage. Our fellow Indians also didn’t have to pay for their Tipis and the Eco toilet, because they were volunteers and helped building rustic huts from empty wine bottles, straw and mud, so that these city Indians (like us) have the opportunity to test living a “wild life”.
Maybe we should sell everything and free like a bird travel the world with backpacks and glued hair.
Everybody was really nice. We had lots of fresh air and some wine (to support the wine bottle and mud building industry) and life under the stars made us very tired (especially the older Indians like Bernie and me) and my lovely husband didn’t muck around, he lied down on his bed and a minute later he was in dreamland.
But to have at least one guardian keeping an eye on the tribe and even though I was extremely, tired, too I tried to talk Henry out of going on a nightly hunt with hand-made spears and on his bicycle. Henry is a tough boy and the fresh air energizes him even more, so that his first glimpse of tiredness came not before midnight.
Then everything went quick. Two Indians were snoring and I was lying on my bed in the darkness listening to every noise in the bush until I realized, that the Tipi had an 8cm wide gap around the entire floor and I started wondering what kind of wild animal can squeeze through this gap.
New Zealand is famous for its wildlife and the possums (a mixture between cat and gen-manipulated Guinea Pig with a funny nose, brown round button eyes and claws like a Koala bear). That was the official description of my adventurous husband, who is the only one in the family, who came eye to eye with one of these monsters, when we lived in a farmhouse in Dairy Flat. Bernie and the little monster looked at each other in the basement of the house one night and then both ran off screaming in opposite directions. Anyway – at night possums come alive and try to find something to eat. How could I dare to just for one second close my eyes and fall asleep, thinking that a wild, hungry beast runs around our tent and tries to eat my lovely husband and son for dinner?
Hah! Pocahontas was on a mission. No wild beast would ever get one leg in our Indian Tipi alive. In my mind, I saw us having BBQ Possum leg for breakfast. Then my “happy-end” got harshly interrupted by nasty Mosquitos, giant Wetas and other creepers and crawlers. In the meantime the snoring went on and on from the large and the small Indian bed and I felt like a sole survivor in the Amazon. As more you think about the danger (if it is pitch dark and the only solar light is on strike), as more your imagination gets carried away with the things, that could actually happen.
What can I say? At the first glimpse of light entered the open top of our Tipi (so that you can see the stars while waiting for predators), I was totally exhausted, but also relieved to have saved the survival of my tribe. And while having an ice cold morning shower in the windy 100% natural wood construction and feeling very constipated, I came to the conclusion again, that I am rather a city girl than an alternative back- to-nature-Indian tribe woman. I prefer my comfortable porcelain toilet than doing my business behind a men-eating bush under the sparkling night sky.
During the second night (and more constipated and heavy like a sack of potato) I couldn’t care less, if a wild Grizzly bear would have eaten my lovely husband and son. By then I was so exhausted and tired, that I just gave up saving my tribe. Even when I woke up the next morning to find a giant Weta crawling along my leg under the sheets, I didn’t mind. Just a short scream and that was it!
Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Hot air balloon Festival in Hamilton, as my husband Winnitou isn’t so much into cultural happenings. And on top of it he declared the whole three days as a non-driving weekend for him. Because of chronic tiredness and declining eye sight I decided then, not to drive in the darkness either and that way I again ensured the survival of our Indian tribe and also saved some possums from sudden death on the road.
I am sure, Henry will remember our Indian life-style in the bush forever and I was very happy to sit on my own un-ecological and not bio-degradable toilet, on which you just flush the water instead of throwing small tree chips in there. You really forget sometimes how lucky you are to have hot water, whenever you want it. And my lovely Winnitou-husband found the weekend very relaxing!