Come Camp With Me

Well, this Canadian lover of all things weather got treated to a few majestic meteorological events these last few weeks!

First, a water spout on the northern coast of Qatar, in Ras Laffan.

Water spout in Ras Laffan

Water spout in Ras Laffan

Then some thunderstorms that literally shook the city and paralyzed traffic. I didn't get pictures of the storm, but these were the remnants yesterday morning on the drive to school.

Rare sight in Doha

Rare sight in Doha

This would of course be the rainy week Smilin' Vic would decide we're going to start camping!

Not your everyday drive to school ...

Not your everyday drive to school ...

He's bought a second-hand tent of Saudi origin, apparently manufactured by the most renowned of Saudi Arabian tent manufacturers.

The "TENT"

The "TENT"

He is smitten by this tent, insisting that we MUST take it out for a night of desert camping SOON.  He's told me that this amazing canvas abode is of military quality, no small praise from a former military man.

I'm a little wary of the whole desert camping thing.  The last time we attempted it was about five years ago.  We left Kiddo behind with friends.  Thank goodness, because it was a challenging adventure to say the least.

We'd gone along on a sand duning adventure with some friends, making it to the inland sea to catch a glimpse of Saudi before retiring for the afternoon/evening at an idyllic-looking camp site set up with a half-dozen Arabian tents, a metallic shed cum toilet/shower room, and a volleyball net erected above a sandy court.

A meal was spread out in the main air-conditioned tent, and we feasted on bbq'd meats and Mediterranean salads right there on the beach under the light of the moon and stars.

It was wonderful.  

Until the sun went down and I had to pee.  

As I got up from my lounge chair on the beach, I took in the beauty of the moon reflecting a million tiny lights across the stretch of sand.  The sight took my breath away, particularly when I realized that the beautiful little diamond-like reflections surrounding us were in fact small jelly fish.

As I cautiously lowered my foot from the lounger, a bevy of teeny tiny little mice scattered ... we'd never noticed them congregating under the warmth of our chairs to catch the little bits of Doritos that didn't quite make it past our lips.

I hopscotched my way to the toilet eventually, trying to avoid the food tent which was now teeming with mice desperate to claim every last morsel of the meal that had been prepared for us but never cleared away.  

I don't think I slept that night; every time I came close to drifting off, the back of my eyes would be filled with an image of me rolling off the chair and plopping onto a hoard of toxic jelly fish before being carted off by the army of mice intent on chewing every last speck of Dorito from my tangled hair.

The sun rose at about 5:00 the next morning.  As I lay there parched and hot, grumpy and sweaty, I raved drunkenly about the amazing bed and shower that awaited me back home.

All the tour guides had been through to take their shower by the time I made it to the aluminum port-a-bathroom.  The tin shed was by now akin to a sweat box, and I couldn't fathom taking a hot shower in that humid, putrid little space.

Smilin' Vic, ever the soldier, went in with his bar of soap and towel, sloshing into that little steam vat fully prepared to shower like a real man.  He turned on the tinkling shower head, and proceeded to sling his towel over the wire strung from one end of the tiny shed to the other.  It might have served him well to realize beforehand that it was the very same wire attached to the barely glowing light bulb hidden in the corner over the toilet.  But he realized it soon enough, and duly electrocuted, made a quick exit and declared it was time to head home.

That curbed our appetite for desert camping for a few years; I thought for ever.  But Smilin' Vic has different plans now, and is intent on organizing a truly serious camping adventure.

I'm already picturing the military approach that will be taken to this endeavor.  All I have to do is flash back to last weekend's beach trip.  Coolers packed, shelter in the back of the SUV, water jug ready, singing songs and halfway to the beach, Smilin' Vic asks if everyone is ok.  "Yes" reply Kiddo and I.  "Did everyone pee?"  he asks.  "Yes", we chime in.  "Poo?", he probes.  Kiddo and I are silent.  He says, I kid you not: "Well, I'm stopping at the next gas station, and whoever hasn't poo'd is going to go then."

Kiddo starts laughing in the back seat.  "We can't just POOOOO; I know you're joking Papa."

Smilin' Vic is unfortunately not joking.  "This is serious, if someone gets to the beach and has to go, there's nowhere to go.  And if you don't poo in this heat, you can get sick."

I roll my eyes.  "Seriously?  You ARE joking, right?"

Smilin' Vic is adamant.  "We used to have to do poo patrol out in the field. Guys would get sick.  They wouldn't go for weeks.  You wouldn't believe how ugly things can get when you've got a whole bunch of backed-up soldiers."

I am silent.  I adopt my dejected "no argument is going to best him" stance.  "Smilin' Vic, I know you find this hard to believe, but pooing on command is very uncivilian.  The general public just isn't brought up that way.  But, please, if it makes you feel better, stop at the next gas station and we'll do our best.  And we can pick up a chocolate bar while we're at it."

We never did stop at the gas station, ended up having a wonderful day at the beach, and I'm sure the camping will be just as fun.  Once poo patrol has been ascertained, throat swabs completed, and hydration check carried out.  

Oh, and provided the mice, jelly fish and water spouts remain at bay.


Great day at the beach.

Great day at the beach.