December 28th, 2010 10:55am - Home for Birthday

My birthday spanned three countries and forty-eight hours. I flew from Cairns to Brisbane, Brisbane to Auckland, and Auckland to San Francisco. I was in the air for seventeen and a half hours. When I landed in Brisbane, I was tired. When I landed in Auckland, I was exhausted. When I landed in San Francisco at ten o'clock in the morning on my birthday, I was as useless as non-alcoholic beer.
My mom wanted to spend the day shopping. I wanted to spend the day in a horizontal position. The word comatose replayed in my brain. For two hours out of the six-hour timeframe my mom had delegated for splashing the cash, I forced my sister and mom to sit with me at Lefty O'Douls. They watched me drink beer and mumble delirious and sleep-deprived nonsense. At one point I talked about obtaining a pet alligator. In retrospect, they would make horrible pets. They're not soft.
My best friend Princess and I have the same birthday, and our moms had organized a birthday dinner for us at Bin 38.
As it was a few days before Christmas, San Francisco was as packed as Beijing. It took us forty-five minutes to get to the front of the line at the Union Square parking garage exit. When my mom reached for the parking ticket, she realized she didn't have it.
"Where's the ticket?" she asked.
"I don't know, you just had it."
"But where'd it go?" she continued.
"I don't know, you just had it!" I repeated.
Amid honks and profanities, we ransacked the car. Three minutes later, my mom sprinted to the payment booth in her heels. People behind us got out of their cars to yell at me. Those in the holiday spirit granted me the double middle finger. We sat in the idling car for nine minutes, never found the ticket, and were late to dinner.
Princess and the rest of our families had been at the restaurant for almost an hour and had eaten their way through appetizers and wine. I wanted to sit for two hours at the restaurant, and then I wanted to go to my girl E's apartment, shower, and sit some more on the couch with friends and Cali wine I hadn't seen in a year. I wanted it more than Christmas.
I sat down with a jet lagged sigh. The food portions were enough to satisfy a gerbil. I had been there for two minutes before Princess suggested we go to Bar None.
I was more likely to experiment with anal beads than go to a bar.
"But I'm going to Bar None to meet up with a guy I'm kind of seeing, and you have to come! We're leaving in fifteen minutes," Princess insisted.
"Um. No. That sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. That's the last thing I want to do."
"But you love Bar None."
"I loved Bar None my junior year of college. Why in the world would you think I want to go there now? I don't want to go to a bar at all."
"Please go to Bar None, it'll be fun! Two of your friends are there."
"Two of my friends are there? Which ones? Why would my friends go to Bar None? We haven't hung out there in three years."
"E and Fi-Town."
"I want to go to their house and shower and then sit on the couch and drink a bottle of wine! And you told them to go to Bar None? I can't even go to their place now? You told my friends to go to a bar? That's the last place in the world I want to go. I've been in three countries in the past forty-eight hours, and on four flights. I'd rather run home to Santa Rosa than go to a bar."
"Just for one drink? Please come out with us! Just for one drink!"
"Fuck no! I refuse to go."
Princess was insistent.
"I refuse to go to a bar just so you can be all over some guy. Two years ago, we lived together and on our birthday you didn't leave your goddamn room. I'm not going just so you can have a hook-up tonight."
Princess cried.
Then she called my friends, who were already at Bar None. I told them that I didn't want to go to some bar, and that I'd rather be around only the people I care about. They said I should just come out for one beer, and then we could go and sit on a couch.
I didn't want to go to any bar, and the dinner options were as appealing as the movie Flubber.
The only thing on the menu that was potentially a decent portion of food was the burger. I threw the menu down in disgust.
"Who the hell picked this place? They don't even have real-person portions."
Princess and our good friend from high school had decided upon the place.
"Please come just for one drink! There might be friends of yours who you haven't seen in awhile. Let's leave in five minutes."
"Nobody in their right mind would go to Bar None. I just want to shower and sit on a couch. Not watch you flirt with some guy you probably don't even care about."
Princess cried again. She told me that she had organized a surprise birthday party for me and we were supposed to have arrived there forty minutes ago. She was just trying to make me happy.

December 25th 2011 7:55pm - Gilligan's and Shaka Shaka Shaka

Last week I laid out on the beach at Surfer's Paradise with a few friends and a book. There is a hole in the ozone above Australia. I should have worn sunscreen.
The next week, my entire body was peeling. I was shedding skin like a snake. My skin got so burnt that it split and an open gash formed on my leg. My bottom lip produced growths that comprised of multiple sun blisters layered over each other. I clearly contracted a serious case of herpes from the sun.

I was going home for Christmas and my first flight, from Cairns to Brisbane, was at 6am. While I was in the tourist office arranging transportation, some guy glanced at me and then screamed that I looked like a gremlin. I don't know what a gremlin looks like, but people stared at my cracking and blistering skin. My lips were the size of a ball sack.
The kind souls in that tourist office booked me a shuttle for four in the morning. At three, I hadn't gone to sleep yet. I had thought it more important to pack and then watch while Manchester made friends with a vagabond on the street.
Manchester and I had been walking back from the corner store when we were approached by a homeless man. He didn't speak, but he motioned for food. I was intoxicated and more engrossed with pounding back water like a crazy camel lady than paying attention to the exchange. I was trying to sober up for my flight and water tasted fantastic. The liquid was crisp and cold. I was happier than if I had smoked pot. It was so good, I swear I could have been drinking God's saliva.
I took four sips and then Manchester castrated the water bottle from my hands and offered it to the derelict.
"What? Why?" I asked Manchester.
"Shaka Shaka Shaka," replied the hobo. And then he chugged the rest of the water bottle. I watched him gulp it down his trachea.
"The man's just thirsty and hungry," said Manchester. "He needs food."
"Shaka Shaka Shaka," said the transient.
We were on the street outside of Gilligan's Island, our badass backpackers accommodation. I looked at Manchester, at the hobo, and at the door.
"What's your name, man?" asked Manchester.
"Shaka Shaka Shaka."
"Your name's Shaka?"
"Shaka Shaka Shaka."
Some Aussies entering into Gilligan's screamed at us to leave him and come inside.
"It's okay, we're just talking to the man," yelled Manchester. "He's just hungry."
"Leave him, he's an Abo," they replied.
"He's a man," Manchester hollered, "and the reason he is this way is because of the British."
I stared at the man's eyes. They were bloodshot with yellow. I didn't know how that was possible, and I was just impressed.
Exhaustion was beginning to affect my brain functions, but we walked back to the corner store to buy Shaka some food. Manchester told him he could choose five dollars worth of food. Shaka threw an armload on the counter, and then went to the aisles for more. It amounted to thirty-two dollars.

A half hour later, I psuedo-sleepwalked down Gilligan's stairs with my bags. I returned the room key and put the ten dollar key deposit in my wallet. I then went outside and sat on the curb waiting for my shuttle. I sat half-comatose for an hour.
My senior year in high school, I received the most honorable of awards: Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Class. The next year, my brother got the award. We have skills. Sleeping skills. The shuttle that was supposed to come at four in the morning didn't come until five. When I stood up my right ass cheek stuck to the concrete. I'd been sitting in gum for an hour. It wasn't until the shuttle pulled away from the backpackers at 5:20am that I realized I had left my cell phone on the counter when I checked out.

December 24th 2010 9:50am - Dirty Head

Cairns is the Barbie of Australia. Barbie has everything. Cairns has everything.
Cairns boasts Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkling, sky diving, bungy jumping, horse riding, rainforest swimming, river rafting... and everything costs $250. Average. A bus trip up the coast to Cape Tribulation costs $150. For a bus trip.
I won a jelly wrestling contest in a bar and subsequently won a white water rafting trip valued at $250. In Peru, I paid $15 to white water raft. In India, I paid $8.
As a birthday present, my mom paid for me to dive the Great Barrier Reef. I couldn't afford anything else. No backpacker could.
Thus, Manchester, Ireland, Scotland and I wandered around Cairns doing things that were in our budget. We drank beer, ate McDonald's sundaes and tried on hats.
We strolled past a tourist shop with hat stands near the sidewalk. Scotland is a woman. She picked up and considered buying a pink Cairns hat. Manchester is a man. He elevated a bright pink hat that my grandma would wear to church. He placed the pink floppy hat on his head and rotated towards us with an angelic smile. A sweating man who worked at the shop bowled over to us and screamed, "Get your dirty head out of my hat."
I thought he was joking. I laughed. He turned on me.
"You wouldn't think it was so funny if someone didn't pay the ten dollars to buy the hat because there had been a dirty head in it," he shouted in my face. Some of his spit landed in my wide open mouth.
"Get your dirty head out of my hat," Shopkeeper shouted. His eyeballs looked like they wanted to inject us with tranquilizers.
Manchester was confused.
"I'm sorry," he replied, "but I don't think my head is dirty. I washed it this morning with Women's Grapefruit Body Wash."

December 17th 2010 9:43pm - A Toilet and a Plane Flight

When I woke up the morning after my going away BBQ, I felt fantastic. The world was glowing and my life was perfect. I was happy and warm. I was tingly. I was still drunk. That feeling rapidly abandoned me. When Boyfriend dropped me off at the airport to fly to Australia, a racquetball game was playing inside my stomach. I had started to sweat. Rum exuded out of my pores. My arms, legs, stomach, head, everything hurt. My toenails hurt. I felt like I'd been trampled by an elephant. My hangovers vary from slight stomach unease to bodily distress, akin to death.
When I'm hungover, consuming soda provides me with a false sense of functionality. I like to believe that the carbonation soothes my wreck of a body. It doesn't. I bought a bottle of 7-Up and then sat in the airport's waiting area with my head back, my eyes half-closed, and my limbs feeling like they had been attacked by a rabid dog. The airlines called everyone to board, I got in line, and when I extended my arm to hand over my ticket, I could feel my body rejecting the soda I had just swallowed. I screamed, "Oh God! Hold the plane," pivoted away from the line, and sprinted to the toilet.
Seven minutes later, nobody was in the line, and the airline attendants were waiting for me looking anxious. In a country with a population of four and a half million, they hold planes. My friend Rob Awesome was once standing outside the airport in Nelson smoking a cigarette when he received a call from Air New Zealand saying he had checked in but wasn't on board, and every passenger on the plane was waiting for him. He finished his cigarette and then got on the plane.

I had been assigned a middle seat in aisle four. The only toilet was in the back of the plane. I breathed shallowly and closed my eyes. The first time I asked a stewardess if I could go to the bathroom, she replied that the plane hadn't even left the ground. The fourth time I asked, she said that the fasten seatbelt light should turn off momentarily.
Forty-five minutes into the flight from Auckland to Brisbane, everyone knew my name. The first three times I got up to sprint to the bathroom in the back, the man sitting next to me in the aisle seat groaned. The fourth time he muttered, "For fuck's sake." In my subsequent sprint down the aisle, I shimmied around an old man and almost knocked a small child on his head. An hour and a half into the three hour flight, the stewardesses moved me to an aisle seat one row in front of the toilets. I had easy access and I was ecstatic.
During our descent, a steward asked me if I had vomited during the flight.
"Clearly," I replied.
"Once we land you're going to have to go through an extra interrogation before you're allowed to enter Australia."
"What?" I managed to utter. My eyes were closed. I had a second heartbeat in my head and the mental capacity of a file folder.
"Do you have any idea why you're vomiting?" Steward asked.
"I'm hungover as all hell." I stuck out my tongue. It was suffocating me.
Seven minutes later, the fasten seatbelt sign was on and I asked a stewardess if I could use the toilet.
"No, sorry, you have to stay in your seat. We're in our final descent."
"I'm going to puke on this seat."
The generous soul handed me seven barf bags.

December 14th 2010 8:00pm - Goddamn Cameras

In the past two years, I've hit up Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia. I had a camera in five of those countries. In March 2009, I left my camera on some rocks while looking at condors in the Colca del Canyon in southern Peru. In October 2009 in India, a monkey attacked my replacement camera. He assaulted it like my technological life was a female in heat. I never saw the camera again. Finally, my last night in New Zealand, I lost the camera I'd had for a year. Cameras document my life. I have adored every one of them as much as I will my future children.
My friends in Auckland threw a BBQ in my honor and, upon arrival, one of the boys taped my hands to a wine bottle. He initially endeavored to attach each of my hands to wine bottles, but as I've aged I've clearly become an alcohol prude. I have standards. Wine is meant to be sipped and relished. I wouldn't allow my pride at being a lady tarnished with a bottle of wine in each hand. That's just not classy. I finished the one bottle in a half hour.
Within a few hours, someone had vomited, someone had overflowed the toilet, and one of my friends had repeatedly announced, "I'm a good Christian girl. I don't do bad things. I'm a virgin. Sort of. No, I am a virgin. Sort of. I'm a good Christian girl." She had had a bottle of wine taped to her hands as well.
We relocated to the bars in the Viaduct. We ultimately ended up in the bar Provedore, also known as Provide-a-Whore. Provedore is the bar where I met Boyfriend.
Mistake #1: I took my camera out with me. I wanted to archive my last night in New Zealand. Mistake #2: I offered my camera to a stranger to take a photo. He took the photo and then backed away. I was absolutely ecstatic that, 1: I had commandeered a Santa hat and was still wearing it, and 2: that we were taking pictures on my last boozy night in Kiwiland. I never retrieved my camera from him.
The next morning, I realized that I didn't have my camera, and that good Christian girl sort of virgin gave head to a stranger in a bathroom stall.

December 12th 2010 10:23pm - Phone out Window

I had been without a phone for five days and I swear my brain was attempting to implode. My life was lost. Scraps of paper with notes ornamented my bookshelves, windowsills, and couch. I woke up one morning with a piece of paper in my hair. It had Boyfriend's number on it. Another morning when I flushed the toilet, my To-Do List went down the tank. That To-Do List had my Australia flight details on it. The list must have either been in my underwear or pants. I certainly hadn't intentionally thrown it into the toilet.
Skype became my most valuable asset. Without a phone, I didn't know if it was November or December. Though I commonly listed reading the sun as one of my countless talents on my resume, in reality I couldn't tell if it was dawn or two in the afternoon. To wake up in the morning, I set an alarm clock through the internet. Half of the time it worked. Or my laptop turned itself off.
I was ninety percent positive that I had been so lost trying to get to Boyfriend's Air Force Town Green extravaganza that I had soberly thrown my phone out the window and then soberly blacked out. It seemed like the most logical explanation.
I had called my phone multiple times over the past five days. I decided to harass it like a male nymphomaniac calling for some cooter. The fifth time I called, someone answered and then hung up. The seventh time, someone picked up, I screamed, "This is my phone!" and they hung up. The sixteenth time, a pubescent male voice answered, "Hello?"
"This is my phone!" I shouted with the gusto of a drunk Italian.
He told me his little brother had found my phone in the middle of the street. This made sense.
"You want to come by later tonight?" he asked.
I looked at my laptop. "Well, it's eight o'clock," I responded. "Is it possible to come by now?"
"You should come by much later."
Under normal circumstances, I would have classified him as a weirdo stalker teenager and hung up. But I was going to Australia in a few days and wanted my phone. After losing my sanity driving around lost for forty minutes, I located the street.
Linguist has also been listed among my resume plethora of specialties. I hadn't understood the crazy Kiwi accent when they gave me the address of the house, but I had heard an aggressive dog barking. I went to two wrong houses before I found the correct one.
When I got my phone back, the ninety dollars credit had been used up. Calls to Australia had been placed. He had charged a five dollar IOU on the phone. He had messaged someone, "Hey babaayyy, I want to cum cum cum cum cum cum cum cum." My brain sang the cum's into a tune.

December 9th 11:30pm 2011 - Bathroom at the Point

The five kids I babysat, their mom, and I went to Bastion Point in Auckland for the last dinner I would have with them. We had McDonald's and carrot cake. When the mom had asked me the day before what cake I would like, I said chocolate. She bought carrot cake because the nine-year-old was on a diet.
The five-year-old wandered in the street, the baby shoved french fries in his mouth, the nine and seven-year-olds futilely attempted to get their kite out of the tree, and I watched the three-year-old's facial expressions as he played with himself. After two minutes, I needed to pee.
"Hey baby, do you need to go to the toilet?" I asked.
"I not a baby, I a big boy. I have a baby," the three-year-old responded.
I wasn't about to destroy his delusions about having a child two years younger than himself, so I agreed with him, swung him onto my shoulders and carried him to the bathroom.
When I removed his hands from torturing my hair and set him down in the bathroom, he informed me, "I have to do big poos."
I covered the toilet seat with toilet paper and set the kid on it. Four minutes later he was still discussing the size of his impending excrement, I was still standing in his stall, and I had to pee. My bladder pain began afflicting my brain.
"Are you almost done?" I asked.
He grunted and repeated, "I have to do big poos."
I went into the next stall to pee. As I was sitting down, the three-year-old informed me, "You have to do poos."
"I don't have to do poos! I just have to pee," I replied.
"You have to do poos because I'm doing poos."
"Logical. But I think I might just pee."
"Kara, do you love me?"
"Of course I love you, but that doesn't mean I can force myself to do poos."
"Sometimes you have to squeeze it out. I'm squeezing it out now. I have a little bum. Not a lot of poos come out at one time."

December 5th 2010 9:30pm - Chief Warrant Officer

Babies have a better sense of direction than I do. They find their mom's nipples with acute accuracy. They smell milk boobs. I can't find North.
New Zealand's Air Force hosted an event called the Town Green at Auckland's AF Base. The Town Green supposedly had live music, cheap beer, and countless drunks. Boyfriend was in the Air Force and half an hour after I was supposed to meet him at Base, I was driving in varying circles in towns I never knew existed. When I called Boyfriend and read him street signs I was passing, he said I was twenty minutes away. It takes twenty minutes to drive from my house to the base. I had been driving for forty. I stopped at three gas stations, a produce cart, and a jewelry store to ask for directions.
After the jewelry store, I decided to call Boyfriend again with a status update. I couldn't find my phone. When I drive, I usually put it in between my legs. In my crotch. It wasn't there. I pulled over and ransacked the car, my purse, and my pockets. I plundered under the seats and raided the glove compartment. I came to the conclusion that I must have thrown my phone out the window while driving through a neighborhood trying to find the freeway.
I arrived at the base without a phone an hour and fifteen minutes after I had left.
When I walked up to the gate, I was greeted by nine officers, average age forty.
"Ticket please?" Steroids asked.
"Oh, I actually don't have a ticket. I mean, I have a ticket, but I don't have it. My boyfriend does," I replied.
"Is he here?"
"Yes, he's in the Air Force."
"Okay, you're going to have to call him so he can bring it out to you," Steroids continued.
"I actually somehow managed to lose my phone while driving here. I'm pretty sure it's on a street somewhere."
"Okay... what's his number? I'll call him and get him to come sign you in."
Boyfriend and I had been together for nine months. I didn't know his phone number.
"You don't know his phone number? We can't let you in the gate unless someone signs you in and takes responsibility for you." Steroids was now looking at me like I was injectable.
"Can't you look up his phone number in the system?" I asked.
All nine officers laughed at me. They asked what system I was talking about.
"I don't know, like something online that documents contact info for everyone in the Air Force," I said.
They laughed harder. I had temporarily forgotten that I was in New Zealand.
"Alright, where does he live?" Yoked Grandpa kindly asked.
"He used to live in a house a few minutes away, but he's lived back on Base for about a month now."
"Do you know what building he's in?"
I had visited Boyfriend a couple of times. I had no idea what building he lived in.
"Were you supposed to meet him somewhere?" Steroids asked.
"No, I was supposed to call him."
"So you don't have a phone, don't know your boyfriend's number, don't know what building he lives in, and don't know where he is," Steroids summed up my brain capacity and intellect.
Yoked Grandpa assured me we'd find him. I hopped in the white molester van and we drove around the barracks seeing if I recognized anything. I didn't. The road split, so I pointed left. We drove for four minutes before Yoked Grandpa conversationally asked me if I knew where my boyfriend's ancestors were from.
"He was born in Durban in South Africa, but beyond that, I just don't know."
"He's not Maori? He does not live over here then."
I had pointed us in the direction of the Maori barracks.
Ten minutes later, one of the seventeen identical buildings looked vaguely familiar to me. When we walked into the dorms, everything appeared recognizable. After wandering up and down the halls and asking if anyone had seen him, some chick pointed us to the next building over. After I harassed everyone I saw in that building asking if they knew Boyfriend, I found his room. I was elated when the door was unlocked. But Boyfriend wasn't there.
We got his phone number off a dude that was clearly trying not to slur his words in front of Yoked Grandpa.
After I got handed over to Boyfriend and the molester van drove away, Boyfriend exhaled his beer breath.
"How did you end up with The Man? What did you say to him? What did he say to you?" he asked. "Do you have any idea who that is?"
"Yoked Grandpa?" I asked.
"Kara, that's The Chief Warrant Officer. He's The Man here."
"Yoked Grandpa was nice," I said.

November 29th, 2010 7:30pm - Thanksgiving in NZ with Five Kids

Last Thanksgiving I was in India. One man told me that I was a whore because only whores wear one anklet instead of two. I had been wearing one anklet for two months. Hours later, another man cursed me with his sticks.
This year, I was determined to celebrate my favorite American holiday in New Zealand. My Thanksgiving was spent with the five children I babysat, and their grandma, who had been flown in for moral support while the parents were on vacation in Australia for a week.
After begging/harassing the grandma for an hour, she surrendered to my wily ways and made a pumpkin pie. In my twenty-four years of life, the most I've contributed to Thanksgiving dinner has been stuffing the already-made stuffing into the already-prepared turkey. Usually, I'm on clean-up. This comprises washing enough dishes to prepare food for an African village for a month.
Turkeys weren't being sold in the grocery stores in New Zealand. We made chicken. As we didn't have stuffing, I shoved mango slices into the breasts with my fists.
I prepared the plates with mashed potatoes, chicken, and vegetables. I was lighting candles and pouring myself wine when the grandma observed that someone would knock the candles over and the house would catch on fire. I put the candlesticks away and poured myself a bigger glass of wine.
I distributed the plates and washed child hands and sat down with a sigh at my Kiwi Thanksgiving dinner. I inhaled the pumpkin pie scents wafting out of the oven and sipped my Chardonnay, a small smile of satisfaction frolicking across my face. And then I heard the screaming. We had settled ourselves at the table without the three-year-old. He was outside in the backyard.
"I want to eat," he screamed, before all other words descended into incoherent crying.
"Oh no, we forgot about him! Poor kid, I'll grab him," I said and stood up.
"No. He has to learn. He'll come in when he's learned we're not going to react," the grandma replied.
"I'll just get him. I'll calm him down and we'll be inside in about ten seconds," I replied.
"No. He has to learn. Don't get him."
"But... it's Thanksgiving."
"He'll come in when he's ready."
He screamed. For twenty minutes.
During those twenty minutes, the nine-year-old described Age of Empires strategy. He listed the various characters and civilizations featured. He provided a full inventory of weaponry. I had stopped listening by the time he went into detail about the Abus Gun, culverin, indigenous ranged weapons, Rush military combinations, Janissaries, WV's and VC's. I played the martyr and acknowledged him. I felt like I had to, his parents were paying me. While the nine-year-old banged on about the age of Empires, the five-year-old screamed her refusal to eat meat.
"I am a vegan," she shrieked. "I don't want to eat baby chicken heads."
Instead of eating his food, the baby screeched, cried, and shook his head no. He was teething.
The seven-year-old had prepared a presentation on Thanksgiving. She had looked up the holiday online and printed out seven pages of articles. She stood in front of the table and read the articles. Word for word. No pictures adorned her poster. Just tiny little ten-point font.
When the three-year-old finally wandered into the kitchen sniveling, the baby was howling, the five-year-old was shrieking, the nine-year-old was detailing power and splash damage, and the seven-year-old shouted her Thanksgiving Day presentation over all of them.
Eight minutes later, the seven-year-old had been ordered to sit down and finish her dinner. The baby bawled like it had slammed it's hand into a drawer, so his sister dangled a carrot in front of it's face. Baby stopped crying. Grandma thought the seven-year-old was being disruptive and made her move to the end of the table. When the girl lowered herself to sit, she missed the chair and landed on the wood floor with a crack. Grandma removed her plate and refused to let her eat her dinner. I was just concerned for the kid's skull.

November 13th, 2010 11:08pm - Quotebook

* Three-year-old: "My big sister used to be a boy."

* Three-year-old: "Kara, do you love me?"
Me: "Of course I love you!"
Three-year-old: "Is it because I can do cool things? Or because I can tackle my big brother? I can make him cry like a baby."

* Five-year-old (to a friend's mom): "No, I can't have more than two marshmallows. I don't want to get diabetes."

* Three-year-old: "I was the winner!" I got craps in my hands!"
(Trying to say people clapped his hands for being the best tackler)

* Five-year-old: "I am NOT getting in the car. It stinks so bad. I'm not getting in."
Three-year-old: "I've been dreaming about the car."

* Me: "Oh no, you tripped over a rock and hit your chin?"
Five-year-old: "No, my chin hit a rock by itself."

* Three-year-old: "My foot is cold! My foot is cold!"
Me: "Your one foot?"
Three-year-old: "Yes, my one foot is cold."
(Crying five minutes later): "My foot is getting harder. I don't like my foot."

* Five-year-old: "Why do people have skin?"
Nine-year-old: "So nothing falls out."
Five-year-old: "You mean your intestines could fall out? Or like a bird?"

* Three-year-old: "There are no people outside. It must be raining."
(It wasn't raining)

* Five-year-old: "Look, the sky is cracked."

* Me: "Stop kissing my feet!"
Three-year-old: "Why?"
Me: "Because kissing feet is gross."
Three-year-old: "No, it's wonderful."

November 8th 2010 7:10pm - Left at a Birthday Party

This past Friday, the nine-year-old had his tenth birthday party. The boys met at the house before the mom took seven fifth graders go-karting. Within nine minutes, the screaming, sprinting mass of boys had successfully accomplished annihilation. Of everything. The five-year-old howled in a corner of the house because one of the boys had torn off her doll's head. I looked out the window to see the seven-year-old chasing after the fifth-graders shrieking and throwing rocks at them because they'd drawn in pen on the walls of the treehouse. Two of the boys were whimpering because they'd been attacked by two other boys who decided to be nine-year-old ninjas with nunchucks. I had seen one get conked on the head. Another boy foamed at the mouth with fury at being hit. I saw him wrestle a plastic sword from one of his friends before tearing past the window in pursuit of the ninjas. Another boy picked up a plastic child-size car to demonstrate his strength. When he threw it to further establish his prowess, it crashed into the concrete and one of the wheels dislodged. The five-year-old sank into sobbing hysterics because of the car wheel while still cradling her doll's decapitated head.
The three-year-old howled about his wet doodle. The baby cried because everyone within a twenty-foot radius of him was either bawling or running through the house rioting. The mom had tears in her eyes.
The mom had thought to meet at the house, feed the boys in ten minutes, and be out the door in fifteen. She managed to drive away fifteen minutes after they arrived. I walked through the house and yard holding Baby and trailed by the three, five, and seven-year-olds, all of whom sniveled or moaned their agony, two of whom sucked their thumbs.
We surveyed the wreckage. The mom had prepared an after-school snack for the boys of fruit salad, mini hot dogs, popcorn, cookies, and juice. The food had been impeccably presented on plastic colored plates and lined up on the table for quick consumption. Kiwi chunks were in the seven-year-old's hair. Smashed popcorn bits and cookies were ground into the sandbox and the concrete. Juice slid down the house windows. Dolls were missing limbs. We played Find the Dolly Parts around the yard and house. We never located one of the arms. Flashlights had been disassembled. A swing had been dismantled. Balls were over fences and up trees. A kite had been torn into three pieces. Someone had dug a coffin-sized hole in the middle of the grass. Someone else had turned on the hose and drowned the plants across one side of the house. The seven-year-old's Skip It had been used as a bunny leash and tied around Thumper's head.
I mollified the harassed younger siblings by giving them ice cream. I then put on a movie and texted the mom moral support.
By the time the posse of the antichrist returned, I had given the younger kids baths, put them in their pajamas, and subdued them into food comas. It was 6:30pm.
Five of the six child bombers' parents were at the house waiting to pick them up when the mom pulled up in her tank of a car. The thank-you's were said, the exchanges were done, and the pre-teen forces of destruction were gone. The family was going to their beach house for the weekend and wanted to leave immediately. The dad arrived and I helped them load up the car and strap in the kids. As the car backed out of the driveway, one of the birthday boy's friends walked out of the house and stood beside me.
"Your parents never came to pick you up?" I asked.
I ran after the car waving my arms in the air and screaming like a madwoman. When the car stopped, the window rolled down, and I explained there was still a kid left, the mom asked if I could just take him home, as she wanted to get to the beach house.
When I walked the friend up to his house, a babysitter opened the door. I explained that nobody had come to pick him up from the party.
"Weird," she said. "The parents are at a party, and I'm watching the other two kids. This is my first time babysitting. I didn't even know there was a third one."

November 3rd, 2010 11:04am - November 2011 Quote of the Month

Three-year-old: "I felt a secret dream. And I won't tell to nobody. Nobody can't find out because I don't remember it. Do you know it, Kara? Do you know my secret dream?"

November 2nd, 2011 10:27pm - Wet Doodle

By November, the three-year-old had been screaming and crying about his wet doodle for a week and a half. When his mom took him to the doctor, she was informed that his uncircumcised penis tip was too long and should probably be cut off. I had noticed for a few months that the skin hanging off the kid's wiener was exceptionally long. However, I'd never studied uncircumcised child penises. I thought it was normal.
I heard crying issuing from the bathroom, and realized that a little human sobbing in the toilet should probably be investigated. I entered to see the three-year-old with his pants and underwear pulled down. He was yanking on his willy like it was a stuffed doll he was trying to mutilate.
"I don't want a wet doodle," he screamed, tears exploding from his eyes.
"My doodle's wet, it's wet inside," he continued.
"Okay, okay, let's wash your hands and then go eat dinner," I attempted to soothe him.
He put his pecker-infested hands directly on my face.
Halfway through dinner, the three-year-old put his fork down and ruptured into tears.
"I have a wet doodle," he sobbed.
The five-year-old thoughtfully responded, "Luckily I don't have a wet doodle to worry about."
The mom and I were on our second glasses of wine. I nodded my consent, shrugged, and chugged my wine. I was glad I didn't have a doodle. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Those things operate independently of male bodies. They're like leprechaun aliens in the form of penises.
However, the mom answered her five-year-old daughter with, "You'll have a doodle to worry about some day."
I had to cover my mouth and nose with my hands so the wine in my mouth wouldn't attack all the children within a seven-foot radius of me.
The mom laughed. The five-year-old turned a bewildered face to me.
"Kara, do you have a doodle?" she asked.
"No, you know girls don't have doodles! You'll have a husband some day. Your mom's saying that you'll have to worry about his doodle."
The five-year-old pondered this for three seconds before replying: "I won't worry about his doodle. I'll smack it out the window."

October 21st, 2010 12:15am - Baby Terrorist

I love babies. Retract that sentence. I love the thought of babies. I take that sentence back too. I would love babies if they were dolls that smiled and giggled. Inanimate objects, preferably.
When I began babysitting for five children, the youngest was nine weeks old. He ate and slept and didn't move. I could bring my laptop into the house and watch porn. Nine months later, Baby was a terror.
Baby crawled, rotated, squirmed. He began stumbling around like a drunken midget. He ate dirt and swallowed sand. He put his fingers in the toilet and then sucked them. He toppled headfirst into the fence surrounding the pool. He would slam his fingers in drawers and scream until someone released him from the agony he caused himself. As a human entity, I assumed that Baby would learn. If you open a drawer, remove all the contents, and then fling the thing shut with your fingers still in the drawer, it will hurt. Baby never learned. Domestic turkeys comprehend objects and pain association more rapidly.
Baby's incessant motion required piercing intelligence from whoever changed his diaper. I changed his diaper frequently and would have to maintain the kid's amusement long enough to strip him, wipe him, and strap him into another diaper.
By early October, I would wrestle Baby to the floor and then hold a toy in front of his face with one of my hands while changing his diaper with the other hand. I would try not to deck him in the head with the toy, and it would hold his interest long enough to swap out diapers.
By late October, Baby would lose interest. Fast. I'd get him half naked and lying on the floor on his back, but in the second it took me to position the diaper under his ass, he'd roll over and crawl away. When he had a diaper full of urine, I'd wipe him down while he crawled. When he had a diaper full of excrement, I'd pin him to the ground, sing into his tiny little face, and work as rapidly as I could. Short of impeding his motion by strangling him, I did all I could.
The past few days, Baby had produced particularly liquid poops. I knew this. I knew I had to change his diaper with a speed that I wasn't sure was humanely possible. I undressed him with the urgency of a sex addict ho, unfastened his diaper, and stabilized his stomach with my hand.
Baby was freakishly strong, and wrassled out from under my grip. He turned over and crawled away from me like a baby on steroids. Though I was tempted, I couldn't give Baby a smackdown. Liquid shit leaked from the diaper on the wood floor, but Baby was headed for the carpet. I abandoned the diaper and boomed towards the infant ass. I got there just before fluid feces dripped onto the carpet. They trickled into my hand.

October 20th 9:14am - October 2010 Quote of the Month

Three-year-old (riding his bicycle in circles in the backyard and screaming): "Move my baby's car, move his big yellow car out!"
Me: "Okay, okay, stop yelling. I'll move it."
Three-year-old (furiously pedaling): "I'm training."
Me: "Training for what?"
Three-year-old: "Being a big boy."

October 16th 2010 7:20pm - Little Boy vs Man

Nothing good ever happens after two in the morning. Boyfriend and I drank a bottle of rum between nine at night and one thirty in the morning. By two, I was tired and drunk and laying spread-eagle on my bed. I wanted to sleep. Boyfriend wanted to go out. I fell asleep for two minutes. Boyfriend woke me up.
"Baby, your snoring sounds like you're cutting down a forest with a chainsaw," he said. "Let's go out."
I knew it was a bad idea, but I was drunk and accommodating. We called a cab. It was two in the morning. New Zealand taxi drivers don't wait out front for you for a few minutes. They don't call your cell phone to inform you that they've arrived. New Zealand cabbies ring the house bell incessantly until someone answers. When Boyfriend and I walked from my pool house, past the main house and to the street for the taxi driver, the mom of the kids I looked after was standing on the balcony of the main house. Waiting for us.
"Your cab driver's been ringing the bell for two whole minutes," she screamed like she was addressing a child rapist. The woman has five kids.
"Oh my God, I'm so so so sorry," I replied.
"It is not okay," she yelled back at me, before slamming the balcony door to her bedroom.
I was shithoused and I shrugged.
Boyfriend and I went to Provedor. We stumbled out three and a half hours later, at five-thirty in the morning. We went to Provedor because it was the bar where we met. He thought it would be romantic. I have since learned that all Aucklanders refer to that bar as Provide-a-Whore. Romantic.
It was a Saturday night, and/or Sunday morning, but regardless, Boyfriend spent the night. The three-year-old woke us up. The pool house is my pool house. Little children that I babysit for were not allowed in my domain. Boyfriend and I woke up to find the three-year-old staring at us.
"Hey Baby, what's going on?" my still-intoxicated self asked the three-year-old.
"You're naked," he responded. The kid's a genius.
"Ah, shit," I said, and regained enough consciousness to observe our situation. Boyfriend and I might as well have been nudists. We were naked and sleeping on my mattress. But my mattress wasn't on the bed stand. It was on the carpet.
I told the three-year-old the location of my chocolate stash downstairs, and without hesitation, fell into a semi-coma sleep.
Hours later, when I aroused myself enough to speak coherently and face daylight, I walked into the backyard. The first person I saw was the three-year-old.
He looked at me and asked, "Is Chris your friend still naked in your bed?"

October 14th 10:10pm - Luging in Queenstown

A few days later, the same three children and I went on Queenstown's luge. I had read the Skyline Luge website to ensure that, 1: the children wouldn't die, and 2: I wouldn't die. The website reads:
"From grandkids to grandparents - the Syline Luge is a fun filled gravity ride for all ages and abilities! Choose from two tracks, one scenic and gentle, the other advanced and adventurous. The scenic track is a leisurely ride with gentle gradient, easy bends and dips with several rest areas giving riders plenty of opportunity to stop and take great photographs and enjoy panoramic views... It's safe too. You're in full control!"*

This sounded fantastic. We wouldn't die, and I could take pictures.
We almost died.
The chairlift protected the children as effectively as a ten-inch butcher knife. I rode up the mountain with the three-year-old. I looked down at the forty-foot drop and out at the bar two feet from our bodies, supposedly strapping us in, and I clutched him to me. It was the only thing I could do. Two three-year-olds could have fit in the gap between the seat and the bar.
"I can't breathe," he managed to straggle out halfway up the mountain.
"Shhh, don't say anything," I said. "You might fall."
After we had bought our tickets and stood in line for ten minutes, we boarded the luges. The seven-year-old stepped into her luge and asked me if she could use the toilet after the ride.
"Of course you can," I said.
"Good, because the pee is dripping out," she replied.
"The pee is dripping out?" I repeated. I was just confused. The amount of time between a child's brain revealing that it has need of a toilet, and when the excretions actually come astonishes me.
I pulled the kid out of the luge. When I asked one of the workers where the bathrooms were, he said they were at the bottom of the run. We used the toilet in the staff quarters.
Luges in New Zealand comprise a big piece of plastic functioning as a sled, wheels underneath, and handlebars like a bicycle. Upon pulling the handlebars back towards you, the sled goes. When you release the handlebars, they push down the front of the sled and stop movement. It would have been simple, except that I luged with a three-year-old lunatic. From the beginning, he grabbed the handlebars and assumed control.
"I a crazy driver," he screamed as we accelerated out of the launching point.
"Yes, but you're not driving," I yelled. "I'm driving!"
"I a craaaazzyyyy driver!" he replied, grabbed the handles, and swung them back and from side to side. The luge flew down the track and switched directions faster than a rabid dog. I couldn't see anything but blurred colors. I seized the handles, steadied them from the psychotic swinging, and released them a little, so the luge would slow down.
"I driving," the three-year-old cried.
"I know, and you're doing great, but I need to help," I said. "We can drive together."
The unhinged child clutched the handles, yanked them back, and shouted, "I a craaaaazzzzyyy driver!"
"Oh my God!" I shrieked as we hurtled down the hill and crashed into the rubber-lined track. I gripped the handle in one hand and the child in the other.
"I'm driving!" I said with the authority of someone concerned for the safety of life.
The three-year-old nodded, seemingly accepting that I was the driver. Then he snatched the handles again like a little thief and turned us into the downward slope of the hill. Down we went. I screamed the roar of fatalistic terror while the three-year-old repeated, "I a craaazzzy driver!"
At one point a luge ahead of us swayed back and forth across the track in graceful, languid loops. We hurtled directly for it. As I wrestled against three-year-old strength to steer away from the ninety-year-old woman, we collided, the three-year-old shot forward and almost went head-first into the cement. I threw my arm around his waist and screamed, "Oh my God!" again.
I apologized excessively while the three-year-old smiled as wide as he could. When I sensed that he was about to clap his hands out of glee, I placed my left hand over his but continued saying sorry and looking at grandma. We finally made it to the bottom, my arms and throat aching, my heart pounding palpitations in my ears.
"Time to go back to the house," I exclaimed.
"We have one more ticket!" the kids reminded me and scampered off to the chairlift again. Luging was as appealing as a man's hairy, bearded back. I had to ride with the despot again.

* The link for Queenstown's luging site:
The sentence, "It's safe too," is highlighted in red on the website.

October 9th, 2010 7:05pm - It Smells Pretty

Three of the kids I babysit and I went on a hike a half hour outside of Queenstown, New Zealand. They had wanted to go to the movies. I had been in Australia for over two weeks and hadn't run in a month. I took them on a hike.
New Zealanders refer to hiking as tramping. The first time I heard the term, I had initiated the conversation by saying I wanted to go on an adventure. One of my friends suggested tramping. I assumed he meant we should wander the streets looking for skanky whores. When I hesitated, he insisted we go tramping.
"Really? I was thinking along the lines of kayaking or something," I had said.
"It's sort of the same concept. Let's go tramping," he replied.
"Oh fine, let's go find you a hooker."
"In the trees?" he asked.
Hiking around a half hour outside of Queenstown, we ended up at a golf course. I taught the girls how to make daisy chains. The three-year-old wandered around looking for golf balls. We were on our second daisy chain when I noticed the little boy cupping something in his hands. He seemed to shelter and protect whatever he held. I thought it might be a baby bird. As I walked over to him, he looked up and smiled.
"It smells pretty," he said.
He held black dog shit in his hands. I screamed.
Ten minutes later, the seven-year-old announced that she had to pee. I've learned that when little kids say they have to pee, they generally are already peeing. Little kids are like needy toys. You just have to carry around two spare pairs of underwear and three containers of baby wipes. Per child. When the girl said she had to pee, I snatched one of her hands and dragged her into the bushes. With her other hand, she grabbed her crotch and shook her head. It was my daily moment for feeling exactly like a pedophile.
When we were two steps in, I stopped hauling her and tried to take off her pants.
"No, not here, we're not far enough away from people," she said.
For being seven, the girl has an unfounded sense of propriety. When I looked around, the only people I saw were her younger brother and sister. They don't count. The three of them straddle each other in the bath, but the seven-year-old was too modest to pull down her pants on the off-chance they might glimpse her coochie.
"Please!" she exclaimed.
I towed her around the other side of a tree. As I helped her pull her pants down, a massive horse-stream of urine gushed onto her underwear, her pants, and my hand.

October 8th, 2010 10:45am - Little Nipples

I've never been concerned with the size of my boobs. Men have bigger knockers than I do. Ten-year-old girls have more pronounced bazongas. If I had juicy juicy mangoes, I'd accidentally hit them. I'd trip over them. I'd run them into walls. My mom's offered me breast implants because she wants me to be happy and confident.

If I had hooters, all of my shirts would be slutty and inappropriate, and I guarantee that within two years, the silicone would rupture, deflate, or explode. I'd get hit directly in the milk wagon by a baseball, a goat would jump on me, or I'd run into a tree attempting to snowboard. I've repeatedly replied no thanks to the fake ta ta's. It wouldn't be a good investment. They just wouldn't last long.

While my mom and I frequently discuss my fun bag deficiency, we have never reviewed my nipples. We were in Queenstown, and my mom asked me to rub lotion into her upper back. As I smoothed the cream between her shoulder blades, she turned around and placed her hands on my shoulders.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Sorry for what?"

"I think you have little nipples, and you probably got them from me. I'm sorry. My mom had such beautiful large ones."

October 6th, 2010 12:37pm - Queenstown, Mom, Bar, Boys

I stayed in Sydney at a friends' place on Bondi Beach for almost a week. It was fantastic. Except that when my mom and her friend arrived in Australia to meet up with me at the end of the week, I was in the process of shedding my fourth layer of skin. Like a snake. From now on, I'm restricting myself to traveling through countries that have an ozone layer.
My mom and her friend are babes. Twice men referred to my mom as my sister. And they weren't trying to flatter or be funny or clever. They were serious. Both times, while in stores wandering around, I raised my head to locate her, and was told by employees, "If you're looking for your sister, she's over there." My mom wasn't even in earshot.
My mom, her friend, and I ambled through the
QVB, Sydney's Queen Victoria Building. I left them for three minutes to find a bathroom. When I returned, they had moved. Fifteen minutes, two phone calls and a text later, my mom said that they'd gone out for a coffee. They were at a pub three blocks away. The pub didn't serve coffee.
When my mom and I cruised on over to
Queenstown, New Zealand, we wanted to hit up the bars. A few nights ago, we went to the Ballarat Trading Company. The lighting was dim and the atmosphere old school. There was a piano, guns and animal heads on the walls, and framed black-and-white photos everywhere. The country of New Zealand does not have bears. Regardless of the fact that the Trading Co. boasted a stuffed bear standing up, there were maybe six people in the bar.
My mom and I sat on stools at the bar sipping on our second glasses of Chardonnay when two guys in their late twenties staggered in. Each one's weight supported the other as they wobbled through the doors. They were wrecked and it was awesome. They each had handfuls of cash. They stammered next to us at the bar, threw their bills into a pile on the bar's counter, and then emptied their pockets of money. Fives, tens, and twenties blasted from their bodies.
Whadday wanta drink?"
"Chardonnay, thanks!" my mom exclaimed.
We danced. I don't just mean me and one of the guys. I mean, one of the guys started swaying, my mom mistook it for dancing and began dancing. The other drunkard smiled and almost fell over. I joined in because I felt awkward.
The guys rocked out. They sang, they laughed, they screamed. They amused me. After they paid for four drinks for us, I announced that it was my round. The guys wanted whiskey, my mom and I wanted wine. I turned around to the bar and ordered two whiskeys and two glasses of wine. The bartender asked if the whiskeys were for the guys.
"Yes," I replied.

"They're cut off from the bar. I'm really sorry, but I can't serve them. You can't get them drinks."
"Awesome, saves me money!" I said and turned back around with the two wine glasses. The guys were gone.
"What happened?" I asked my mom. "Did you scare them off?"
I was joking, but my mom replied, "maybe..."
She had lectured them and verbally abused them for allowing a girl to pay.
"I never ever ever pay," she had said to them. "I'm a girl, and girls don't pay. You never make girls pay. What kind of men are you? Seriously, what kind of men are you that you make girls pay? Do you have balls?"
They ran away. I attempted to explain the concept that after taking advantage of guys and their drinks, it's only polite to reciprocate. Girls should buy one round after the guy has paid for two or three. My mom had none of it.
"Girls never pay," she repeated.

September 29th 7:04pm - September 2010 Quote of the Month

Three-year-old (screaming/crying): "My doodle's wet. I don't like wet doodles."
Three-year-old (continuing to cry): "My doodle's fat! My doodle's fat!"
Me: "Your doodle's fat?"
Three-year-old: "Yes, right here, (points to balls) right here it's fat."
Me: "Oh, baby, that's where you'll get balls."
Three-year-old (stops crying): "Bouncy balls? Do they bounce, Kara?"

September 26th, 2010 11:32pm - Sydney and Regurgitation

I rarely pride myself on my story-telling skills. My oral skills are lacking. At best they're average. However, I was in Sydney and had been staying for a few days with some Sydneyites I'd traveled with in India. The previous day we had guzzled alcohol for fourteen hours on Manly Beach. And I don't just mean cheap beer. I'm talking cheap boxed wine (goon), rum, whiskey, and beer.
There is no ozone layer above Australia and the sun was blazing like a joint. We were on the sand the entire day. Drinking booze for, again, take note, fourteen hours.
The following morning I was still raging drunk and rolling with a story. I had woken up, realized that I hadn't consumed water in twenty-seven hours, and downed half a carton of orange juice out of a glass big enough for a cyclops. An hour later, one of my friends barbecued breakfast while I lay on my stomach on a towel in the park. I felt amazing. The two Sydneyites I had traveled with through India, a brother, and seven of their friends surrounded me, captivated by my powers of speech. My words held them.
They nodded along like bobbleheads to my every syllable. They laughed before I said the funny parts. I was a story-telling god.
I recounted July 4th a few months prior. There were Jello shots out of brownie tins, keg stands without legs being held, phones found in microwaves, friends screaming because they forgot their mortars while being assured by others who had remembered theirs, and people kissing an AK-47 before pretending to shoot it by aiming at the house.
There were people who played Circle of Death for hours. They woke up the next morning having never heard of the game. I was in the midst of telling about my four male friends who decided upon playing strip flip cup. Losing team had to be naked. One of the naked guys placed the unlit end of a lit sparkler in his ass. He chicken-danced around the yard with it. I opened my mouth to say that he had removed it from his own ass and shoved the lit end into our friend's naked asshole.
But, I never got to tell that part of the story. I opened my lips, and then a massive liquid bomb exploded from my mouth. There was no warning. I was spiraling a spectacular story, and then orange juice projectile vomited from my mouth. I wasn't even feeling hungover.
"He took the sparkler," and then, boom, spit and orange juice blasted from me. One minute I was a story-telling lord, and the next I was a crazy bitch who had just thrown a liquid volcano out of her mouth. There was a moment of silence, like in church, and then everyone sank, laughing in hysterics.
"What was that?"
"I just met you. Who are you?"
"How was that possible?"
"What was that?"
"Who are you?" repeated twenty-three times from the seven people I was meeting for the first time. I lost the story-teller masterhood. I still felt fantastic. I was just confused by my body.
When stomach muscles had recovered and everyone had eaten breakfast, we played cricket.
Twice when I ran to retrieve the ball, enormous liquid cannons shot from my mouth like a freaking demolition team. Once, the juices projectile vomited from me and landed on the ball.

September 21st, 2010 6:00pm - Solscape and a Storm

Before I went to Australia, the boyfriend wanted to stay at an oasis on the beach for five days. We would kayak, fish, swim, surf, and ride bikes. Raglan, New Zealand's most notorious beach town, claims the longest left-hand break in the world.
The last time I took a surfing class was six years ago in Hawaii. My surfboard collided with the instructor's head, he crawled out of the ocean, and someone had to replace him. I wanted another surfing lesson. In Raglan. We hadn't anticipated that one of the largest storms in the world would still be raging on New Zealand.
The boyfriend drove us through wind, rain, and hail. I have 20/400 vision. I can hardly drive in the sun. In preparation for the trip, Boyfriend took it on himself to book our accommodation.
Our conversation a week prior:
Him: "I'm going to get us an awesome place to stay right on the beach. In a hut or something. On the beach!"
I was skeptical. I'd been backpacking through seven countries for a year and a half. I knew how to locate decent hostels.
Me: "Are you sure? I'm looking online now and I really don't mind booking it."
Him: "I just found the perfect place. On the sand. We can stumble out onto the beach. Boom!"
Me: "Oh sweet, what place is it? I love stumbling out onto the beach!"
Him: "I'm not going to tell you, it's a surprise. I'm a genius. We're staying on a beach!"
He sung the last part. Over the next week he spoke of how excited he was. He praised his powers of discovery.
The place was called Solscape. It was not on a beach.
Raindrops assaulted the car's windshield as we drove up a hill, a ten minute drive away from the sand. Wind smacked my hair into my eyes as we got out.
"What is this place?" I asked.
It looked like a crazy commune cult. Midget burnt red and puke green cabooses dotted the grass. We were expected to sleep in them. I saw one bathroom.
"The website said eco friendly... I thought it was on the beach," he replied, looking around confused.
"Did it say it was on the beach?" I asked.
"No... but there was a picture of a beach on the website."
"Was there a caboose on the beach?"
"No... but there was a picture of sand!"
"There was one picture of one random beach to show the surrounding area and you take that to mean the hostel is on the beach?" I persisted.
"False advertising!" he exclaimed.
We had a bottle of rum for the night. We stayed at Solscape the one night. A small bed took over ninety percent of our caboose. There weren't electrical outlets. After drinking rum by ourselves while sitting on the bed, he started to get claustrophobic and I started to get depressed.
The cabooses surrounded a large wooden circular communal kitchen, so we went there with the remainder of our bottle. In a short time, we altered the quiet lull of eco friendly conversation into a yelling, rum-chugging drinking game of Pyramid. I ran back to the caboose for my laptop so I could play party music instead of the nature sounds softly projecting a tranquil atmosphere. We gave away shots and made friends.
The next morning, we relocated to my hostel of choice, Raglan Backpackers. When we checked out of Solscape, the receptionist apologized for the noise the night before.
"I'm so sorry," she said. "This is a peaceful place to rest and meditate on life's journey. I sincerely hope you're not leaving because of the noise. It's never been that loud here before. Ever."
"Um. No, family emergency," I responded.
Raglan Backpackers offered hammocks, free bike rental, a hot tub, sauna, golf and surf lessons, kayaks, and fishing rods. I was ecstatic to do everything. I did nothing. It stormed the entire time.