By Marc Algernon. As we drove off I looked at the sad faces of my kids and smiled. No more Dora, no more cable TV, no more tablets, in short, no more technology. For the next four days we would be sleeping underneath the stars camping.
Now let me introduce you to my family so we won’t be strangers anymore.
My loving and patient wife Isha, my first born and heir to my throne, my son Marques 11, my three daughters Hannah nine, Janae eight and Zuri two. Lastly, my niece and nephew Ayoki, six, and King, four.
The car was packed to capacity. The trunk, bursting with camping gear and supplies. We had a thousand snack stops and a million bathroom breaks.
The drive took three hours instead of two. We drove all the way up to Matura, my wife’s hometown. We stopped by her grandmother, Hilda. Her house was always warm and welcoming. Here is where we filled up all the water we would need. I also had the help of Isha’s cousin, Bryan. He was a jack of all trades and always willing to help out.
We took some time to construct our camping tent
Bryan and I left the family to construct the camp site. We chose a really nice spot on a beach called Orosco well known for its turtles, but what a terrible road! We set up camp close to the majestic river of Orosco. The sea was very rough but we had no intention of bathing in the sea, not with a river like that so close by.
We took some time to construct our camping tent which was enclosed. In this we packed all the clothes and camping supplies. Then, in front of this was a canopy tent. This housed our crude kitchen, a sitting area and a changing room. The rest of our supplies and coolers and food went under there. We enclosed the sides with coconut leaves which we cut and stuck in the sand. It was a beautiful camp site if I may say so myself. My kids were going to love it. We then made a three stone fireplace and collected a large stack of firewood. I could charge admission to this place.
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We jumped in the car to go pick up the patrons, mi familia. They made pelau while we were gone. We left Bryan and Hilda after many handshakes and goodbyes and we took off down that bumpy, terrible road.
Orosco had many other families camping but the beach was so huge that nobody was close enough to cramp the other. My kids screamed their approval as they entered the campsite. My wife even gave me the “well done” hug.
It was already dark by the time we settled into our campsite and I had the pleasure of lighting our huge bonfire, without the use of pitch oil. The kids all sat around the fire and sang songs and ate snacks, complaining about the fact that we forgot to buy marshmallows.
While camping there was no sleeping in late
One by one they slumbered off to bed, much earlier than I expected. They cozied down in their sleeping bags and drifted off to their sweet dreams of adventures yet to come. Isha and I had the grown-up lime next as we toasted a glass of wine, or maybe a bottle. Thus ended our first night camping in the majestic Orosco.
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The next morning there was no sleeping in late as it seemed the kids were up with the crack of dawn. They didn’t want to waste any more precious time of their vacation sleeping when there was a whole world waiting beyond the zipper of our tent.
Since there were six kids, I split them up into teams of two and gave each team a chore while we prepared breakfast. One team had to gather more firewood, another to wash all the wares from dinner.
After breakfast we packed a large basket with food and snacks. We picked up the cooler filled with juices and set off down the beautiful white sand on our way to the river. While we walked we found that the beach was littered with colours of blue, purple and pink -jellyfish.
The river lived up to the rumours about it. It was fantastic. The kids had brought along the inflatable beds, balls, jackets and even a giant inflatable stingray that no one seemed to be able to climb on as it just capsized itself over and over in the water, un-mounting its rider.
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Oh did those kids have fun! They played many games that brought back many memories from my childhood. So much so that I actually joined them in a game of “sharkie” which I’m sure needs no explanation. The river was just so perfect for kids. There were so many nice shallow areas, with cool, clear, fresh water. Or you could crawl up on the sand and build yourself a mighty sandcastle.
Diving and swimming, swimming and playing as the hours slipped away. At dusk we picked up all the garbage and placed them in a garbage bag we had brought with us. We packed all the wet clothes in the now empty cooler and the deflated inflatables.
We crawled slowly back to camp and prepared dinner as night would soon be upon us. I made some “geera neck”. The bonfire was big and they all sat around the fire recounting the events of the day. One by one they fell asleep and had to be carried into the tent. When the last one fell asleep I checked my watch – 8.30 pm - this had to be a record.
The last thing Marques said to me before he went to bed was “Daddy, you know what the best thing about today was?”
“What was it, Marques?”
“We get to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day. Best vacation ever, Dad.” He gave me a hug and slumbered off.
April 2015 – Issue 15 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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