TRAVEL STORY: TENT ESCAPADE
I’d been camping in Byron Bay about a week with my good ole tent that had already sheltered me for several years all over Asia. I’d pitched it near the top of three volcanic mountains in Java, on numerous beaches in Thailand and Malaysia, amidst the Himalaya mountains in Nepal and at various outdoor trance parties in Japan. Jamie, an American rock climbing pal at Tonsai Beach, Thailand, had donated it to me after my tent’s zipper had broken. Several weeks earlier Jamie had upgraded to a jungle bungalow, leaving his tent standing vacant on the beach. Jamie had decorated it with comical drawings including a cartoon-y muscle man and a spider web. By Byron Bay days, the well-worn tent also sported several stitched and taped repairs I’d done over the years as the fabric had gradually decayed in SE Asia’s humid tropical climate. We had a history that tent and I.
|cycling on my trusty bike|
One day in Byron I returned ‘home’ mid afternoon following an invigorating bike ride. At my tent I discovered several Japanese boys hanging out. hmmm… As I approached they jumped up asking, “Is this your tent?” then proceeded apologizing profusely. “Oh, I’m really sorry. I’m so sorry…” Eh? Puzzled, I walked around my tent where I beheld a shocking sight: the entire side of the tent was ripped wide open. WOW. What happened?
The guys proceeded to explain. One of them had been practicing handstands against a tree near my tent. Suddenly he’d found himself INSIDE the tent. He had slipped and fallen… right IN. Too amazing. Well! I was too stunned for words, standing there mouth agape, eyes bulging. Oh, my home.
They’d made up an amusing tale about the disaster while waiting for the tent’s owner to return. According to their theory, the cartoon-y muscle man had ‘lured’ that poor boy inside or had challenged him to a duel. Great imaginations. Funny shit. Despite the humorous fantasy they all felt really bad.
Of course now I needed a place to stay. Not to worry: one of them had already cleaned up a spare tent for me to borrow. They were also fully prepared to buy me a new tent. Wow. As usual the Japanese proved to be exceedingly responsible, honorable and polite.
|camping with a new tent!|
Coincidentally I’d been looking for a new tent at Byron’s outdoor stores that very day. Despite its sentimental value my trusty tent was nearly UN-usable with its plethora of rips, stitches and patches. I felt guilty letting the boys buy a BRAND NEW tent to replace that wreck. So I offered them a deal. I’d buy a new tent; we’d each pay half. They were immensely happy- a great bargain from their perspective. And so I acquired a brand new spacious tent, at half price, just when I’d needed one.
(* photo of Cape Byron sign courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons / eguidetravel )