ONEMONTHonemonthonemonthonemonthonemonth one month from today I will be in America. Oh man.
I'm going to Ireland in a week. Oh man.
I came to an important realization this weekend. It is thus:
Camping is the great equalizer.
Seriously. 10 of us went camping in north Bohemia, at a place called česky Raj, which means "Bohemian Paradise". Bohemian yes, paradise...maybe.
It started off like any normal camping trip: we got a group together and bussed out about an hour and a half from Prague. We bought groceries at the Billa in Turnov, the closest town to our camp. Most grocery lists consisted of "chocolate, beans, cookies, bread, pomegranate water, wine, apples." So maybe this should have been our first indication of unpreparedness...
We took a tiny, slow-moving train to Bohemian Paradise for the low low cost of 78 kc for 10 people. Yep, 8 kc per person. Not even $.50. We walked to our campsite, got all checked in, and found our teepees. We did, in fact, stay in teepees. And I'm not sure what comes into your mind when I say "teepees", but these were legit. And the campsite said each teepee had 6 beds in them, so we were all thinking like camping cots or just a soft pallet on the ground or something. But when we pried open the flaps of our teepee, inside were wooden pallets. Like, wooden packing crates.
We all cracked up. Now we KNEW we were unprepared: none of the guys had brought blankets or pillows, and only 4 of us girls had. So we were 4 blankets and 2 pillows among 10 people. That was awesome, and really great planning on our part. This even would have been okay, except that it started raining at about 10:30 and we had to leave our campfire behind and go to the cold cold teepee and huddle for warmth. We pushed all our crate-beds together and slept like sardines under 4 blankets with wet jackets for pillows. And ate crackers and Smurf-shaped marshmallows all night long.
But honestly, it was one of the best experiences of my life. And why I say camping is an equalizer: as we sat around the fire, I had flashbacks to Colorado, almost exactly a year ago, when we huddled in "Hotel Brush" and ate chili and cookies and watermelon mixed with dust and generally ended up loving each other a lot more. The same thing happened in Bohemian Paradise, and that was great. Plus, the scenery was the "paradise" part. It was breathtakingly gorgeous - huge sandstone rock formations, forests of pine trees with sunlight trickling down to the ground, moss on every possible surface, and that incredible foresty smell that is like nothing else.
The morning after our ridiculous crate-bed night, Sarah, Allie and I ended up sleeping in this little kitchen area, passed out with our heads on our arms on picnic tables. It was so warm in there, and there were no bugs, and no crate-beds - three things which made it better than the teepee. I'm sure we got some strange looks. Then we moved our little party to the Czech version of a beach, which basically consists of a large, muddy pond with a few tons of imported sand and a volleyball net. We slept there a little bit, too. Aren't land-locked countries just precious?
It was a really good time. I wouldn't change any part of it. Now I have to go to bed - we're watching the sun rise on our last Wednesday in Prague tomorrow. Sad face.