Not Exactly a McDonald’s Happy Meal

September 15, 2008 in Austria, Europe, Travelogue

Family Travel, Austria

Ever since switching campgrounds I’ve been fighting my attitude.

  • Maybe it was the ridiculous mountain we had to push over that deflated my spirits.
  • Maybe it is the difficulty in procuring laundry tokens and washer availability at this campground.
  • Maybe it is the cold, wet weather that has descended on the valley.
  • Maybe it is the chain smoking kid who plays THE MOST irritating techno-music snippets on his cell phone at full volume non-stop and is inevitably in the kitchen area… which is the only dry place to be.
  • Maybe it is that he stole our dinner… and our breakfast.
  • Maybe it’s a blend of the above.

The great irritation of the last 12 hours has definitely been the theft of our food. It is very un-camper-like to steal another traveler’s food. Especially on a Sunday when everyone knows that the stores are closed and there is no possibility of getting more. Especially when you KNOW very well that the food belongs to the only children in the whole campground. It wasn’t until we actually went to the kitchen to cook up our taco salad fixin’s that we discovered that there was a ‘hamburgler’ about. (We ‘grimaced.’) We had our suspicions about the culprits, but how do you prove it with only a few left overs in the fridge and no greasy fingers to identify? This morning our suspicions were confirmed, after discovering our eggs for breakfast (french toast) were also gone.

How did we positively ID the thief? He sauntered in, put OUR eggs down on the edge of the stove and started cooking. He had the audacity to ask for OUR flipper and OUR fork to eat OUR eggs with. I had not had my tea. This tested my patience. Gabe saw that this fellow was on precarious ground with his insufficiently caffeinated mother and looked worried for the kid. I didn’t kill him, but I didn’t smile at him either. I just cooked slowly so he’d have to wait a while for the pan.

The last twenty four hours hasn’t been all bad.

We had quite an entertaining card party in our tent last night. The guests: three folks from Maryland who are backpacking five months across the continent. They were worth the price of admission alone.

It was like having a sit-com right there in our tent.

The cast:

Danny, the newly divorced, ex-marketing director who’d grown his long beard on the trip just because he could.

Amanda, the insurance adjuster who moonlights as a bar tender and has an infectious laugh and just the right spontaneous spirit it takes to take off walking with two male friends and still have a sense of humor about having to sleep in the middle five months later.

And, last but not least, Joe-Dan, the exotic dancer. I’ll tell ya, nothing brings the “So who are you and what do you do,” openers to a screeching halt like busting out the line: “I’m an exotic dancer!” and just letting it hang in the air.

We’ve met a lot of folks and had all manner of friends and strangers in our home, but this was first. “Well! That’s an interesting job!” I faltered… trying hard not to think too much about the implications. “Yes, actually it is. I meet a lot of people!” I’ll bet.

The card game was fun. We taught them to play “Five Crowns” (we now have a chance at winning, since we sent Megan home!) and they seemed to enjoy it.

Conversation centered around what we would all do when we “got back.” Only seventeen days away for them.

Amanda: “I don’t want to go back to insurance, I think I’d rather bar tend… but I might have to so I can make some quick money… I’m trying not to think about it!”

Danny: “I don’t know… I’ve got this long range plan to start my own business, but I’ll need to take some part time job to get that off the ground… I don’t want to go back to marketing.”

Joe-Dan: With a cat that got the canary look on his face: “I might go back to dancing. The money is good. I meet lots of girls.”

Again, the conversation screeches to a halt. Being who I am, I’m working REALLY hard to keep a straight face and NOT ask the fifteen obvious (and totally inappropriate) questions that come to mind. Tony can see my struggle and is thoroughly enjoying it. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and hope for a second round of cards and conversation before we head our separate ways on Monday morning.

This morning finds me waiting for a free washer, once again.

I gave up and hand washed all of the warmy duds last night so that the kids would be as toasty as possible today. Tony and the boys are on a “man run” to the grocery store, via bus. A huge novelty for the kids. Hannah is sitting here with me, watching the rain, oblivious to the fact that at any moment a green van is going to appear in the parking lot and the Adams children will pile out and the screaming and hugging will begin. Regardless of the weather, their presence will bring full sun and the great warmth of friendship to the day.