It was past 9 pm. Dark. Streets only lit up the flickering street lamps. They led the way as promised.
I was delighted by the music pulled along by bike trailers—seeing fellow cyclists help push the music up hills. The neon lights—some spinning amused me. Then there was the steady descent where I decided to race down—fast. The cold wind of the night was forgotten as I pumped down the hill, not caring how much I was weaving, drifting into the opposite lane. No brakes, no stopping.
“That was the best ride ever,” I declared as I pulled into civic center.
So in the morning, I decided that I wanted to do it again. But this time, not surrounded by packs…with the entire route lit up by sunlight and filled with standard traffic…it wasn’t the same.
The climbs was painful without the right pacing. The descent was interrupted by regular angry drivers.
The daylight took away the joyful mystery.
Camping? I have always said no.
Yet, last year I was the one who drove a trip to Macchu Picchu. Like any true traveler, I believed that I had to see it the right way—by doing the 4 day trek along the Inca Trail. My former roommate had described the trek as amazing, mind-blowing, incredible. So despite always hating the idea of camping, I was committed.
Granted, I knew what I was getting into. The discomfort. The potential of slowness. Anything was possible.
And it was exactly that. Although I would not admit it for weeks after the trip, I eventually did conclude after the entire trip that I simply did not like camping. Or maybe the outdoors.
The idea of even hiking
The idea of carrying anything during hiking
The idea of having to drink water during hiking
Bug bites. Many bug bites.
No possibility of clean toilets and showers
My constant habit of being the slowest one in the group
The payoff of seeing nature doesn’t do anything to me
The payoff of being with nature doesn’t do anything to me
Lack of great food (although this obviously doesn’t happen on the Inca Trail—the group had incredible chefs)
And probably more…
Nonetheless, I abhor the idea of car camping. To me, it’s not even camping. Why not just rent a cabin then? If I had to do camping, I would do it all the way. And yet, I would not do it. Period.
“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” he ended his goodbye.
Completely clueless, I responded, “Tomorrow?”
“Fireworks?” he hesitated and I saw his facial expression change. “Unless..you’re not coming?”
“Oh, I didn’t know that it was happening! I usually think things don’t happen unless I see it in print.”
“Ah, well happy fourth!” he quickly covered up his embarrassment.
I had a single goal in mind. Go to the restrooms. With a friend, we made our way following the signs. He and I saw the line to the women’s restrooms at the same time.
“I think that you’re better off going once the show starts,” he said and hopped down the stairs to the lovely pleasures of being male.
I sighed loudly, hopping foot to foot—trying to decide what to do.
Then suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. She was in her early 40s. Well-dressed, upper middle class…certainly one of the many that just consumed the overpriced wine without a single thought.
She said in a low voice, “Hey pregnant lady, come with me. There’s a secret entrance to the restroom. You don’t have to wait.”
I hesitated. I was not pregnant. Instead, I considered my options and stuttered, “Oh…okay…”
She read my hesitation as disbelief of her honesty. “No no, let me show you,” she led me toward the second set of stairs. “Just go that way and they won’t bother you. You couldn’t have known that there was a line on the other side. Go go.”
I was overcome with the need to desperately pee and said my thanks. Behind me, I could hear her male companion ask her what she was doing. She responded, “I am just helping her out.”
As I walked to the stairs, all I could think was…Did I get fat?
But I dismissed that thought and walked right in as a woman left a stall. I felt so much relief.