Sunday, 12 January 2014

Tent City

Central City Camping Park here in Invercargill, is a very popular camp ground especially with cycling tourists & in particular German cycling tourists. Every day brings a new wave of  people watching & entertainment for us as some depart & others arrive to find a spot to put up their tent. Our van is right beside the tent area and when there's too many for one side the overflow moves to our other side in the spot that we had when we first arrived.


We have felt very sorry for some of the tents & their occupants especially when the weather has been lousy, which has been more often than not for the last three weeks. The rain has been torrential some nights and the wind horizontal but still they arrive some looking like drowned rats. I guess they have no other options when they're working to an itinerary. It certainly isn't my idea of fun, lying on a very thin foam mattress inside a very small tent where you have to bend double to move about or in fact in some, only able to crawl. And then having to contend with the constant rain & wind and the occasional single digit overnight temperature. If it was me I'd blow the budget & stop in one of the cabins overnight.
 
The late afternoon sunshine dries out tents & people
The couple below decided to have a lay in while their fly-tent (the outer case) dried out, the two guys in the green tent at the back were here for quite a few days, one of them had very bad toothache and had to wait for a dentist to open after the holiday break. There could be nothing worse than being ill, living in a tent through a wet & miserable few days. They had their fly tent stretched to it's maximum to keep the rain out.
 
"Please- no naughty business outside our front door!"
Along with young couples, groups of two or three young guys & a few older couples on cycles there have been a few single middle aged men on motorbikes & in cars holidaying in tents too, these two enjoyed a few drinks on the table near our window.


The couple in the yellow & grey tent above had a few problems with the airbed their first night. It was unceremoniously hauled out of the tent in the morning and dumped in the rubbish. Later that day they arrived back to camp with a large box & a new air bed which was pumped up by foot pump outside the tent.....wrong move, they couldn't then fit it through the tent flap, it was so large. Some air was let out and it was squashed inside and re-pumped up again. This time it took up all the floor space & more, the lower sides of the tent disappeared underneath the mattress and it looked like an overblown odd shaped balloon when they picked up the whole thing to position it. Still, going by the squeals of delight emanating from the tent that night they were obviously pleased with their purchase!

Two French couples arrived in this car with so much gear which they then proceeded to spread far & wide while they discussed where they were going to set up camp. This spot looks great but it's right underneath the trees and when it rains the drops are huge! I think they were in for a sleepless night.

 
And rather than spread more of their gear out in the kitchen & dinning area they decided to take over the one table which they shifted close to their tents & our slide out. I don't think they quite realised how much we can see through our dark tinted windows.
 
 
This young German couple, and by young they looked in their late teens although I'm sure they were not, it's just us getting older, set up their tent and then knocked on our door to see if David had any tools. They had a broken fan belt, I wondered why I had earlier seen him carting engine facia and surrounds into their tent. They had actually slid off the road and hit a bank earlier in the day. Once again (Mt Maunganui was another time) David was able to help out with repairs, we've also had people asking for help with tent pegs, change for the laundry and we offered storage for hiking packs underneath our van when the rain has been torrential.


I felt the sorriest for this couple, they had the smallest tent of any I've seen. Virtually an oversized sleeping bag with strings attached. And they were here when the rain was at it's hardest and for a few days. They had no fly tent so their single layer was a sodden mess, they had a bit of plastic at one stage but that kept getting blown off & then they purchased a tarpaulin which stayed on a little longer but wasn't ideal. While they were away during the day, David kept having to weight it down with blocks of wood to keep it in place.

This is how you emerge from a tent without getting your socks wet......



And then you sit on a plastic bag to keep from getting your bum wet while you text home...."get me out of this God forsaken wet & miserable place!" This is the couple who had their packs under our van (they were on foot), initially they had them in the tent & then found out there was no room for themselves!


The sun was shining on this morning (but not for long) when these two couples loaded up their two tents, bedding, groceries, two large suitcases and themselves into this tiny wee shopping basket of a car and drove off. I wonder if they realised how winding & steep some of the roads are in NZ when they bought the car, probably sight unseen, from some unscrupulous person who just might have said "Sure, no problems, it goes like a dream" (around town). I bet they had to double their driving time after a day or two.


So as you can see we've had our fair share of entertainment while we've been sitting out the bad weather, plenty to keep us amused as we watch the daily highs & lows of camp life. Then there are the camp regulars but that's a whole nother story......

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