Let me peacefully relate to you what an average day was like at CLUB BEYOND – BEACH BREAK 2008 so as to give you a better idea of my experience:
This was the time of day we’d call waking up, and oh lord, waking up is hard to do. Truthfully, I’m a pretty good morning person I just don’t really like waking up early. I can pop out of bed and start running laps around the military post if I had too but it’s not how I normally like to start my day.
My first strokes of consciousness would be that feeling where you think are somewhere else, perhaps in your bed at home or in a hotel room in some faraway land, and then the slow realization that I am laying on a blow up mattress on the dingy floor of the 505. I was able to make my room pretty dark by laying the tripod I had with me against the metal shutters. Thus, it felt like dusk all times of the day in my room unless I hit the ‘cubicle-standard’ flourescent lights that emitted an eery hum. I’d stumble into a pair of shorts and shoes before making the walk over to the Sea Pines Hotel room that my sister was living in. My nephew Hunter, would greet me at the door with either the sweetest hug ever or a kick to my bloody shins depending on his bi-polar mood shifts. My sweet and awesome sister would make me a cup of french press coffee every day. Coffee is a natural laxative so then you can figure out my next move…ment.
After a bagel or something, we’d walk over to the breakfast tent by the campers whereupon I would pilfer whatever the brekky foods happened to be that day. I also enjoyed going through the line with the campers and grabbing fistfuls of gogurt packets with them wondering who the hell i was exactly. And my God, gogurt is effing amazing. We had a surplus of the spongebob variety and I sucked down a couple Bubbly Blueberry Blasts every morning.
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Depending on the day, there was a multitude of activities that I would participate in and photograph.
The first day was the beach, which was a beautiful little slice of heaven right on the mediterranean. –
Five busloads and countless vans from the camp would dump 200-300 little darlings right on to the sand of the America Beach (rented by america from italy) and I would begin to snap random candids of the kidlets. The first week of camp (highschool) was pleasantly cloudy and fair-temperate allowing for some nice beach volleyball and cool evenings. The second week (middle school) had a blistering hot tuscan sun that was relentless in it’s power. I mean, I remember getting sunburned pretty bad as a kid but I saw some kids with huge pus-filled blisters on their shoulders that looked indescribably painful. The hotter week made the salty sea much more enjoyable though and I loved swimming far out and up and down the coast to get a feeling for the italian beaches. Again, the beautiful-woman ratio was staggering.
On the second day was a short road trip to Pisa & Lucca. –
Pisa, for anyone with even the most basic traveling knowledge is where that leaning tower resides. And that’s pretty much it, sort of. It is a beautiful area with two other magnificent buildings built right alongside the tower and surrounded by perfectly manicured grass. The downside is the huge influx of tourists and african vendors selling sunglasses and purses and anything else that breaks or falls apart 4 hours after you buy it. I’m sure that there is some adventure worth pursuing within the city streets of Pisa, as I experienced partially one night at midnight. A group of us went to downtown pisa for the Luminare Festival where the main river is filled with miniature boats containing a luminary and sent floating down the river. Unfortunately we missed the majority of the luminaries but arrived in time for a pretty spectacular fireworks display.
Lucca, on the other hand had countless streets to lose yourself in a very authentic italian setting.
On one of the days that I was there, a huge antiques market was taking place selling all sorts of crazy european old crap. And by ‘crazy european old crap’ I mean nazi memorabilia. Do you call that memorabilia? I mean I have baseball cards and bobbleheads that I would call memorabilia but do you call propaganda and vestments of an oppressive bygone regime that killed millions, ‘memorabilia’. It’s not like they’re selling Hitler Trading Cards and Eva Braun candy pills.
In Lucca, I also met one of the 63 future wives carrying a painting into an art studio. I guess it was her art studio because she unlocked the door. She had a decidedly american skater girl vibe (with a really large spiral tattoo on her shoulder) for being an italian art studio owner though. She let the group of kids I was with come in and take some pictures and then we exchanged a few garbled american/italian phrases back and forth while watching the kids go nuts in the studio. After a gracious few minutes, I got the kids out of there and waved goodbye to wife 26. This is totally unrelated but definitely worth mentioning; Luca had superb gelato.
And on the third day, He made the waterpark…
An hour or so away from Camp Darby existed a water park*. Water park’s tend to be something I don’t ever think about. Like, the last time I was at a water park was on my family’s one and only floridian vacation where we stopped at Busch Garden’s. I was ten. Now, I am twenty-five. And I guess you could say that not much has changed over the years because this waterpark was effing cool. After I did my mandatory photograph cataloguing of the surroundings and people running around getting wet, I shagged ass for the slides. One of them launched you at least 300 km/h over a hump, shedding water droplets from your skin and tears from your eyes before proceeding to knock the air out of you. It was great! Another one was a corkscrew that took me literally four and a half minutes to get down. I kept getting stuck like a fat kid in a crawl-space. And then there was the miraculous Slip n’ Slide Soccer. Wow. It was so frikking cool that you had to pay for it even though you already had to pay to get into the park to begin with! That’s how cool it was! (Seriously, it was.) A group of ten of us split the thirty EU price tag and jumped into the pit ready to slip and slide our way to sloccer sluccess. If there was any way that I could be even halfway diligent about getting my photos on the internet then you would be able to visualize what I am talking about. Instead, like good ambivalent song lyrics, you will have to visualize it yourself. Basically, it was just like 10 slipn-slides sewn together to make a field about the size of a volley ball court. Also, you had to wear a padded wrestler’s helmet and play with a ball that was a little lighter than average but everything else was pure chaos. You just bolted for the ball whenever it was near you before completely flying right pass the ball, unable to stop for the life of you before finally managing to slow down on one of the side barriers. Then, you would take an assured step forward only to go cheeks over cheeks and fall on the unpadded field bruising your internal organs or fracturing your pelvis. The game ended in a 7-7 tie. It was glorious. We walked off the field — gladiators in a coliseum made of slick plastic and soiled water.
*also, the wave pool sucked hilariously but this is already too long of an entry.
To be continued…