Day 4 was Cinque Terre –
During my time in Italy, I was allowed the travel privilege of touring through Cinque Terre on three separate occasions. Each time was completely incredible; the last time so much so that I will post a separate entry on that. Traveling to 5Town (as my friend nate called it) was a pretty funny headache with 5 tour buses and just as many 16 passenger vans carrying workers, leaders, program crew, and a mangy photographer. The shady looking town of Spezia is sort of the access point for the Cinque Terre region where you are able to purchase the colorful train ticket for any of the five towns. Thus, a posse of american army brats would swamp the stairs rising from the street to the train station in noisy revelrie. I’ve already mentioned Cinque in one post and will do so in another so I won’t bore you even further with what the average day was like.
And on the last day, we returned to the beach
New friends were made by this point and yet, somehow, it was already time to say goodbye. A long beach day (12-8pm) was the perfect ending to an active camp week and resulted in ample time to jump into the incredibly satly mediterranean, play volleyball against the undefeated leaders team, get some italian rays, scope some italian laydays, and taken in an overall good summer vibe. After some quiet time on the beach as the sun was setting the kids were surprised with an impromptu dance party in the parking lot where all the tour buses had formed a party ring complete with blinking hazard lights.
5:00 pm – 11:59 pm
After a raucous day of touring through italy, I would normally come back and either work, nap, or hang with hunter at the pool scoping laydays. In fact, there was quite a bit of pool time. A lot actually. I would take the reins on my nephew so my sister was allowed to exhale for an hour or so as we splashed about in the base pool. And we did this everyday about. I didn’t mind babysitting because I was still doing ‘something’ while in reality doing ‘nothing’ just lounging at the pool. Dinner was around 6:30 and was actually delicious and I ate huge portions everyday that made me feel blimpesque. I would normally sit with mary and peter, a couple from Texas that were traveling europe for three months or so. We would sit and snicker while making inappropriate jokes about getting a case of Chinks (nasty nether region rash) in 5Town while filling up on mostly mexican themed dinners. After dinner was club where the 300 youth would file into the adjourning non-ac gym that felt like one of the seven layers of hell. There was literally a wall of heat that you could feel after taking one step past any of the doorways leading to the gym. There were only so many photos you could take in a dark gym at 120 degrees celsius with kids sitting down, so most of the time, I sat outside and let the mosquitos feast on my chlorinated skin and watched some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
After club, campers would get a snack and be sent on their way for either tent-time, county fair (where campers were allowed to assault their leaders with shaving cream shot off their face with super soakers, whipped cream pies thrown right in the kisser, or a dunk tank), or some other misc. activities that I can’t recall any further. For a steady three to four days, a group of us had developed a mean egyptian-rat-screw tournament that resulted in bruised fingers and severe deep-gut laughter. Every time someone slapped on a fat pile of cards, my new friend Joseph would say in his texas drawl, “Big hand.. Huge hand.. That was a really big hand”. Laughter and tears ensued.
And then I would crawl back in the steamy arms of the 505 to rest my head for another night on a mattress filled with my own breath. Sometimes a few of us would stay up and be reckless but most of the time, italy had sapped us of any strength and sleep was welcomed. A happy, tired sleep like if you had just played outside with your friends all day, running through the sprinkler, playing soccer, eating ice cream, getting nailed by mosquitoes, eating bbq, and falling asleep with dried sweat on your forehead looking so forward to the next summer day where you would be able to do the exact same thing.