Here's the deal on camping: it's fun. Really.
But two nights would have to be my maximum.
When you go to a hotel, even if it's a dive, all you do is put down your bags and you're ready to go.
Not so with camping. There's alot more involved.
First you have to find a "good spot". [Not so easy when half the Israeli population is camping with you]. A good spot, in my limited experience would be one that is shady (and not just in the afternoon, as we discovered ours was. Oh well. Live and learn); not to far from where the car is parked; not to far from the bathrooms; not to close to the bathrooms, for fairly obvious reasons; and a place where you have nice neighbors who have lots of equipment [but that's totally luck].
Once you have found the spot, you leave a kid (preferably your own) there to "save" it; and the rest of you start dragging tents, sleeping bags, coolers, and various overpriced "necessities" that your husband concluded are must haves to the spot.
Then you have to pitch the tent. Orli and Isaac did this, with some help from Tali. Orli was kind of mad that she wasn't photographd working and that Tali seems to get all the credit in this picture, but here, on my blog, I am giving credit where it's due: Orli was the big tent-pitcher.
Once the tent is pitched, you have to shlep the air mattresses to the car, because you realize that you need to turn the car on to use the pump. Once you have the air mattresses blown up you need to listen to your kids ask why they don't get air mattresses and when you ignore them, you have to hear them mutter something about "old people" under their breath.
After all the equipment is organized, it's about 7 PM and everyone is starving. The master chef of the mangal, or barbeque, begins to do his thing and about 45 minutes later you sit down to an absolutely scrumptious meal that you didn't cook! Then you have to clean up after yourselves.
After that you have to decide whether you are going to use the showers that about 7,000 other people have used before you. (I voted no; everyone else did shower. I figured a nice swim in the morning would take care of any foul body odor emanating from me).
Then you go to sleep. So to speak. You listen to all the conversations around you. You watch your 12-old-daughter struggle as you are struggling to sleep and are thankful that she is awake at 3 AM to take a walk to the bathroom with you.
You "wake up" in the morning to the sun beating down on you and to the dawning realization that your spot isn't as good as you thought it was going to be.
Then you begin the day's activities. Breakfast takes place on a picnic bench in a river and is cold, courtesy of said river that you kept the milk and yogurt in. You go for that swim and then hike in another river and picnic and laugh and splash and push each other in. And laugh. You go for a ride to Metulla and look down on your country and wonder at the beauty of it and marvel at the people living a stone's throw from the enemy. You close your eyes and listen to the silence and you wish for peace.
And then you go back for more amazing barbeque and maybe a better night's sleep.
The next day, you do everything you did when you first arrived, only in reverse. And go for another hike in water and then rafting. And you laugh some more.
You marvel at your kids, how they are right there, working alongside you to get things done. How everything would have been much more work without them. At how much fun they can be.
And you look forward to the next time you can do this. It's so much better than a divey hotel.
But only for two nights. That's my maximum.
For more of Summer Stock Sunday, check out Robin at Around the Island.
Haveil Havalim is up at West Bank Mama's!