The closest thing to a house that Dirk and I currently own, is a green tent, and sadly is a quite crappy tent at that.
This is the story of our tent and why we still have it in our possession.
We bought the tent for USD30 at a store in Los Angeles in August. We had rented a car and were going to spend a week road tripping and camping from LA to Vegas and then back again. We figured that we’ll probably have to get rid of the tent when we fly from Los Angeles to Santiago in September, so we didn’t bother to buy a good quality tent. The tent ended up being a little less than what we expected. As you can see from the above picture, Dirk doesn’t even fit into the tent properly! The ventilation sucks, so at night the inside of the tent gets damp from condensation – if you touched the side of the tent, your hand gets wet!
Our road trip was incredible, we saw beautiful nature reserves, camped in Yosemite (https://chilchile.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/yosemite-burning-like-wildfire/), on the Grand Canyon North Rim (https://chilchile.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/grand-indeed-the-canyon/), at Lake Tahoe…if you ever go to the USA, make sure you travel through California; it is an incredible state! Camping in the USA is very affordable; it’s around USD25 per camp site. At the first camp site we got to share S’mores with an adorable American family!
When our trip came to an end in Los Angeles, we thought it would be easy to sell the tent at a second hand store on the way to the Airport, but alas, we didn’t come across any second hand stores on our last drive to the airport.
We even tried giving the tent away to a guy who was selling stuff next to the road…that just turned into an awkward conversation.
Me: “Hi, we’re leaving LA. Do you want a tent?”
Guy next to road: (with a blank expression on his face) “I don’t understand.”
Me: Repeats the question, slower and LOUDER. (This technique usually works when dealing with Americans.)
Guy next to road: “I don’t understand what you want.”
Dirk: “Kom ons ry net.”
Apparently it’s completely normal to walk up to strangers and ask if they want to buy drugs (people do it all the time), but if you go around trying to give away a totally legit tent, everybody acts as if you’re crazy!?
So, there we were, standing in the line to check in our bags, with the tent still in our possession. Do people get arrested for leaving packages on the airport? What were we supposed to do? We decided to just keep the tent with us until we had to go through the security gates. Some security guard will probably take the tent from us before we board the plane and then we’d be free. And so we found ourselves standing in line for the security check, still Dirk clutching the tent wrapped in the bag, together with the tent poles and pegs under his arm.
Much to our surprise, no alarms and flashing lights went off when the tent was passed through the scanner and we had to take it with us on the plane.
So, for the next time you travel, keep this in mind: any liquids, like shampoo and conditioner will be closely examined. You are only allowed to take a 100ml bottle of each liquid on board the plane. Heaven forbid that someone uses these liquids for harmful deeds, like washing the pilot’s hair! You will be served food that don’t require cutlery, because sharp objects like knives and forks can be used as stabbing objects.
But, hey, no one has a problem if you try to take a tent peg with you on a plane, in fact, bring fifteen, and an extra one for luck! No one cares!