Day One ~ Most Kiwi Gurukuli’s, some Australian & one Swedish Kuli (good things come in small packages) arrived in groups, expressing exuberant yet “who are you, do I really have to sleep in the same room with you” Hellos, before a madcap dash around the camp to choose Bunk Rooms (we had the non-snoring room – very strict yet practical entry requirements!). A Soccer game, Pasta dinner, cards all night, & ‘Nitchy’s Speech’, before bed - Everyone TOGETHER!
Day Two ~ Trip to the “Secret Waterhole” - *not secret any longer*.
Highly intricate tactical maneuvers were implemented for crossing the raging
rivers & finding the right trail… never fear, we’re here; yeah right!
Baby Arjuna was passed from person to person across the stream, being very
brave, while his Mum & Dad watched nervously. Through the tunnel
to the Waterhole with only a few torches between us, glow worms, falls,
yells, screams and laughter. I feel duty bound to put down on paper,
once and for all, that Govinda saved the day by bringing his torch and
walking near me, though, (and you’d agree I’m sure) cool Kiwi’s that we
are, I really hardly needed it. Nope.
Finally we reached the waterhole – very deep & in places, fast water, but so fresh. Courageous dives & bombs off the high rock face were successfully attempted & accomplished, before we swam upstream to discover the cave under the waterfall… a fairly small natural hollow under the rocks. Shana was the adventure guide, pulling the others under the fall and into the cave (With the little red & black worms!)… And the resulting bruises ? Swimming back downstream through the rapids was tops… though perhaps just a few more bruises were discovered after that, but only a few. Yep.
A late, but oh so delicious lunch of soggy sandwiches (ever found that?) was devoured, before we all traversed back through the tunnel, the river and then Home.
Around the campfire, thinking-games materialized ~ Lalita and India were tied together for the rope puzzle (it took them a while), while Rani looked on in despair. More riddles and games around the campfire, and a Welcome to the latest Kuli’s.
Day Three ~ Early morning wake-up call *crawled out of bed* for
‘The Pinnacles’ Mission! Although all were duly notified, only 7
of us made it up… c’mon guys, we’ll get you next time! The cool morning
air was very welcome as we were puffing and sweating our way up the Billygoat/Pinnacles
tramp… all three hours of it… all of it UP! (No photos are allowed when
faces look like that – it’s not natural!)
Gaura loved the swing bridges, Nama found a muscle (surprise, surprise, I found a few!) and Gadadhar looked like he was strolling down Queen St in his long black trousers & long sleeve shirt, while the rest of us struggled up behind in the least amount of clothes possible! (Yeah ok, you can have photos of that)
Finally, we made it to the top – awesome views of coast, sea, country & hills to savor, while we ate our lunch… soggy but yummy sandwiches again.
While we were taking nice no-sweat photos to prove our successful climb (see camp pictures if you want!) a small plane flew over us, saw us waving, and came back for a salute & wave to us at the top of The Pinnacles.... a fantastic challenge & day. And best of all: the COOL swim in the waterhole afterward! ? The other Kuli’s went for a small bush walk (half an hour; now is that fair?) & met us for a swim afterward.
Day Four ~ All were having a wonderful sleep, until we had an
urgent wake-up call ~ Mukunda Maharaja had arrived, but EARLY, we forgot
that most Swami’s get up for Mangals… what is that again? Quick showers
& breakfast cooking, before a sweet kirtan in front of our Gaura Nitai
Deities & picture of Srila Prabhupada.
Some went for a trip to the Thames Saturday Markets…. AND the Chocolate Shop ?, while the rest talked with Mukunda Maharaja… it was very nice to see him & the camp felt complete.
We wandered around the markets in ‘Thames time’ (very slow) mode; meeting groups of Kuli’s everywhere we went. “Eh He Le” (Oh Hello for all those who don’t get it – must be said in posh accent) was introduced by Krsnendu… the ridiculous greeting is still hanging around!
Back to the camp for an Ekadasi Lunch - *Delicious Prasadam again* before, ever so Slightly bloated, we set off down the River on our Tyre tubes, aptly named with great originality, things like: “Bob the Builder”, “Macbeth”, “In-A-Tube” etc. (Nitchy’s was “In-A-Tube”… see me for copyright!) Even though the river was low (being high summer) and rocks were like Titanic icebergs everywhere, communication, Captaining & rescuing skills were a fine art for us (we’ll take a Nobel anytime, see Nitchy or Shana), and we managed to float down… though ever so slowly. The bunched convoy soon spread out till it was in danger of enemy attack! Nandu’s “Red” came under fire from a submarine in the rapids and he was promptly in the water. A rescue attempt was made and he was soon floating to safety… (Memo to you – Nobel!) Pita & Mum were on the frontline picking up all the survivors. All were safe! Potatoes on the fire for dinner & Soccer afterward (Shana got hit on the head) HAPPY ?
Day Five ~ Family Day. Parents & friends arrive all
morning *I love my Mummy!*
Rasamrta cooked our favourite “curd, pea & potato red subji” ~ it was devoured with gusto, & Mother Bhadra sponsored a huge & beautifully iced “Kiwi Gurukuli Reunion 2001” Cake ~ also devoured with gusto! (There was more for lunch, but you get the picture right?)
After lunch, everyone joined the convoy to Hoffman’s Pool & daring jumping feats were attempted. (By the boys; the girls were too smart). India actually jumped today (having tried unsuccessfully on a few occasions) yelling “Indiiiaaa” all the way down… I’m not sure that he tried it again however ?
We drove back to the camp for a raging kirtan (The Holy Names are nectar)& Volleyball Championship. We learnt that it doesn’t matter how many people are on your team; you still need more! Shana organized funny family games, which gave us hilarious views of blindfolded people mooing, barking, meowing & crowing around the field. Warm bonding times with the Human Knot, followed by a soccer game (Shana was hit on the head again).
Day Six ~ We are off to the Beach ~ Cathedral Cove followed by
Hotwater Beach. The boys wrestled on the sand, the girls judged the
competitions, sunbathed & we all swam in the gorgeous blue sea, interrupted
by LUNCH ~ somehow we always seem to be eating, but we were starving! The
walk back to the cars made us so hot we needed another swim, so it was
with relief that we arrived at the next beach. Hotwater Beach was
a funny game of cricket on the sand & more food ~ delicious hot samosas,
corn & Gulabs!!! Mainly Japa Mala (with some help from Nandu, India
& the rest of us) consumed approx 600 of them ~ He didn’t try swimming
for a while afterward ?
We had to wait till 12.00 am for the low tide, when we dug a large hole in the sand, allowed the hot water to bubble up and then tried to soak in the boiling hot water. Some found “hot spots” and had to make lightning dashes to the cold surf water for a dip, before diving back into the hot water, while others had colds spots, or some found a large quantity of sand in their bathers! The whole day was great fun. A long tired drive back to the camp, but bed was lovely.
Day Seven ~ A blissful sleep-in until the central fan came on…
well, you could say that we woke up quickly after that. We spent
a lazy day talking, resting & lying around in the sun until… da, da,
da, dum… “The Water Fight”!
Shana (our games organizer extraordinaire) had filled up a couple hundred water balloons, but they were soon popped, so, it quickly progressed into an all-out-free-for-all. Crazed people ran around with hoarded water balloons, pots, cups, kettles & anything else they could find, with the sole purpose of wetting each other ~ I don’t really understand why! ? It would have to be one of the top highlights of the camp, though some sleepy & previously dry people might not agree. Just let it be known that the girls won the fight anyway!
After all were dry & comfortable, the face paints came out & fantastic creations appeared on peoples’ faces and bodies. (See the camp pictures if you don’t believe us)
Then the entire mob trouped into Thames (the nearest town) to see the movie ‘Saving Grace’ – Very Good! There were quite possibly more people in the movie theatre than Thames has ever seen ? A late dinner followed by the Grand Concert – wonderful musical contributions by Ras, Vrnda, Dhruva, Rama & Rani, while Shana, Gaura & Kirti entertained – Tops! The evening was another great late night – the icing on the cake would have to be singing Bhajans around the campfire before bed… as always.
Day Eight ~ All slept in until the fan woke us again – some were developing murderous impulses toward this fan by now… I bags liquefying it first! Breakfast was left overs from last night (that happened with regularity also) – Yum, cold noodles! Into the tidy up mode: everyone got into it. Yuck, so much to do, but still fun. Farewells were made, the camp locked up, & homeward bound we were. It was Sad to see the last day of camp. ?
However, another one is already planned, with many more grand escapades….
so we hope to see you all there! ?