April 20, 2014 Easter Sunday 6:00am
Today I was awaken by the screams and excitement of three young red haired girls. The cousins, Zoey, Matilda and Nellie were running about searching for the ever elusive Easter egg, which their mothers had artfully hidden all about my tent. Matilda is the more intuitive of the three girls and insisted that the duck who visited the campsite yesterday must have laid these multi-colored eggs. Her mother kept insisting loudly that “No, it was the Easter bunny that left those eggs”. “But Mummy, Matilda said, bunnies don,t lay eggs!” “Well, this one does”, her mother assures her with the utmost sincerity.
Then Zoey decides that her cousin Nell has too many eggs and takes one from her basket. “Why would you do that Zoey? Her mother exclaims in a thick Australian accent. “Go give it back and say you’re sorry!” But Zoey doesn’t want to give it back and she doesn’t want to say she’s sorry so she begins wailing at the top of her lungs. This is all before the hour of 6:00am mind you. Multiple bottom spankings and detentions zipped inside her tent, Zoey finally relents, repents and returns the stolen egg. While all this drama unfolds, I lay in my tent reflecting on the religious customs of the Western world. There were so many things wrong about this mornings episode in terms of morality, justice, penalties and truth that it leaves me questioning my own upbringing. It was obvious to any sane person that Zoey had no remorse for her egg theft and only after torture did she reluctantly succumb to the pressure and apologize. Then what was learned by this exercise? What was accomplished by Matilda’s mother adamantly defending her position on the existence of the Easter Bunny? Why did they choose my tent for a hiding area? These questions and others flooded by brain before my morning coffee. Last night a group of Arabic speaking Egyptians walked by the campsite and this morning I saw them camped by the bathrooms. The men were dark and swarthy in appearance with three days growth of beard stubble and the women had head scarves wrapped around their necks and shoulders. I had a distinctive but involuntary reaction to their presence. I now realize that I’m bothered by Egyptians, Muslims or anyone from the middle east. It’s not that I dislike them, I just feel more comfortable when they are not around.
Australians have cute little shortened words for everything. For example, breakfast is called brekky and mosquitoes are called muzzies. A few minutes ago one of the red haired mothers screamed out “Oh, how I hate these bloody muzzies, I wish they would all die!”. It just happened to be at the exact moment the group of Muslims were strolling by. It is misunderstandings like this that create International incidents.
There is a hustle and bustle beginning around the Violet Hill campground as the campers finish their brekky and prepare to break down their camps. Stakes are being pulled, zippers zipped, coolers packed and trucks (Aussies call these “utes”) being loaded. It looks like at least 2/3rds of the campers are departing this morning which will leave me in a quiet spot. I just got a 5% warning from the IPad so I’ve got to go for now.