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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Self -Contained Vehicle

The Kitchen

The Dining

The Excrement Tank

Clearing Waste From the RV Into the Sewage System

The Pipe from the Waste Tank

When I embarked on this camping adventure, it didn't occur to me that I would have to clear emmmm... night soil from the RV. It didn't turn out too bad though. The camping infrastructure in New Zealand is beyond world class. I think New Zealand sets the standard for camping facilities. There are waste disposal stations and water top ups everywhere. I am very impressed by the civic mindedness of the Australian, French, German and local campers. Every facility that we have been to has been spotlessly clean. Everyone cleans up after themselves and disposes of waste responsibly. In a communal kitchen at a Full Service camp site, I took over a table from a German man, to prepare dinner. He came back with a cloth to clean up one tiny smudge of a spot that he had left behind. In contrast, a Singaporean family had their lunch on an adjacent table. They left crumbs and bits of tuna behind. I was embarrassed so I mopped their table too before I left the communal kitchen.

We're getting certain procedures in place quite nicely. Shoes are taken off outside the RV and bagged before we all climb inside. Everyone using the RV toilet has to wipe down with an antiseptic wipe. The space constraints are such that to be liveable, everyone must maintain very high standards 0f communal hygiene. Else, the RV fills up with dust in just a few hours and blades of grass get onto the bed.

I threw a hissy fit at the end of Day 2 about hygiene.

After a tense family discussion, we figured our way out. Every day, Little Boy mops the floor before he sleeps. The Daughter navigates and plans the itinerary. The Husband drives. I dictate procedures such as How To Use the RV Toilet-cum-Shower Responsibly, and How To Shake Out Dust From All the Duvets Everyday. Everyone pitches in to cook whilst I plan the menus and the groceries lists. If I am too ill, we look for a restaurant.

Everyone is happy to be living in a clean space again (though small).

You. Don't. Wash. Your. Dishes. In. The. River.

We went to a free campsite the first night (i.e., no communal showers nor kitchens nor barbecues). It had nothing but a Long Drop toilet (i.e., a toilet bowl with no water closet... you look down into a deep pit where everyone else's shit has dropped a long way down).  Ok... I was grossed out too (which contributed to my hissy fit)... but well...  I had made the dubious choice of camping, and so I guess I have to make the best of it.

We woke up the next morning to the magnificent sight above. It seemed like sacrilege to wash anything in that pristine river. What would our dish soap do to the fishes swimming in the clear water? How would it affect the black swans gliding placidly along the glassy waters? So, we took our waste water and emptied it into the sewage system.

I'm not sure I've made an entirely bad decision to do this camping thing. It does have its rewards. I guess I need to get used to it. It can be quite pleasant especially since The Daughter and Little Boy pull more than their weight.

They LOVE this camping business. All the hard manual labour doesn't faze them at all. They enjoy every bit of the hard work.

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