Some days you go to the beach. You walk along the shaded trail, surrounded by trees and brush. You hear birds singing, celebrating the warm day after a rain-filled week. Suddenly, the trees clear and the skies open; before you is the golden glow of a sandy beach being caressed by gentle ocean waves. Ahh… Australia. There are few things more magical than a warm beach with snacks, friends, and hours of freedom ahead of you.
You have your glorious day.
It was everything you wanted it to be (minus the jackasses who harass you just as you are thinking you could stay there forever).
You come home and want to shower, to rinse off the salty grime that covers your browning, slightly burned body. But you are backpacking, and it is difficult enough to fit eight months’ worth of clothes into one bag that you can carry on your back without worrying about bringing a beach towel. In fact, you didn’t bring a towel at all. You purchased a towel at the only store that sold them in the little town in which you are staying. This happened to be a second-hand store. Perfect. It’s cheap and vintage. The only problem is this towel is tiny and it has the dual purpose of drying off your clean body and keeping you from being covered in sand on the beach.
This is all fine. You like simplicity. You don’t actually care that you are using a somewhat dirty towel to dry off with. But it’s wet. The towel needs to hang and dry before it can be of any small use to you.
So, you wait…
You make dinner, write a blog, post pictures, check out the new group of cute guys, chit chat, eat ice cream, and go check on your towel.
It’s mostly dry… good enough.
You grab your fancy toiletries bag, clean clothes, and your somewhat dry, kind of clean towel.
This is a community bathroom, where there are stalls and many women are using the facilities (just to paint a picture). You get everything set up in the way you’ve discovered works best, strip off your clothes, turn on the water, and notice the GINORMOUS brown beetle of a bug staring right at you. At this point, you are wet and committed to this shower. Technically, the bug is on the window sill in the stall, about a foot away from your head. You take a deep breath and tell yourself, this is fine. You showered with cockroaches in Cambodia and didn’t freak out.
As you applaud yourself on your courage, you close your eyes to wash your face and your courage is shattered. The small amount of control you had in this situation was keeping a close eye on what can only be described as a beetle from flames of hell. But when you inevitably have to shut your eyes and lose track of its whereabouts you realize…THERE IS A HUGE BUG THAT IS GOING TO JUMP ON YOU AND EITHER KILL YOU OR TOUCH YOU!! Both are equally horrifying. Bending down to shave your legs is just as bad. You are certain that every time the water touches you differently it’s that creature trying to get you.
Finally, you’ve done all the things you do in a shower and step towards your towel.
You hold it. Smell it. Look at both sides. It’s hard to tell which side is cleaner. Would it be the side that was all sandy, or the side that is all sunscreeny? The sandy side certainly smells better, but the sunscreen side is logically cleaner… right? I give up on logic and choose the side with the roses on it. It’s prettier.
Epilogue: There is a big pink gecko on the mirror once you exit the shower. You take a picture to document.