It’s that time of year when all the most important holidays come at once: Christmas, Hanukkah, DAD’S BIRTHDAY and New Year’s Eve. Best of all, it’s the time of year when we head of on a Tromatic Kaufman Family Vacation.
This year, the whole family and some special guests, are headed to North Africa, where we’ll do some some post-revolutionary tourism. It is a historic time in the Middle East, one year ago this weekend, a Tunisian fruit seller set himself on fire in protest to the Tunisian government, this set off a revolution in Tunisia resulting in the ousting of the Tunisian Dictator, and in turn sparked a wave of revolutions across Africa and the Middle East.
We are headed to a calmer part of North Africa, a country which has recently held successful democratic elections. So, while I don’t expect we should run into any revolutionary activity, I do expect to run in to the unusual…
When it comes to family vacations we have always been far from traditional. In Cameroon, we hitchhiked through the Yaounde hills after our car broke down. The three of us sisters crammed into the luggage space of a random local’s car with only the smallest hint of grumbling. A few nights later, as Mom pushed a dresser against the door to “secure” the abandoned house we had no choice but to stay in when our hotel did not exist, it was only our driver who flinched.
I will admit that it was at 5,000 meters above sea level in Tibet, that a cement shack with a tin roof almost pushed me over the edge. That was until my sister shook me to my senses. The straw mattresses did not, in fact, have bed bugs, she pointed out. And she was quite confident that the stray dogs howling outside the “door” could not jump high enough to slip in through the space between the corrugated tin roof and cinderblock walls. And besides, TOXIE is alway there to protect us if anything goes wrong.
Kaufman vacations are unpredictable, but the one thing we can always count on, is that Toxie will be there right by our side to tuck us in at a bed-bug infested flea-bag hotel, to guard the door of an abandoned hut in the Cameroon Jungle, or to turn off the single bulb that dangled from a cord from a tin roof held up by cinderblocks in the Himalayan peaks of Tibet.
Although fictional, The Toxic Avenger, or “Toxie,” as we called him, is a constant real part of our Travel. We can expect Toxie to appear at any moment. A typical Toxie in real-life scene might go like this:
INTERTITLE: INCA TRAIL, 16000 FEET
Guide leads group of hikers, including KAUFMANS, up steep terrain.
Group halts. Non-KAUFMANS and guide look confused.
DAD pulls out TOXIE mask from backpack and puts over his
head, hands video camera to MOM, loyally prepared to assist.
MOM films as DAD, dressed for a flood in ultra short khakis and wearing TOXIE mask, waves hands and feet in dance. DAD/TOXIE points out scenery, attempts to engage others hikers.
Two INCA WOMEN in traditional clothes and with baby goats approach, expecting tourists and opportunity to charge for photos. INCA WOMEN stop in tracks when see DAD in TOXIE mask. DAD approaches INCA WOMEN, motions he would like to charge them to take a picture with him.
INCA WOMEN flee.
KAUFMAN SISTERS stand by in background. NON KAUFMANS look bewildered.
So stay tuned, we will keep you posted on our adventure.