How could I refuse?
My sister had two expensive tickets for a private bus tour through Southern California. It was the romantic kind of tour where couples would be taken from destination to destination on a large bus. And suddenly I was being pressured to go with her.
Let me explain: Our family has always been adventurous. Meaning, we traveled a lot, especially when Christine and I were young. Christine’s then-boyfriend was well aware of that fact, and he surprised her with tickets for a 3-day tour.
However, plans changed when Christine discovered that her boyfriend had been cheating on her. He begged for forgiveness, saying the secret relationship didn’t mean anything, but Christine wasn’t the forgiving type (especially when it came to cheating). He even gave Christine both tickets as a goodwill gesture.
Christine refused to take him back, but she didn’t want to waste the tickets either. Plus she was genuinely excited for the trip, which included fun outdoor activities and beautiful scenery. She couldn’t take any of her female friends because the tour was for couples only. And she couldn’t take any of her male friends since it would send mixed dating signals.
Our parents overheard Christine asking me to go, and they encouraged me to accept, even though I persistently refused. Our parents felt it would be good sibling bonding time since Christine and I rarely hung out.
So, I was offered the other ticket, and I couldn’t refuse.
To get to the location, we took a short train ride, followed by a short cab ride. The meeting location was a small ranch with a lounging area for guests and a moderately sized parking lot. The ranch itself wasn’t part of the retreat. It was merely a gathering place to start the bus tour. It was hot and painfully early in the morning.
When we got out of the cab, I carried my stuff, and my sister pulled her luggage and carried some small bags.
We went inside the small ranch building and saw an elderly lady behind the receptionist desk.
“Good morning,” the lady said with a super friendly smile.
We both said hello to the lady and made small talk for a while. She was extremely polite and I could sense that the trip was going to be a lot of fun.
“You’re here for the tour retreat, I’m assuming,” the lady said.
Christine grabbed the tickets from her purse. “Yep, I’ve got the tickets right here. We’re very excited about it.”
“Are those things coming too?” the lady asked, looking at our pile of stuff.
“Of course, why?”
The lady had a confused look. “Well, I’m not sure why you’d be needing all that. Do you know what kind of tour this is?”
“A couples retreat, right?” my sister replied.
“Yes, but, what’s inside the luggage?”
My sister looked equally as confused. “My clothes obviously.”
“Oh dear,” the lady gasped with an awkward expression on her face. “This isn’t exactly the kind of retreat where clothes would be needed.”
My sister squinted her eyes. “Excuse me?”
“This is a nudist retreat, dear.”
Christine looked at the tickets, then she looked at the old lady, then she looked at the tickets again, before turning her attention back to the old lady.
“That’s not mentioned anywhere on the tickets, or the brochures we looked at. Are we in the right location?”
“We don’t advertise the nudity for legal reasons,” the lady replied. “The laws can be very bizarre for this sort of thing. Only fellow nudists would know about a tour like this.”
“But, but, we’ve come all this way. The tickets are already paid for. Is there any way my bro…I mean…my boyfriend and I, can keep our clothes on?”