The Ty Dewi crew are in Dominica, touring the Island and trying to find something that makes these travel-weary children go ‘wow’…!
One of the great things about this cruising life is that we visit so many amazing places. One of the downsides is that the kids think this is normal. Occasionally we rent a car, as we did in Dominica the other day.
Now, car travel can be pretty boring for young kids, and the age-old challenge of driving whilst the children wage war behind you has been largely solved by the development of portable DVD players. These god-sends (look, if you’re a parent you know exactly what I mean and even if you don’t want to admit it, they’re great), distract two small people, who would otherwise be trying to beat the heck out of each other or kick their way through the front seats, just as you swing round the hairpin bend meeting the cement truck coming downhill the other way.
So when we tour these islands, Gesa and I are gaping out of the window at the unfolding vistas whilst the children are gaping at a 7 inch flatscreen. We try, we really do. Hey kids, look out Issie’s window, there’s some goats. “Oh, yeah”. Hey, we’re driving through a volcanic crater, look how the mountains are all around us. “Oh, yeah”. See how high we are, the road just drops away to nothing for, err, a hundred metres, gulp. “Oh, yeah”.
To give them credit, “Oh, yeah” is a pretty versatile phrase. We have begun to rate views and scenes on a scale from bored, tired “Oh, yeah” said in a voice that is almost a yawn, through to “Oh! Yeah!” which is fully engaged, sat straight up, fascinated by whatever it is. Usually it takes an amazing double rainbow or a sheer cliff face crawling with lizards to get this reaction.
Dominica must be spectacular because, rounding the last corner in the rain forest path to the Emerald Falls, Max stops on the bridge when he sees the waterfall and pool below and says, not ‘Oh Yeah’ but ‘Oh, WOW’. That’s pretty much “top of the tree, don’t get no better than this, blown away by it all” stuff. It helps that once out of the car and walking, they aren’t distracted by Toy Story, Little Mermaid or whatever is favourite of the week, but even so, we get ‘Oh WOW’ very rarely.
I have dim memories (my parents will have much more vivid and probably painful ones) of my sister and I being dragged around the historic castles and Roman remains of Northumberland when we were little. Without the benefit of in-car DVD we were probably either beating each other up or buried in our books and unwilling to get out and look at the next lump of old rocks in a muddy field. Yet, that experience, or something, has left me with a deep and lasting fondness and fascination with the history, geology and environment that makes these places so special.
So thanks, Mum and Dad, once again we only really begin to understand what we put you through when we have to deal with the same. And we can only hope that, in years to come, Issie and Max find themselves with a similar desire to explore and understand the world around them.