Mom and Dad’s Travel Stories: Sixty-Somethings on a Scooter
My mom and dad travel a lot. Someday I’d like to travel like them. I think my mom should start a blog about her travels since we always get interesting email reports of their adventures. They often go on group walking/hiking/cycling/skiing trips to interesting (and usually stable) places around the world. They meet interesting people and do fun things with their guides when they are on organized trips.
Here they are in Croatia last fall:
They are seasoned travellers and when they are on their own, they feel like they can be just as adventurous as they are when they are with a guide who really knows an area. This sometimes gets them into trouble. So far, they have always come back in one piece so I’m very thankful for that.
The following He Said/She Said from their recent five-day excursion to Bermuda is an example of something that may have ended badly if it weren’t for an ethical and experienced tourist industry worker:
In Bermuda, as everyone knows, most residents get around on scooters. They come in all sizes and types. Most tourists get around on the very efficient buses, especially after a particularly vigorous campaign to restrict tourists from renting scooters because of a spate of accidents.
Feeling frisky and youthful, I persuaded F. that we should rent one today.
Kevin, a wizened old Bermudian, signed us up at the hotel cycle rental then gave me a 10 min. introductory lesson. I would drive and F. would have her arms wound tightly around me (Peter Fonda). But before we left the property, he insisted that I make several trips around and he would follow. Half way through the first loop (about 5 mins), he pulled up beside me and said, ” I think we should just go back to the shop and call it a day”. Embarrassed and slightly insulted, I redoubled my efforts which led him to agree on 3 more circuits of the property which I executed in fine fashion.
Finally, he said we should go back and get F. so I could try it with her on the cycle as well.
To her credit, F. said absolutely nothing either during the 3 minutes she was on the cycle or during the ‘incident’.
As we ascended the last hill we encountered 2 hotel employees in a golf cart coming toward us on what I perceived to be the wrong side of the road (Bermuda). Instead of applying the brake, I twisted the accelerator and we almost splattered on the road. As the employees and Kevin ran towards us, I heard him say, “That settles it!” He tore up the contract and refunded our deposit on the spot.
Before we headed off toward the bus Kevin shook my hand and added, “I don’t like to send out our guests hoping they’ll come back”.
12 hours later I got this version of the story via email with the subject line “The Marriage Test”.
It seems that Dad got his version out before me….but I hate to be outdone. So….here goes:
We have been taking buses all week…great way to get around the island and so easy! However, Dad is allergic to buses, as a rule, and was dying to try a scooter. We agreed that today was the day. No breakfast….we would just rent the scooter and have breakfast as a first stop on our adventure.
10am: Meet Kevin at the rental place on the hotel property. He is cheerful and professional. No problem. We’ll do the paperwork and have a quick lesson.
10:30am: We are both fitted for helmets and Dad has a lovely smile on his face. Kevin explains that Dad will just do a few turns around the parking lot and then a quick run around the hotel property and then a test drive with me on board. Smile fading somewhat, but determination taking over.
11am: I keep a straight face while Dad goes round the parking lot. Sort of round….more like connecting angles. I have to turn around and giggle quietly when Dad falls over with the bike almost on top of him. ‘What did I do wrong?’, he asks. Dad is not a quitter. More turns around the lot….smoother now.
11:15am: Kevin and Dad ride out of the lot onto the hotel property. I talk to myself for about 10 minutes and wonder what is taking so long. Eventually Kevin comes back, alone, and in a very serious, quiet voice, tells me that he will take me to Dad. I expect to see him on a stretcher, but no…he’s just at the top of the road. I climb on back of Kevin’s scooter and am very grateful that I haven’t had anything to eat yet. We go up and down and around the property a couple of times….following Dad. Then, my turn to ride with Dad….oy! I’d actually rather go skydiving, but I don’t want Dad to lose his newly found confidence…..so I get on.
11:30am: Can’t clutch at his back…..supposed to be relaxed and enjoying this, so I barely touch his sides and clutch the seat with my knees….as if it were a horse. Doesn’t work so well… Up a hill, round a corner…..here comes a golf cart…watch out. Quick pull to the right (but this is Bermuda!!!! need to go left!), both of Dad’s feet on the ground to brake (is that a brake on the handlebar or what?) and Kevin’s reassuring voice as we are surrounded by anxious hotel staffers…. ‘well, that settles it!’ I could have kissed him!
We are all agreed….more lessons are required before we head off into the sunset on a scooter. Fear recedes and my throat finally loosens up so that I can speak…let’s go get some breakfast, dear. Hurry, we’ll miss the next bus!