Back in September, the lebelinoz family went to Tasmania for the annual family holiday. We had a lot of fun, and the four of us learned a lot--about ourselves and about each other. I committed myself to writing a blog about the trip. I kept meticulous notes every day of the trip, then spent days rewriting the notes into what I thought was a readable blog.
The blog, it turned out, wasn't very readable. It was ten times longer than any other blog I've read since, plus it had photos and short videos. At one point, I raged for three pages about one crappy place where we stayed, and at another point I raved for paragraphs about a great breakfast buffet at Cradle Mountain. It was all dreadfully boring travel blog stuff. Plus it got too personal at times.
Still, there were a couple of gems to be found in my long, meandering journal. I've already published an excerpt about our day in Sheffield. Here is an excerpt from our second day in Launceston, when we visited Cataract Gorge. Would appreciate some feedback because this one isn't usual blog material...or is it?
I was awake before the sun. I couldn't help but notice a ghostly yelping. It took me a while to work out that it was probably some kind of bird. The other birds soon joined in. This is a typical wake-up in the Australian country. It was just a bit more ghostly this time. And we were in a city, not in the country.
This morning, we went to Cataract Gorge. Ages ago, someone built a park around the base of a gorge, including manicured lawns and a swimming pool. Anne reckons it looks 1960s. I reckon it looks 1860s. A chair-lift (like for skiing, except there's no skiing here) takes you to the top of the mountain. You can also easily walk to the top via a suspension bridge, but we wanted the boys to experience the chair-lift. We had talked to Gaston about "the chair which goes up" earlier, so he was excited about it. Up top, we saw some little black wallabies and four or five peacocks. Keep in mind that this park is in the middle of a town.
From there, we took an easy walk to King Bridge, which is part of one of Launceston's main streets. It seemed logical to cross the bridge and walk back on the other side of the gorge. This second walk is called Zig Zag Walk. Half an hour of hard walking/climbing followed. At the end, we saw a sign: "Warning: Hikers Only". I wish there'd been a sign at the other end. Anyway, we were back at the manicured lawns for a picnic and a play in a playground.
At the main park, there was some sort of diagonal elevator which takes you from the playground to a café to the car park. Gaston was fascinated, of course, so we took it several times. During one ride, two teenaged girls were on board with just Gaston and me. The girls were freaking out about the height and Gaston pressed some sort of emergency stop button. We were stuck only for a minute, and I admonished him calmly, but you can't tell Gaston not to do something. He screeched. Twice. And again later after we got off the lift. Then he ran to the playground to find Rémi and give him a smack.
This is the routine: if we tell Gaston not to do something,
1) he screams,
2) he runs,
3) he either hits Rémi or his mom, or he slams a door.
Nothing can break that routine. I've tried hitting him, throwing his favourite toys into the trash, screaming at him, ignoring him, everything. Nothing breaks the cycle, and I will pay you cash money if you can tell me how to fix it. But that's how it goes. When we send him to another room for "time out", wait, and let him come back, he immediately does the bad thing again (usually hitting Rémi or his mother).
On the way back down on the chair lift, I tried to scare Anne (who was on a different chair) by letting out a yelp. Some peacocks answered my yell with a ghostly yelp. That's when I worked out what those strange bird calls were at 5:30 am: peacocks.
In the parking lot, an old couple came over to our car and we chatted about our respective trips around Tasmania. They were from Stawell (rhymes with "drawl") in country Victoria. They recognised us from the boat (The Spirit of Tasmania, a ferry which takes travellers from Melbourne to Tasmania). They were doing a similar trip as ours in reverse: they were about to drive clockwise around Tasmania and we were about to drive counter clockwise.
Anne blurted out that the boys are autistic. The woman revealed that they have a deaf-dumb-blind daughter who was about Anne's age, and the daughter lives in a home for disabled people. Anne opened up more about our difficulties with the boys, and she almost cried while talking. The woman gave her a kiss and a hug when we parted, and I shook the man's hand. I think they came over because they had sensed that something wasn't quite right with our boys. Our two families each dealt with different handicaps altogether, but we were somehow drawn to each other and we had an immediate and far too brief connection.