Tasmanian torture

We’ve just has the strangest holiday. And that’s saying something. When you’ve travelled as much we have you tend to think you’ve seen it all and you’re prepared for anything. Heck we even checked the Australian government website for safety warnings because even though Tasmania isn’t another country, it certainly feels like it sometimes.

We were looking forward to peaceful meadows, lovely scenery, amazing food and giving thanks for David Boon. But instead this family getaway left me a fragile, mental wreck.

Not because Tasmanians drive in the middle of the road until they’re right on top of you like a modern day game of chicken (though they do).

Not because Tasmania has speed signs that say “End 80 zone” but don’t tell you what the new speed is so you’re unsure whether you need to speed up or slow down (though they do).

Not because there’s so much roadkill we saw more dead marsupials than live ones (though we did).

No, this trip was defined by screaming tantrums.

For some reason, Rhapsody’s trip across the Tasman transformed her into a monster. I know I sometimes make fun of my twins but they’re good girls most of the time. But suddenly drop-of-a-hat tantrums were the new thing. Especially when we jumped in the car. Distractions didn’t work (in fact they often made things worse). If they both had a toy or iPad then she wanted Gypsy’s – even if they were identical. She would scream, cry and sometimes start hitting and kicking her sister. Sometimes if she didn’t have a reason to scream, she’d make one up.

At one stage we were on a highway when she suddenly declared she wanted four pink socks. In the middle of nowhere. Of course we tried to calmly say we didn’t have any on us and reason with her but that just set off another explosion.

And the screaming just gets louder the longer it goes on. She was like some sort of crazed football commentator as one side is about to score: just getting louder and higher and louder and higher.

At one point I thought she’d stopped until I saw dogs on the side of the road in pain and realised she’d just gone up so high she’d exceeded the level of human hearing. Sadly for us – but happily for the local fauna – this octave didn’t last long.

My wife handled it pretty well for the most part. She has this ability to just tune out and not hear when she wants to. It’s like the next step of evolution. It would also explain some of our conversations around the house.

But I digress. Mostly because my traumatised brain doesn’t want to remember those Tasmanian road-trips. Which is a shame. Because once we reached our destinations they were amazing. Tasmania is simply stunning. We climbed down ancient caves, we found a platypus in the wild, we climbed mountains (if you accept ‘driving up’ as ‘climbing’), we saw Australia’s oldest bridge and what must be Australia’s longest public park slide, we fed giant salmon and trout, we visited old bakeries and chocolate factories, I saw the Brisbane Heat defeat the Hobart Hurricanes… Most of the touristy stuff. It was incredible in patches.

However these amazing flashes of brilliance were bookended by the unending screams of a wailing banshee out of Dante’s Inferno. Seriously, it was like an ice pick in the brain and I started eyeing off the many, many vineyards we were passing wandering if they made/had hard spirits there too.

It’s not as if our girls haven’t travelled before. We had a white Christmas in Denmark and though the flight wasn’t great the holiday was. And like most people of the Western world, they’ve been to Las Vegas.

But this trip was insane. Every time we went somewhere it descended into chaos, leading me to one inescapable conclusion: Rhapsody has developed an allergy to cars.

Or Tasmania.

Or maybe she just REALLY loves pink socks.

And just FYI, the phrase “Daddy is like America – he doesn’t negotiate with terrorists” doesn’t work on three-year-olds.

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