“Velcome to dee Vaater Taxi. Vhere vould you like to go, Madame?”
Michael, oars primed and ready to go, was my chauffeur for our sunset tour. He said he was from France, but his accent sounded a bit more Transylvanian…
I called out countries as he started rowing.
“Okay, you vant to have a baguette? A crepe? Vhere vill ve go next?”
“Yes, yes. Vonderful choice, Madame. Argentina it is.” His oars hovered just above the surface of the water as he figured out how to push one and pull the other in order to spin us around and head for the southern hemisphere.
“Ve are on our vay. Ve vill have empanadas and see glaciers and penguins!”
We continued our role play as he guided me to Fiji and New Zealand.
“Isn’t it crazy that you have actually BEEN to most of these places already? Do you have any idea how lucky you are? Think of all the people you know from around the world! And the foods you’ve tried! It’s amazing!”
He shrugged, not sure how to respond and oblivious to the fact that most kids his age have never even been out of their own country! My thoughts tumbled down, down, down into a deep well of memories and gratefulness as he simply rowed on.
“Vhere to next?” His voice hauled me up and out of my memories and back to the present moment.
“Let’s see. Where should we go next? How about Brazil? What will we see there?”
“Ah, Brazil. You will love it there. Waterfalls, toucans, monkeys, (mom, what were those animals that tried to steal our food at the waterfall place? oh, yea...Coatis) and Coatis, but bevare - they vill eat your lunch!
“Oh, look, zee other driver is ready for you. Her name is Elisabeta. How you say in English? Ah, yes, Elizabeth. She is a veddy nice driver. All the drivers here are veddy nice.” With precision, we pulled up to the transom steps and Elizabeth hopped in.
“Michael, you can be my pointer. You point to where I need to go, okay?”
And off we went.
Elizabeth decided we should go say “hi” to our friends on a neighboring boat.
“We’ll go to Belgium and Scotland!” A fellow cruising family lived in London for many years, but one of the parents is from Belgium, and the other from Scotland. We could visit three countries in one stop! By the time we pulled alongside, they were out on deck to greet us with a few lines of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’.
“We’re rowing around the world, so we thought we’d come to see you in Belgium and Scotland! How do you say hello in your language?”
(They did tell us, and I have totally forgotten. Sorry!) Somehow the kids got to talking about bathrooms and aiming your pee. Ah, bathroom humor, the universal language of all kids age 8-12!
As we bid them goodbye, they suggested Michael and Elizabeth EACH row an oar on the way back, so they quickly shuffled seats and worked out their synchronization.
“Heave. Ho. Heave. Ho.”
“Let’s go to Italy next!” An Italian crew was on a monohull nearby. We hadn’t met them yet, so we decided to stop by on our way back to America (aka Field Trip!)
They were lovely and played along beautifully with the role play, asking us how the weather in “America” was these days! They invited us on board, but the sun had set, and we still had to get all the way back home, so we said a quick goodbye and set off again.
We had hoped to swing by Japan on our way back (a couple on another monohull that we’d met the week before), but the moon was out and it was time to end our world tour.