She was probably calling me the Downunder Nightmare... But Toni was absolutely wonderful, understanding, friendly, supportive and very efficient. She never made me feel like I was being difficult (really, I didn't mean to be) and all was very well indeed.
Toni was at the conference and one day she was lying on the beach near me, with Ron and friends. I looked up and saw the most beautiful coloured parachute way up high in the sky with a person suspended in a harness and being pulled along by a boat further out to sea. I called to Toni and said, I want to do that, how can I do that? She laughed and pointed to a group of men under an umbrella with a big flag waving in the wind, that said PARASAILING.
And I thought it would involve a long tour to somewhere else. Truly, ask and it is given. So I went and chatted with the men and raced up to my room, heart pounding, got the money and raced back down. They put me on the back of a jetski (my first time) and I held onto the handsome young Mexican very tight - mm yum! He transferred me to the boat (the scariest bit) and then I was put into a harness and sat in the boat while the current passengers who were currently way up in the sky had their turn. We raced along the water (did I mention that it was a very windy day and the sea was rough?) and I saw all the beautiful hotels along the beach. Suddenly the winch was pulling the Japanese tourist couple down and I was being summoned forward to my turn. They told me they would take pictures and I asked for one that showed how high up we went because nobody would believe me. Although the boat bumped and swayed, my harness was attached to the parachute and up I went. I felt like calling to them, that's high enough, that's high enough, but of course I forgot, they couldn't hear me. So up I went into the clear blue sky, high over the roofs of the hotels, but out to sea. I could see into the pool on the top of my hotel. What was strange and unexpected was how totally silent it is up there. The boat was too far below and no sounds from anything else came up to me. After a little while I loosened my vice-like grip on the harness, realising that holding it wasn't going to save me if I fell - don't go there. Actually, I entertained myself with ideas of the knot (which looked incredibly simple) would unravel and I would float away and either end up in the lagoons on the other side of the hotel and be eaten by crocodiles or would go slamming into a hotel window and slide down it, a little like that prehistoric squirrel character in ice age slid down the ice. It was fun rather than scary to think about, and think about it I did.
The boat took me past my hotel and Toni and Ron were up waving and ( I think) hooting and hollering at me. It was great to have somebody down there to witness my adventure.
Travel agents are lovely people. They simplify our lives. They know more about travel than I do, or than I ever want to know. They know about datelines and timelines and required interval times between which flights at which airports, they know about tipping (which for the average Australian is a nightmare) and they know how to make you feel safe. Because when you are travelling alone, half way across the world, even though you want it to be an adventure, you still want it to be safe. Thank you Toni of WorldView Travel. I have been very safe in your hands.