Bell and Rami go for a flight above the trees
|Highs:||Rum and yarns with a one-handed man|
|Lows:||The transport system|
You never forget the first time you see a child fly.
Bell and I were tired. We’d been travelling all night and had nearly missed the turning on the right. Fortunately we spotted it just in time and carried straight on till morning.
We were greeted by a group of ten children. They were our hosts, our guides and, as it turned out, our transport. Neverland is an island (more or less), of indeterminate size and shape, so the easiest way to travel is by flying. The children quickly introduced themselves, then two boys stepped towards me, grabbed a hand each, and rose into the air. I rose with them. Behind me I heard Bell yelping with delight. I guessed that the same was happening to her too.
Neverland is still pretty much closed to adults. In theory anyone is welcome, but they impose an immaturity test at the embassy and people classed as “sensible” have their visa applications rejected. I just let Bell handle all the questions. She hit the interviewer with Mr Bungay, her inflatable giraffe, and ran off before he could hit her back. It did the trick.
Neverland opened up to the world when the children there decided they wanted Playstations, Wiis and Xboxes. They looked around for something to trade and decided to export the fairy dust that made it possible for them to fly. This, they were sure, was a winner. Even the most staid of adults wishes to fly. Unfortunately, it turns out that hormones interfere with the dust’s levitatory properties, so it doesn’t work on anyone past puberty.
So we had to rely on children to fly us. The four holding us flew slowly and steadily, but the other six swerved and dived like swallows chasing gnats. It made me feel queasy watching, so I gazed down at the ground some thirty feet below and hoped that I wasn’t too heavy for the boys who were carrying me.
We had booked the Neverland taster tour. It began with a couple of nights in a forest lodge, followed by two nights in a Native American encampment, then a short stay on a sailing ship that had been converted to a floating hotel.
None of the accommodation was exactly luxurious, but it was all memorable. Our first house was an underground room furnished with multi-coloured toadstools and a table made from the stump of a tree. After that, we stayed in a domed structure made from bent branches and covered with hide.
Our final stay, in the floating hotel, was easily the most comfortable. As well as being the most spacious accommodation we stayed in, the ship had the ‘luxury’ of a plank over the side that served as a diving board. On the two nights we were there, Bell and I swam in the bay, then sat on deck, wrapped in sarongs and watching flocks of flamingos fly across the dusk red sky. As we sat, the manager served us rum and entertained us with stories from the ship’s past.
He was an elderly man with an artificial hand which he rather drew attention to by referring to himself as Captain James Prosthetic. I suspect he had something of an unsavoury past, but with us he was a perfect gentleman. The day we left he pointed to the LitB bags we were carrying.
“You ladies clearly appreciate fine accessories,” he said and handed us both a crocodile skin handbag. Each contained a small clock.
“Something to help you remember your stay” he said, and gave an inscrutable smile.