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Often, when I talk about my and Brian’s experience operating the resort, I say it was an emotional rollercoaster. And I say it with a twinge of affection.

So when the fair came to town last month and I found myself sort of dreading it, I started to wonder, did I really have a fondness for emotional rollercoasters but not amusement park rollercoasters? Maybe I only thought I didn’t like real rollercoasters.


My kids, on the other hand, waited with great impatience for the fair to arrive.  So I took them, with my own agenda to find answers. I rode some rollercoasters. Every time the ride started to move, I’d start to laugh, while my mind was consumed with, “How long until it’s over?”

“Hahahaha, How long until it’s over?”

“Hahahaha, How long until it’s over?”

And then it was over. And I was glad. And I had no desire to ride another.

I’ll admit I didn’t care for the lowest points in the emotional rollercoaster of life at Petit Byahaut. I especially didn’t like the day that I was waiting with my toddler son for a boat ride back to Petit Byahaut in our neighboring village and a staff member with a criminal record of MURDER unleashed a tirade against me while the villagers observed in silence. That was a bad day.

The downward spiral went pretty low for Brian too, so much so that I saw a side to him I’d never before seen, with much anger, all directed at me. That was a bad day too, for both of us. Afterward, we blamed it on the abundance of steroids he was prescribed to rid himself of a craze-inducing painful rash he acquired in the bush. 

My husband does not hold the same affection as I for emotional rollercoasters.

But without those low points, the high points might not have been so high either. An afternoon swim with our family might have been just that, an afternoon swim.

Instead, an afternoon swim was paddling out to the big wooden pirogue moored in the bay with Simon riding on my back, he climbing into the boat and delighting in discovering he could move water through the hand operated bilge pump,  jumping off the boat into the warm sea over and over, Brian and Remy turning somersaults at the water’s surface while a whole world lived beneath us. It was diving down to the bottom, and seeing the look in our five year old daughter’s goggled eyes as we marveled at an octopus.

Those moments made up for it.

So why did I like emotional rollercoasters but not amusement park rollercoasters?

At Petit Byahaut, there was no picking and choosing the rides. We didn’t debate over whether to have lunch or ride The Inverter. There was no discussion over whether to try to win a giant stuffed animal or hop on the Super Loop. It just happened, in whatever way it was going to happen.

And I noticed the local people around me were living that way too. Their highs were possibly different than mine, but their lows and struggles made them live to the fullest in that very moment. They noticed their surroundings, their company, their emotions.

I decided it was living in its rawest form. Extreme Living. Primeval. Instinctual. Survival. There was no autopilot.

And I guess I liked it.

What about you? Do you love rollercoasters or hate them, emotional or physical?

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