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AWRIGHT DEN!: Visiting the Cave

COREY WORRELL, [email protected]

AWRIGHT DEN!: Visiting the Cave

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IT’S VACATION TIME for the family, and wifey planned in advance a few things she wanted us to do as a family, two of which were to take the children to Harrison’s Cave and to a restaurant. We decided to do both on the same day.

The girls were super excited they were going to both as Mummy was preparing them for at least two weeks for the visit to the Cave, and a few months for the restaurant visit. To be honest, I can’t remember going to Harrison’s Cave, but for some reason, I believe I did as a child.

As it relates to the restaurant, it was all about the girls (six years and four) putting into practice what Mummy was teaching at home: using a knife and fork properly, how to make an order and displaying good table manners – and they did very well. I must thank Lucky Horseshoe Warrens as it facilitated us well and made the experience pleasant.

We arrived at Harrison’s Cave at 11 a.m. The ticket line wasn’t long and I was pleased to hear many foreign accents. My first disappointment came when a tour bus driver bored past a line of tourists and went to the booth to purchase pre-booked tickets. Surprisingly, the woman in the booth facilitated him. The visitors were very upset and rightfully so.

The tram tour was a beautiful experience and worth the $50 for adults and $25 for children. That being said, I have a few suggestions to improve the experience.

1. I arrived at 11 a.m. but did not start the tour until 12:40. There were tourists who had to wait longer. There wasn’t much seating and 90 per cent of the people waiting had to stand and there was nothing to do.

I suggest having more seating; installation of a swing and slide for the children as they wait; maybe a road tennis court and fixed concrete draughts tables to introduce the visitors to the local games, and live or recorded Bajan music playing.

2. Visitors had no idea what was going on. It was very confusing; tourists were frustrated and highlighting how disorganised things were.

I suggest having a PA system and mounted flat screen TVs displaying information concerning the procedure, which trams are on tour and when your tram will arrive for boarding.

3. Imagine waiting for an hour and more, and 20 persons from a tour bus arrive and walk right past you and start the tour. Visitors started to complain, but I asked a question only to learn that they were pre-booked and were from a cruise ship.

I suggest those visitors from the ships have their own tram and entrance as it isn’t right for them to just arrive and go before those who have been waiting. It also seems that there is no communication between the ticketing booth upstairs and the team downstairs. The website should also state what one can expect as it relates to waiting. I normally pack snacks and drinks for my children; imagine if I hadn’t.

4. Everyone on the tour got wet from the water dripping from the roof. No one had a coat. All I had to cover my sleeping 19-month-old son was my hat, so at times he got wet.

I suggest stating on the website that people walk with a coat and hat, or the coat can be provided at boarding and returned after the tour.

5. There were many crystal-clear pools in the cave and I honestly wanted to take a drink of the water.

I suggest the organisers have souvenir-sized bottles of the pure water and sell them for about $10 each after the tour. When I was in Israel, I visited the Jordan River and though many persons dipped in the water, most wanted the souvenir bottles of water to take back home.

6. The quality of the five- to ten-minute video you watch theatre-style before the tour is dated. One of the visitors who sat next to me (first time in Barbados) wasn’t impressed.

I suggest updating the audio quality and the video from SD to HD, and also centring the projected image on the white canvas as it is currently tilted and looks unprofessional.

I want to thank Jolene for doing her best to accommodate all of us frustrated visitors, and Richard the tram driver and the lady who was the tour guide.

• Corey Worrell, a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, is director of C2J Foundation Inc., a project-based NGO focusing on social development. Email: [email protected]