25th March 2012
We traded country life for a night in the city last month. We drove six hours to Brisbane and although it was a business trip we were dreaming of a flash motel room and an even flasher seafood dinner.
For twenty years Brian and I have had an arrangement for negotiating city roads – he drives and I navigate. This arrangement is not fail-safe. City roads change. One-way streets are not marked on our 2002 directory. How do you turn left in 50m when you are five lanes away tucked into a spot with hostile “Right turn only” signs? Blood pressure rises, conversations become terse, expletives are employed.
This trip we got modern and took Paul the GPS. Paul started the journey as a snotty Pommy sheila but underwent a gender re-assignment while I was waiting for Brian to purchase a one-tonne truck jack off a bloke in a car-park – as you do. Paul is a Kiwi and I found it most pleasant to drive through the city with a New Zealand male that did not get edgy when we missed a turn.
With the business part of the trip over, we went in search of a motel. We usually stay in Hamilton due to its proximity to the airport and easy escape routes, and for its abundance of good restaurants. However this trip we were finding it hard to find lodgings.
We used to stay at the Royal Motel (not its real name!!) until it featured on the tabloid news as a bed-bug inn. Apparently the Royal followed the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity and jacked up the prices. We haven’t been back.
There was another motel we would have tried if not for friends relating tales of drunks, attempted break-ins and police called at 3am.
But eventually we found a place to stay and they gave us a room with facilities for the disabled – probably because they had seen how I parked; bloody tiny car spaces.
Anyway, there is a wonderful, pricey-but-worth-it seafood restaurant on the river at Hamilton so we dolled up for the occasion. I put on a dress, Brian put on shoes and away we went. Where our restaurant should have been was an empty shop and a tattered sign announcing: “Closed Down”.
But hey, we were surrounded by restaurants weren’t we? We quickly discovered not only were the restaurants booked but all the tables were set for two, and that’s when the penny dropped – it was Valentine’s Day.
It was looking like our flash meal in the city was going to be at McDonalds, but finally we scored a table at a pub.
We have a pub at home, though they may not have recognised me in a dress, and we also eat steak fairly regularly being cattle farmers, but there we were on Valentine’s Day, in a pub, with steak on the menu, and bubbly instead of Bundy.
After initially despairing of our city experience we soon settled in to enjoy the night. And that’s when the waitress arrived with the complimentary champagne …….. and that’s when she tripped ….. and that’s how I spent my one night in a city, in a dress, in a pub, soaked to the skin in champers.
If this is city life I’m heading back to the bush.
P.S Ten points to whoever can spot the glaring inconsistency in this post. Nine points if you’re from overseas and you at least have a guess!