2004-02-18 : Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…
OK, I've finally downloaded all the photos, turfed out the ones that were too shite to put on the web, and assembled a loose narrative of my trip based on the hazy memories and scratchy notes I made. Here goes:
Well well, whoever said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit has obviously never had to sit through an episode of Kath and Kim. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Australian humour being developed and promoted, but come on – that's really nothing more that “Wog Humour” (for anyone who wasn't in Australia during the 80's/early 90's, that term will probably require some explanation, but I for one can't be bothered being the one to give it. Ask someone else).
Got randomly picked at the airport for an explosives swab test – nothing particularly invasive, they just brush a weird looking wand thing over you and then plug it into a machine-thingo, and it tells them if you've geen in contact with any explosives or fireworks recently. Apparently. It kinda reminded me of the thing that Bill Murray waves around in Sigourney Weaver's apartment in Ghostbusters, and rather obviously has no idea how to use it.
Oh yes, I'm trying to work out what's going on with this damn aeroplane. I can't work out whether my notebook's too big, my beer gut's too big, or these damn seats are too close together. I'm not actually interested in getting any comments in answer to this quandry. But yeah, reading this screen's like trying to peer inside a novel whilst not flexing the cover more than 45 degrees. There again, it could also be due to this asshole in the seat in front cranking his seat back as far as possible. I suppose it's fair enough – that's why they make them reclinable… it just always seems like an invasion of personal space when the person in front just leans their seat back ! I think it's because they never turn around and ask if you mind… it's more just this anonymous and autocratic decision that they want to modify the shape of the space you have available to do whatever it was you wanted to do. Grr. Wish I could afford business class.
Upon landing in WA, my trip subject to only a few of the usual types of travel-related cockups I seem to attract, I found myself driving in a BMW with the interior light stuck on. K&M took me on a magnificent historical buildings tour of Northbridge, including Rosie O'Grady's, The Paramount, The Elephant & Wheelbarrow, and an awesome kebab place called Istanbul. Good time had by all , and a significant injection into the local economy.
Saturday – a late rise before heading down to one of the most beautiful places on earth, Fremantle. As we all remarked several times that day, despite Freo being a primo bit of real estate and a complete haven for the cash-laden, there's something very comfortable and non-pretentious about it. Our first stop was the Holy Ground – the Little Creatures Brewery.
I think it's one of the best beers in the world, and as I discovered that Valentine's Day, it also makes a decent breakfast beer. Another thing about the place is all of the staff are complete lunatics. We learned a great many things from our table waiter, including laundry techniques and how a bachelor should stack their fridge. We also had some of the best fries I've ever ingested. To order a fried potato product after sampling these Epicurean delights would be pure folly. I only wish I had the means to take Spiro and DB over there for a Chip Appreciation voyage.
After lunch we wandered along the boardwalk, and spotted a fairly touristy looking thing – a kind of harbour cruise, with an 'extreme' bent to it. Always being keen to try anything once, we strapped in and got probably the quickest harbour tour anyone's ever had. By which I mean that the boat got around at about 40 knots, which for those of a non-nautical inclination, means “F*cking Fast”. We also got rather wet and salty. Not in a romantic way.
Next stop on the journey was the famous Sail and Anchor pub (anyone detecting a theme here ??). WA seems to be making a name for itself as a mecca of microbrewers, and the Sail & Anchor leads the charge. They have about 7 or 8 beers of their own concocting on tap regularly, plus some seasonal specials. At the moment they've got a Chilli Beer on tap, and whilst it's interesting to try, I'd have to say that I look forward to drinking a pint of the stuff about as much as a Urinary Tract Infection. And I'm not sure that the two would feel entirely dissimilar.
We decided to go for a Tasting Tray, which allowed us to get a sample of what all the different beers were (I liked the India Pale and the Stout best, whereas the ladies seemed to go for the 7.0% Ironbrew… despite the fact they claimed it smelt like a guys' locker room), but it also enabled us to sprinkle empties around us with reckless abandon and make us look like Mighty Drinkers.
Intriguingly enough, Valentine's Day apparently falls on the same day as National Condom Day. I wouldn't have known this, however the barman at the Sail & Anchor presented me with a nicely wrapped cardboard gift to go along with my beer purchase. I'd suggest it was a fairly optimistic gesture however – a free condom is a lot like a pair of lizardskin ballet shoes to me at the moment. Whilst interesting in concept, I've just got no use for them.
Absolutely irrelevantly to the previous paragraph, we also caught up with Amie and Mike again (see earlier adventures in December's archive), who after having stated categorically that they were fed up with hospitality, have both scored jobs at the new Mirvac resort in Margaret River. Again, it was tons of fun to see Amie, and the usual amount of reminiscing went on. I think Kris was getting fed up with me asking if she'd met Amie or not, so thankfully now we can put that one to rest.
After a requisite amount of prattling, our stomachs led us to a Thai restaurant, the name of which escapes me, but it's probably just as well for both our sakes. The food was fine, and if it had arrived possibly an hour earlier then that would have been acceptable too.
Following dinner we parted company with Mike and Amie, and the girls took me to a place called Benny's. There's not a lot to say about it except that it's a funky place, and they make a damn good Martini ! I also found out that Morgan used to sing in a jazz combo, which is a fairly impressive bit of news.
Finally it was back to Rosie O'Grady's (in Freo this time, obviously) for another drink and a bit of a dance. The Time Zone fairies must have got to me though (or possibly the Beer Fairies), but I wound up getting very close to flaking out in the beer garden. Details of the story get a bit sketchy here, but we all made it home somehow. I think Kristen's mum came and picked us up. I don't clearly remember this happening, but if you read this Jean, thanks heaps!
I've decided at this point to end my narrative, as I'm meant to be somewhere else right now and I've still got a lot to tell… so STAY TUNED for the next gripping instalment !
Well well, how do ya like that ? It has been pointed out to me by an entirely more reliable source than myself that I've already bollocksed the story up! Kristen's Mum came and picked us up from Northbridge on Friday night, not from Freo on Saturday night. At this point it becomes obvious that I did an awful lot of not-remembering-quite-how-I-got-home that weekend, but don't dwell on it for too long. I think the bit that confused me was that Rosie's was the last stop on the voyage both nights. It's all a bit confusing for a boy from a little farm town like Adelaide… Our Elephant and Wheelbarrow doesn't even have a Wheelbarrow anymore ! I wonder where it went ? Probably got taken away with the IMAX.
Anyway, the point was – Saturday night we drove home in Kris's car, which I (now) remember because we fed about 25kg of small change into the parking pay station. And we parked in the multi-level place where Morgan flung the door open on our way out, and some poor sod nearly ran face-first into it.
It's important to get the details right.