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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Northern Exposure Part II

….. I'm wrong sometimes.
Sleeping is very difficult at the Sydney Junction Hotel. I'd have a better chance of catching 40 winks if I curled up in a bathtub filled with broken bricks and wild dogs. Thumping, rubbish music downstairs was replaced at 3am by the pub's previous contents spilling out onto the street. A few ticks of the clock later and the discordant chimes of the SCREECHING SATANIC RAILWAY CROSSING ALARM kicked in every half hour. Until dawn. You could practically tell the time by my muttered under-breath obscenities.

Eventually, and yet much earlier than I'd ever planned, I balanced my throbbing head somewhere on top of my tired, wired shoulders and dragged my leaden feet down the hall to the shower to scrape off a grimy layer of hangover. Eventually Kyles did the same thing, and we had only two things on our mind – water and bacon. We packed and trudged ungracefully down the stairs to the front bar at about 9:30, handed in our key, stowed our bags until later and asked Cheryl for two massive glasses of water. She obliged cheerfully, adding "..and why do youse need those, do youse think?", and laughed at our sorry, sorry, pale turquoise selves.

A girl recommended a place called Impact for breakfast, and I have to say they should fire their graphic designer immediately, but give their breakfast cook a pay-rise, a hug and a big bottle of Scotch. Bright pink banners with non-ironic 80s-styled writing are wrong in almost every context, but especially in food-related scenarios. My 'breakfast baguette', though, was a gigantic, artistically-angled mound of crusty bread, double-cream scrambled eggs, dark, dense, buttery mushrooms, bacon and rocket, and Kylie's eggs Benedict was a masterpiece of Hollandaise proportions. And we inhaled them.

Parts One and Two of our hangover cure effectively stomached, we made a beeline for the beach to start Part Three via a pleasantly nattering cabbie, who was able to remember the exact address of almost everywhere he'd ever been in Sydney. We fronted up at Newcastle Beach, noting the area's fondness for constructing buildings, towers, signs and aerials as an assortment of massive phallic symbols, and decided, in a sudden wave of ladylike politeness, to nickname Newcastle 'DickTown'. The beach was big, wide, gorgeous, and refreshingly un-Sydney-like, and we found a good spot, stripped, creamed, and plonked. I made my way through an impressive number of pages of Kitchen Confidential, and every so often Kylie's phone alarm would sound, signifying Time To Turn Over. Our soundtrack consisted of nearby teenage mutterings, footballs bouncing dangerously close to our digs, and constant rip warnings being bellowed by the ever-vigilant lifies from the massive (phallic) megaphones atop the surf club.

Kylie battled the rip for a few minutes without drowning, but soon the sight of some straight-out-of-Puberty-Blues chicks scoffing potato scallops stirred us, and we packed up and went in search of deep-fried starchy goodness. I haven't craved a potato scallop for almost half my life, so I was surprised, but fully intent on our mission. The kiosk at Newcastle Beach was packed with a non-mobile queue, so we followed our noses around the heads to Noddy's Beach, an even pleasanter stretch of sand, grass, and gorgeous beachy Art-Deco frontage. We quickly located the un-cleverly-named Noddy's Kiosk, inside which we encountered quite possibly The Stupidest Girl In The World.

In exasperated, conversational point form:
Stupidest Girl In The World: "Is anyone waiting?"
Jo & Kylie (not out loud): "Ummmm…. maybe the fourteen people in front of you waving their money…?"
SGITW: "What would you like?"
J&K: "A bottle of water and 4 potato scallops, please".
SGITW: "You'll have to wait for the scallops".
J&K: "Ok. How long?"
SGITW: "I don't know. Ten minutes?"
Ten minutes later…..
SGITW, laden with delectably greasy bag: "Two scallops? Anyone? Two scallops?" (silence)
J&K: "Ummm…. we ordered four scallops?"
SGITW: "No…. I'm sure these were for someone else. Do you know who served you?"

And so on. I won't even go into the Great My-Scallops-Are-Still-Frozen-In-The-Middle-You-Dopey-Cow Fiasco. It's enough that we went through it. I won't take you down with us.

Eventually, after wiping the greasy sheen from our satisfied faces, we strolled along The Esplanade towards Newcastle Station. The Esplanade seems to serve two purposes:
1. To give People Who Stroll a nice, scenic hobble along the waterfront; and
2. To give People Whose Cars Are Their Life-Partners somewhere to cruise and park.
The phrase "show us a burn-out, mate" in native Novacastrian drawl was heard gleefully at this point. Alas, a burn-out was not.

Kyles and I cabbed it back to Hamilton on a coffee-seeking mission and sat down at a very nice joint called Eurobar. Eurobar houses two significantly notable things – outstanding chocolate fudge cake with unnecessarily decorative cocoa, and Newcastle's only three attractive men. Kylie flirted with grace and panache, I smiled like an idiot.

Aesthetic sensibilities satisfied, we hauled our mildly sunburned arses back to the SJH to collect our bags from Cheryl, and thanked her heartily for her hospitality. I stopped myself from grasping her shoulders and shouting "Double-glazed windows, woman! Do it now!", and just nodded instead.

Relaxed, sun-kissed, coffeed up, with a train ticket in my pocket. Must be time to go home.

1 comment:

shellity said...

RAH RAH RAH! What a ripping yarn!

The thing that surprised me most: The phrase, "...aesthetic sensibilities satisfied..." at the end of a bit about Newcastle.

The thing that surprised me least: Your unmistakeable Big-Smoke-iness. Breakfast baguette indeed.