Friday, 22 November 2013

How Not To Be A Tourist

The hardest thing about recalling events that occurred over a year ago is the actual recalling itself - it seems I have made a critical chronological error and misplaced some events that I simply cannot leave out should my misadventures be recapped in an accurately Murphy-law-like manner. And so I ask your forgiveness, fair readers (yes - that's you, Mammy), and request that you haul your mind back a few weeks, before we pawned off Dallas to the Estonian, before Beanie Face and Cali Gurrrl went their separate ways, to the day that the Boyfriend's sister and her friend - hereby referred to as Donkey and Fire Crotch, respectively - landed in Melbourne as a stopover in their round-the-world trip.
The girls were the dream of every tourist trap in town. Their first outing into the city saw their return to the house that afternoon in matching tracksuits in blue and red, each with an accompanying jumper emblazoned with a kangaroo silhouette and the word "Australia" in black capitalized calligraphy. 
As we were working during the week, we tried to organise fun things to do for the weekends we had with the girls. The itinerary was as follows.
Weekend One:
Afraid they would end up penniless at the mercy of the market floggers, we decided to visit Mornington Peninsula miles from the city for their first weekend. The Peninsula is renown in Victoria as being home to the wonderful Penguin Parade - where actual baby penguins traipse up the beach to the joy of the human spectator - and spectacular views of over three hundred seals that have made homes of the rocks that jut sporadically a short way from the coast.
We rocked up to the lookout point that Saturday, and the minute we stepped out of the car, black clouds raced over to piss their contents all over our heads. The Boyfriend and I plastered some manic grins on our faces, and soldiered on down the walkway, the wind whipping at our faces, Donkey and Fire Crotch desperately clutching their matching jumpers to keep the cheap fabric from unravelling. It turned out that the infamous penguins wouldn't be making their pilgrimage until dusk, and since it was only just gone nine in the morning, the general consensus was to forego that particular sight and it's outrageous price-tag. We asked the lady at reception about the seals we'd heard so much about - turns out those guys are near impossible to reach in hurricane-like weather in winter and unless we were willing to man a dingy, there was little chance we were going to come face to face with any clapping, barking blubbery mammals any time soon. We took some blurry photos of the grey landscape, and made our way back to Dallas.
Weekend Two:
"We'll go out and get drunk!" I suggested merrily. I'll keep this one short (hold your breath): 
Cali Gurrrl jumped off the tram fourteen stops early from our intended destination. 
Cali Gurrrl - somehow - lost one of her shoes.
Beanie Face jumped off thirteen stops early to find Cali Gurrrl.
I awoke from my peaceful slumber on said tram after much prodding to leap off still-moving tram twelve stops early for no decipherable reason.
We - somehow - reached the city. 
We crossed a bridge in Melbourne city about four times while we steadily got rejected from every pub that has snaked its way into the city's darkest crevices.
Donkey - somehow - discovered one of Cali Gurrrl's disappearing shoes in her handbag.
Donkey subsequently hurled said Shoedini off the bridge as we crossed it the fourth and final time.
We got a taxi.
Donkey got sick in the taxi.
The Boyfriend had to pay for damages and Cali Gurrrl woke up at some ungodly morning hour to knock on everyone's door to ask if they'd seen - of all things - her shoe.
Weekend Three:
"Will we drive to Sydney?"
The Boyfriend was responsible for this inspired suggestion. We all piled into Dallas, and hit the road midday that Friday. Eight hours later, we were spinning in circles in Sydney, the cars undercarriage scraping worryingly off the bumpy Sydney roads, The Boyfriend's eyes about to pop out of his very skull in frustration as he screamed at me to find the hotel. I regarded the printed off Google maps directions, suitably perplexed and pointed in random directions until we eventually arrived, an hour after check-in time. A large, dreadlocked Nigerian woman came to the door after several extended doorbell rings, and led us angrily to our cramped room. We spent the day knocking around the city, visiting the Home and Away set - which was disappointingly devoid of any topless surfers - and taking the typical screen shots of the Opera House. 
We bought tickets for the Sunday to go whale watching, smugly reassured with the company's "whale-guarantee" sales pitch. That very smugness was quickly banished when, after three hours at sea, we had only spotted what could have been a whale's tail from a distance, while other boats crowded around the actual specimens, blocking our view. Our boat slowly disintegrated into chaos, as our mostly Asian counterparts all proceeded to be struck down with an overwhelming sea-sickness.
In saying all that, as we rocked back in forth in our stinking boat, vomit riveting past perilously close to our feet, with the "experts" excuses for the lack of whales coming thick and fast over the intercom, I was actually extremely happy. 
Donkey, Fire Crotch, The Boyfriend and I could not stop laughing the whole way back from Sydney at our sheer bad luck. And as the two girls made their way back to the airport a few nights later, I can admit I shed a tear for the little bit of home they brought with them that rainy July in 2012, just when we needed a bit of Ireland the most.