Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tattooed Maoris, Tiger airways and the Coast of Gold
Rocco and the K over the Brisbane River
So one would think that a weekend in the Gold Coast as Melbourne winter has well and truly proven that it's not going anywhere for a while would be a good thing and a trip worth looking forward to. If only we'd known the dramas, near fights, hang-overs, expenses and dodgy riff raff we'd come across, I think we would have cut our losses, stayed home and turned on the heater for the weekend. Unfortunately, Captain Funk is still refining his psychic skills and failed to see the nightmare that the trip would become; so off we all set, with luggage in hands and the sun in our sights.
Night #1 involved catching up with my two favourite Brisbane men Andy and Elton and what was supposed to be a tour of all the most fabulous venues Brisbane has to offer. Unfortunately Elton and I got too noodled before Andy, Captain Funk and his lady rocked up and what ensured was a night in seedy pubs, smelly bars and diffusing fights between drunken bogans and our very own Captain Funk. Who would have thought he had it in him. None of us remember a lot, but we do have a couple of shots to prove we were there....
Now that's art!!!
Captain Funk, Andy and Elton make friends...awwww
Next day I awoke in Elton's lounge and the first thing I saw was a table full of toys... this could only be bad when combined with the hangover that was already showing signs of existence. Little Rocco was a bit weary of the thing that had taken over his play space and experienced what I imagine was his first taste of falling asleep alone and waking up with a chick on his carpet. He's only young, many more of those opportunities await him as he matures past 2. Anyway, we made tentative friends later and Elton and I worked our way through the 7 steps to hangover cure, choosing to spend that time, at a random school fete. Here's Rocco getting acquainted...
And since we're at the fete, you've got to check these out...
It seems that the quintessential difference between QLD community choirs and Melbourne community choirs is the colours they wear... the sound, I assure you, is very much the same.
The skipping kids who were more than happy to get all K'd up.
And so we leave Brisvegas and head for the coast, where things go from seedy to down-right dodgy. The show was awful and the crowd failed to laugh; even when the banana lounge I'd borrowed collapsed half way through the show and Captain Funk pulled out the greatest 1-liner I'd ever heard him mutter: 'banana split!' We were forced to head back to our hostel and make our plans for a memory-drowning night on the town.
Don't ask me how or more importantly why we ended up hanging out with a facially tattooed Maori called 'Choice' and his side-Kick 'Mick' who claimed to live in a penthouse, shag 5 chicks a week and get us any drug we so desired... but we did and what's worse, we ended up at Choice's house drinking beers and wondering what had led us to this point in our lives.
The next morning CF and his lady friend headed back to Brisbane to perform and I got my stuff together to fly home... that was until I discovered I was no longer in possession of my wallet. I had $10 key deposit to my name, no wallet, no mates and no real plan. After power-walking through re-traced steps with no sign of it re-appearing, I found myself amongst society's lowest of the lows in line at the police station. I was hoping to report the thing gone and that they'd help get me to the airport to catch my fast disappearing flight and also sort me out with some kind of ID, of which I was now significantly lacking...
The police woman gave me a business card with my name and a number on it and $20 from her own wallet and sent me back out into the increasingly scary world to deal with my nightmare. I convinced the backpacker who drove the shuttle bus at the backpackers to drive me to the airport for $30 and we were on our way...
I had no idea how far Coolangatta was, especially as my new dread-locked friend tried to talk to me about song writing whilst cruising his way down the highway at a very Rastafarian speed. We found the tiger terminal, 2 mins past check in time and I ran to the counter, flinging my bags on the conveyor belt and ...... at the lady my whole sordid tale up to that point. She merely smiled and continued with her paperwork and once I'd finished, smiled thinly at me and begun her much to be repeated phrase: 'I'm sorry but unfortunately there's nothing I can do'. She told me she not only wouldn't let me on the flight that was still half an hour from leaving, but that it would cost me $70 to catch the next one, even though she now knew I didn't have a wallet or any money to my name.
I began to panic and cry, of which I almost never do, tears usually don't come easily to me, but I think I used up about 2 year's quota in one day once it was all over. She told me to take a seat and she would attend to me in 30 minutes. I was so lost and upset that I just stood at the counter and cried, unable to move for a good 10 minutes. I eventually made my way to the plastic seats reserved for bored, frustrated, tired, hungry victims of Tiger Airways and cried my way through a phone call to my blessed brother who assured me he'd pay the $70 over the phone and all would be well again. Well, he too underestimated the cold-hearted inflexible policies of Tiger and I was made to cry, once again by the stony faced lady as she told me in a recorded message like tone that they don't accept credit card payments over the phone and unfortunately, there was nothing they could do.....
I picked up my extremely heavy bags, turned and walked away from her without saying bye... that showed her!
I found myself sitting on the bench outside, yes, crying... what can I say, its a running theme... and about to experience the kindness of strangers when a lady came over, listened to my sad tale and patted my back saying repeatedly, 'that's no good dear'. I asked her for a lift to the main terminal as I knew if I had to drag my suitcases (that I insist on being groovy vintage rather then ugly roller) all the way from the back blocks of Tiger to the main terminal my spirit would break to irreparable proportions. I walked into Virgin, the cute man at the counter let me on the next flight with the police business card as my ID and his sympathetic ear as my turning point. $300 later, i had myself what I had been fighting all day to have in my hand: a boarding pass. It was over an hour until take off. I was starving having not eaten all day and no money to rectify that, exhausted from 3 nights of almost no sleep and enough adrenalin pumped through my blood to keep an Olympic team running for a week and I was not letting go of that boarding pass. I put it in my bag for 1 minute, but panicked and grabbed it back out. I was like a first time traveller with their passport.
And when I saw the skyscrapers of Melbourne, I would have shed a tear had I any left for the city I had fought so hard to get to and my family who got me home and were waiting for me at a restaurant to celebrate mothers day and as it turns out, my return from the evil clutches of the Gold Coast.
As a result of this tour: I will never take my wallet out when planning on hanging out with dodgy types after bad shows, I will never take gigs with such slim profit margains and most importantly: I will never, ever fly Tiger Airways again and I strongly suggest, you don't either.