Published: March 22nd 2012March 17th 2012
Saturday 17th March
Happy Paddy’s day. Top ‘o ‘th’ morning to ya. Shamrock. Guinness. Toothless simpletons. People with eyebrows on their cheeks (credit A.P.). Other Irish things.
I woke up with my passport lost. I found it eventually, but where that was was very sandy, which suggests where I must’ve been the night before, esp. as I was sandy also. The evidence (i.e. the sand) mounted.
Lunch with northern Dave. One of the best Pad Thai I ever had. Unfort. I can’t recall where that was but take it from me; you can get a great Pad Thai in Byron Bay, somewhere...
Met up with everyone from the hostel on the beach for Paddy’s day celebrations – more green punch – mmm! (This time with extra sand.) There was a group of the drunkest Dublin boggers I had e’er seen. One started talking to a Canadian fellow:
“Wher’ y’ f’a’?”
“Wher’ y’ o’?”
I pipe up: “He said where are you from.”
“Fo’n shoi’ ho’”
“He said it’s a fucking shite hole.”
“Wher’ y’ o’?”
“He asked where you were from again.”
“This time he said it’s a nice spot.”
This went on for a while; I was designated translator it seems. Every few seconds the Irish guy would go “Yo’ ga’ loi’?” (Have you got a lighter?), forgetting he had asked 6 seconds ago and dropping his cigarette for the 50th
time. Each time he’d say “Who sta’ moi’ fa?” (Who stole my fag?) Then realise it was in the sand and place it back between his stereotypical lips.
After some volleyball, which I can confirm I am SHIT
at, it started, as they say in Ireland “pis’ i’ dooo’” (raining), so we retired to the hostel for more Paddyesque drinking (i.e. lots of drinking).
I sat at a table and introduced myself as Phil – there were 3 other Phils, all from UK – whe-hey! (N.b. sarcasm). It was pointed out that I was the poshest (which I reacted to by becoming more posh) and soon we started singing – I found a little metal ashtray bucket and a glass and provided percussion along with the table. Everyone was far more drunk than me, but that dissuaded the Philster not a jot. All too soon I had to say goodbye, shower off the sand and catch the 12 hour bus ride to Sydney.
Transport anecdote (look away now). My ticket said I must check in 30 mins before departure, or I may not get on board. Like an idiot I took it literally, and was there 40 minutes to be sure (Irish pun intended). 15 mins to go and it had not turned up, so I dashed back to the hostel to ask them, they said it would prob turn up soon. 10 mins to go and a drunk aboriginal guy started having seizures at the bus stop. I asked around if anyone had a phone to call an ambulance (no one thought to do so!!). The guy’s friends put him in the recovery position. 5 mins to departure and he was whisked away in an ambulance. I asked a driver of another company about my bus and he said it was late – it had left after him at the last place and was supposed to leave before. He suggested I check at the company office which was, of course, closed. Just then a German (what else?) girl called Miia (I checked the spelling) turned up for the same bus, assuring me that the 30 mins check-in thing was bullshit – they were normally late. So I said “In that case I’m just going over the road to buy some water [for I was thirsty from booze intake and running], could you watch my bags?” “No problem.”
4 minutes later I returned with my water and could see my bus down the end of the road, driving away. My bags were lying on the pavement.
“Hey!” said a lady tramp*, “you’ve missed your bus, a girl said to say sorry, they couldn’t wait.” In the old days, readers, I would have cursed the universe and myself, but I’ve learned a thing or two since then.**
“Do you know what direction it’ll leave the town?”
She pointed yonder: “Back that way on the main road, if you run, you might catch it heading back.” Good enough for me. With a “thanks” I moved my scrawny legs*** as fast as they would go. I could see the bus turning in the distance and so ran to intercept. The pavements were full so I took to the roads, running along the middle much to the understandable frustration of drivers, who expressed themselves via the car horn. I came to a crossroads and saw the bus approaching. It must have been an odd sight to see a pasty mad pommie waving a piece of paper in the air and sprinting into the middle of a busy junction. Again, more aural protests from car horns, and the bus driver gestured to the side of the road. The door opened, I got in and presently collapsed in the aisle (I had not exercised in a month****.)
I was relieved, partly as I knew from South African Chris that there were no more rooms left in Byron Bay on account of Paddy’s day, and also that I was damned if I was going to pay another $100 for a bus ticket. I sat back in my seat, pondering what would have happened if I had missed that bus.*****
Now call me cynical (really, go ahead. Although you might want to listen to what I have to say before you judge) but we stopped twice during the 12 hour bus journey and both times were at stand-alone McDonalds. Does the bus company have a sneaky deal going with Maccy D’s?
I’ll let you decide.******
*not to be confused with ‘Lady and the Tramp’, about the spaghetti-eating dogs.
** I really only mean a thing or two. Three things, at most.
***Scrawny legs which have completed a half-marathon in 1:36:06, mind.
****My 1:36:06 half-marathon was some time ago.
*****It probably wouldn’t have been that bad, really.
******The answer is probably yes, given the evidence.