You could put it down to a scheduling issue. Which, when you think about it, is quite embarrassing for a project manager. But in my defence, I delegated the booking to my trusted lieutenant. I wasn't to know he would be bloody useless at it.
So this is how we found ourselves, 3 grown men, on the Gold Coast, at Surfers Paradise, bang at the start of schoolies week. OK, further mitigation could be had that we are from the UK, and don't (didn't) have the foggiest idea what schoolies was. My readers from the UK may want to Google it, then try and suppress your childish giggles. In town, with 30,000 schoolgirls, with our reputation! (said in the manner of the Fast Show, aka Paul Whitehouse, just in case anybody reads that as a literal statement.)
When word got out at work, via my boss!, to the whole bank, via her boss, that I was off to schoolies, a week of constant piss taking followed.
Apparently, I would now be a toolie. Somebody of an older generation who purposely goes to "observe" the (away from home for the first time) schoolies. Have I got my hard hat? For unidentified flying objects being dispatched from windows. It was even suggested, once I had explained what they were, that settees have been known to come out of the sky. I said I'm not sure what helmets they sell but not sure any would save me from an errant flying settee!
|Our, not so, salubrious lodgings!|
Another theme was that I was going to be locked up. For what, I could never really establish. Tagged and having to remain at Mosman. Deported. Oh, I could go on. That said, I did work out that it has been 18 years since I was last in Surfers Paradise, and most of the 30,000 schoolies hadn’t even been born then.
Yet, here I am, back in one piece, still a free man, without so much as a stain on my character. And what a weekend it was. Much better than I had actually anticipated, after all the hype about what carnage it would be. As has happened before, I do wonder what a lot of Australian's frame of reference is. Mine, for carnage, would be a night out around Liverpool or Newcastle (UK), where you could be lucky to get home in one piece. Surfers, even for schoolies, was very tame by comparison. Great fun, but tame all the same.
Being back in Sydney, and seeing some of the news headlines and coverage of it, I'm convinced it is all a result of media hype. It is just a bunch of kids, being kids. Letting off steam and enjoying some new found freedom. And good luck to them I say.
Despite our weekend being very short, flying up straight from work on Friday, and back home on Sunday night, we had a great time and loads of laughs. I'm not sure if some of the stuff, like random photos, was actually that funny, but it could have been the copious amounts of Guinness that lubricated the laughing gene.
What was funny was finding out about hidden desires to be a hairdresser. A desire surely only let free as a result of the aforementioned alcohol. I've asked the person involved never to admit this again to anybody. Ever. Yet, if you travel with him, the GHD straighteners and fancy hairdryer might just give the game away.
I think the world record for eating the most Twixes in one weekend was comfortably broken. And they were all eaten by the same man. Not me.
I also met my very first ever people from Halifax...Nova Scotia in Canada. Whilst whiling away a few hours, people watching in Kitty O'Shea's, we got talking to the barmaids, both of whom hail from Halifax. And yet didn't know each other until they met at work in Surfers. It just shows you how small the world is, and how we serendipitously meet people through our lives. Fate, destiny, or just pure coincidence? You decide.
Now we need to start thinking of where to take the tour next. New Zealand and Bali are emerging as hot favourites, yet would need more than a flying visit.
We will keep thinking, but in the meantime, I am off to polish the bugle. I could have a busy week ahead.