If I ever have to define an adventure for somebody I’m going to explain what happened last Saturday night.
We were meant to be seeing a play. Decided not to. Had drinks instead on William St in an empty pub save for the tennis blaring on the platinum TV screens and a couple waiting for Godot (one of these men found Federer incredibly frustrating and worked it out by swearing at his bowl of nuts). This pub was remarkable only for the number of sneaky hidden steps (like the constant surprise of silent letters) that filled it. I think there must have been quite a few hidden cameras for the staff to pass the time watching everybody, drunk or sober, trip up.
Dinner. Bill and Toni’s on Stanley Street. White paper tablecloth. A constant supply of orange cordial. A schnitzel on a plate (just a schnitzel, save for the over-steamed carrot sticks trying to kamakaze off the side). ‘Salad’: chopped up iceberg lettuce. An unashamed/beautiful bowl of tomato sauce.
Move to the footpath outside with beers.
Move across the street to The Hazy Rose. Perhaps one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been in, but without the hipster-intimidation of most. On special, fresh summer fruit juiced in front of you with your favourite liquor. Cue frothy pineapple and rum. Cue The Clash’s London Calling. Cue Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ and Pulp-Fiction-dancing. Cue overwhelming joy.
Midnight strikes. Bar closes. Head towards Town Hall to catch the bus home.
Wait a second. There are people in Hyde Park having fun. Let’s go look. 1.5 minutes later and we’ve joined the Sydney Festival Up Late crowd. Try to follow another girl who we think has found a way to sneak into the Spiegeltent. End up in the disabled toilet with said girl. Partake in the confusing sparkling/regular water tap system. Watch a group of girls dancing in a circle. The one guy in their party walks away and they immediately disband. Watch the beauty of people dancing by themselves. Watch the tables and tables of carefully made mess – hair, clothes, mannerisms. Smile at the Festival staff, all who are incredibly friendly and dressed in bracers.
Leave again for bus. Walk past woman (with a partly shaved head and dreadlocks on the rest, swept up in a bun. It was like a tsunami of hair) and man smoking weed just outside Festival barrier, staring at the trees.
Abandon bus – plan to aim for Circular Quay, for water. Walk through Pitt St Mall, drinking beer. A French man approaches, asks for a swig so he can wash down the pill he’s just swallowed. Start talking to him and his friend, both who seem to be caricatures of attractive Parisian males. Start walking with them towards a hard-dub-deep-bass-something club around the corner. Stand for a bit as they finish their cigarattes.
The one I talk to – Mr Pill – has an exquisitely trimmed beard and a cap that seems a very real extension of his face. He talks to me about the danger of growing up in the outer suburbs of Paris. About how his cousin is a drug dealer who’s learnt the magic rule – don’t take your own product and you’ll make a whole bunch of money. Also, when dope-heads come at you, you’ll have a clear head and know whether it’s a good idea to knife them or not. This man I was talking to is never bothered by anybody – I think the cousin’s knifing skills might stretch beyond dope fiends.
Walk down into the belly of a building. Music ripples towards us like a heat wave. We find out it’s $25 each to get in and quickly pivot back up the stairs, abandoning our French men to the darkness.
Start off towards the harbour again. Pass a pair of abondoned trousers – someone decided they could do without – and a surprising number of abandoned girls with heels bigger than their skirts.
Walk past The Ivy. Everyone standing outside, security and patrons alike, looks hard and mean. Neon dresses. Hair-gel that could cut like a knife. Tightened muscles under tight shirts.
Make it to the Quay. Sit on a bench and look at the watery Harbour Bridge and its solid cousin, the dancer and the drugdealer. There are a surprising amount of people that walk around at 2am.
Go to some pub to pee. This one also has a tricky front step. Play a game at the bar – pretend we’re strangers and we’re trying to pick each other up except each line we use has to be more outrageous than the last. First person to laugh loses.
Go and wait for our bus.
Invest in some McDonald’s chips. Only two people are working and they’re handwriting orders. Suddenly a mile-long queue is behind us and there’s one guy at a table with a mountain of burgers, laughing at all the hungry people.
Go and wait for our bus, again.
It’s 4am when we find our pillows.
Lesson: aim to catch the last bus.