Sun, sea, sand, stag.
Thursday, November 3, 2005

Ah sunlight. Where would be without it? Well, not in existence apparently but I'm more referring to the process whereby we smear a combination of oil and water all over ourselves and lie in the light, hoping to turn our skin a slightly darker colour. Magical.

Such opportunities having been unavailable to me in the UK (and Sydney come to that), I eagerly bounded out to absorb some rays. Lovely. I'd like to say Monday was more daring and exciting than that but no. It was just me in sunshine. The following day however was slightly more interesting as we decided to go to Australia Zoo. This was actually founded by Steve "Crikey!" Irwin's father and now Steve and his wife own and run it. It's rather impressive, what with a very hands on approach to animals (koalas and kangaroos both there to be stroked), plus a presentation every day of the animals in the Crocoseum (sponsored by an interminable number of companies). They showed snakes, tigers, birds and crocodiles , although the highlight was definitely in the bird section. This huge eagle came out, soaring across the stadium, flying from one side to the other onto the zoo keeper's outstretched arms. Except for the time that he rather overshot and had to land on the next obvious perch which happened to be the shoulder of a five year old girl who naturally enough screamed and cried her head off. What was particularly peculiar was the way the presenter carried on talking, reassuring that it was just a bit windy and the eagle had gotten a bit off course. Well, duh. He also offered to take the child out with the bird later, just one on one. As though that child was ever going to want to do anything but run in fear from all birds from now on.

Not everyday you get to see someone's childhood trauma take place (although I'd probably recommend the circus as the best place to do so. Clowns. *shudders*)

After that, it was back home to catch some more sun and then have a little wander around the local neighbourhood. The real fun was set for tomorrow.

A quick word about my brother: mean. A long word about my brother: malevolent. Or maybe machiavellian. Basically there were people at the wedding who had flown the 12,000 miles specfically to take their revenge upon him. He had already had one stag weekend but on Wednesday it was time for a bonus one. He was very fortunate in his choice of wife in that people who knew her were aware that she would track, hunt and kill anyone who derailed the ceremony so that meant no shaved heads, eyebrows or dumping in the middle of the countryside while wearing a bunny costume. However, we were allowed to take him out for a drink.

First of all we went out to Sunshine beach, a most glorious stretch of land reaching pretty much as far as you could see. We set up a game of beach cricket but to make things more interesting, we gave Robert a woman's hat, shirt and skirt to wear. He was still a better cricketer than me even in that getup. Bah. Anyway, we played in the sand for a while, then the water (which had such a huge tidal pull, we had to get out and walk across the beach to stop ourselves being dragged all the way along the shore) then finally to the local lifeguard institution which seemed to be mostly used as a pub. We then regrouped back in town for a few drinking games. My brother is a master of drinking games (you may know thumb master, head master, surf master, freeze master, drink while you think, fizz buzz, among many others) and normally uses this knowledge to crucify all those he plays with. However this time, it was 14 against one.

Two hours in and he was much the worse for wear, certainly not helped when my uncle pulled Rob's hat over his head and pretended to be steering him like a go-kart. You can imagine how pleasent that is while drunk. After that, karaoke. My family has roughly two tones between us in our singing voices so you can imagine the horror as Robert was summoned again and again to sing for our (and the crowd's) entertainment. I think his rendition of Dancing Queen will take some suppressing. One of Rob's mates, in fact his former boss, proved to be quite the sensation on the dance floor by which I mean everyone got clear of his path for fear of accidental bloodshed. What he lacked in moves he made up for in energy and sheer unashamedness. I later found out that he had once been at a dinner for Ernst & Young, attended by several important bigwigs, and had proceeded to dive head first across the table, smashing every plate, glass and tray in his path.

Another slightly classier bar was our next stop, its sophistication slightly brought down by us putting Robert into a dress and parading him around. Rachel looked quite interested, my sister was very horrified. More drinks were poured down him before Rachel took the opportunity to smuggle him out of there and back home at about two in the morning. Wuss. The rest of us carried on to a club called Reef where we danced the rest of the night away (despite the strict dress code precluding us from wearing our oh so cool baseball caps).

What was slightly disturbing was that as the twenty or so of us cavorted away, some random guy tried to ingratiate himself with us. Given that none of us knew him, he made no attempt to actually talk to any of us and he was semi-dancing weirdly at just the girls, this rather perturbed us. What was even more worrying was that come chucking out time, he stood right in the middle of our group then started walking home with us. One of the girls explained to him that he wasn't actually coming home with any of us and he disappeared into the woods. Strange guy.

The following day was mostly spent licking our wounds and catching what few rays we could of sun because the sky turned cloudy and a storm thundered and the rain fell. Things were not looking promising for the glorious wedding day we had set for the following day. Surely fate wouldn't be that cruel to the couple on their wedding day?

To be continued...


Thursday, November 3, 2005 12:16 PM


You speak of others singing and dancing...what of Mr. SimonWho? Did he stun everyone with his smooth moves?


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