Our Going Away Bash
My travelling days had to start somewhere. This is what happened on my last night in Australia.
My best friend Graham and I were walking past a travel agency one day. We stopped, regarded each other for a moment and entered. When we emerged again about half an hour later, we both had booked tickets to Germany. We chose Germany because it was about as far away as we could get from home. We were young and free, there was no better time to do it.
A month later it was Saturday the 19th of February, 2000. All the stress and hassle of organising what to take, what to leave, finishing work, packing up my room, (because I most likely would not be returning for at least 6 months), sorting out my tax, etc, had finally culminated in a last swim with friends at a local swimming hole.
I was amazed that I had managed to get everything done on time. We were to leave the next day. Graham and I knew, or could sense somehow, that after tonight, nothing would ever be the same again. This would be the last time we would all live in the same town together and hang out day to day, young and carefree. So, we enjoyed our last swim with our mate Xenek, at a place called “Ross & Locke”. Tonight’s party was going to be a ripper.
I went home for the last time and packed my new backpack. I wasn’ t nervous, just filled with anticipation. My life was about to change drastically and this would be my last day in Australia for three years – though I did not know it yet. Once I had finished packing, I grabbed my bag and got a lift to my father’s. I hung out with my Dad for a while, then got another lift to Xenek’s place at 22 Victoria Street. This was an old house rented by my friends Xenek and Cameron and occupied by just about anyone who wanted to party and be irresponsible. It was known simply as “22 Vic Street” and it was famous.
I could not believe how many people had turned up. I didn’t know I had that many friends. It was incredible. Even some I had not seen in years were there. Along with friends were family members, which was fantastic. The drinks were topped up as quickly as they were consumed and it was a great night of well-wishing. As the night drew on and people “got together”, or at least attempted to, the alcohol certainly worked its magic. Somewhere in the midst of all this, somebody suggested that we should walk into town. What was the point of this? I don’t know, but considering how drunk I was at the time, it sounded like a great idea!
Myself, Graham, Glenn, Cameron and 15 year old Shawn all set off into town. I don’t remember what was happening with the party, but I assume it was still in full swing. Ten minutes or so later, we were in the city centre. Actually, it probably took longer, we weren’t exactly walking straight. We found ourselves outside a Japanese restaurant called “Cherry Blossom”. For some reason, we went down an alley around the back, did some climbing and ended up on the roof. Awesome! Luckily we had some “Magic Pixie Drink” with us, which is usually a mixture of just about anything alcoholic, all thrown together into a soft drink bottle. Usually, by the time we are drinking this, the taste is no longer a problem.
So, there we were sitting on the roof, looking down at Saturday night in Cairns, drinking and talking shit. It was great, but before long, I needed to relieve myself. Of course in the state I was in, I decided that taking a leak off the roof would be a great idea, so I did just that. Half way through, guess who drives past and shines a light right at me? The police of course. We tried to make a break for it, but as we were coming down into the alley around the back of the building, they were there waiting for us. Shawn, being only 15, was overlooked by the police, and took to his heals. The rest of us were locked into the back of the “Paddy Wagon” and taken to the police station. I was lucky I had my camera with me.
The four of us were told to wait in an interrogation room and taken out individually to be interviewed by a police officer. We all received the standard “I can hear your mates laughing. This is a very serious matter” lecture. Meanwhile the sound of giggling and the camera shutter accompanied by flashes could be seen and heard through the open door of the interrogation room. Eventually, they were finished with us, and we were escorted down to the holding cells. All our possessions were temporarily confiscated, and the strings from our shorts removed. The cells were bare concrete with green perspex doors and concrete benches. Thin grey blankets were left in there for us. Apparently, the longest they can hold us for being drunk in public is three hours, well, at least that’s what my mates told me. I hoped they were right. We were supposed to be departing at about 7:30am.
After a very cold and uncomfortable nap, we were set free. We were each given charge sheets and let out on $2 bail which we paid ourselves. It was 6:00am, so we walked back to Xenek’s place, grabbed our gear and my mother took us to the airport. Our families were there to see us off, plus a few friends. Fortunately, I had remembered to bring two hash cookies each. I changed into a clean shirt in the toilet. A quick goodbye, then Graham and I, still drunk and hungover at the same time, probably stinking terribly as well, ate a cookie each and were on our way. It was a surreal flight, they were super strong cookies. Graham passed out straight away and 3.5 hours later, we were descending into Denpassar, Bali.
During the descent, I remembered we still had a cookie each, so we scoffed those. It didn’t take long to get through customs, but then again, we were both completely stoned, so who knows how long it really took? Straight back into the hot and humid tropics we went. No nice airconditioned terminal here. As soon as we cleared customs, we were mobbed by people wanting to “help” us carry our bags. What they do is grab them first and then ask if you want help. Once you get to the taxi, they demand money. I asked how much, and a guy showed me a RP50,000 note folded up in his hand. I don’t remember how much we gave them, but I am sure it was a lot. We were so stoned, and they knew it – we had “sucker” written on our foreheads. I should have known better, this was not my first time in Indonesia, but hey, considering the state we were in…
The taxi took us to a hotel. We procured a cheap double room and passed out under the fan. Goodbye Australia! What a way to go…