Kiwiland at last!!

Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 01, 2006

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Finally dragged myself away from Sydney. Nice to relax, but too much, and one becomes complacent, or on the other side, restless and wanting to get back on the "geto" backpacker trail.
They cancelled my flight. Rerouted me through Aukland, adding 5 hours or better to my travel time. After 12 hours I finally reached christchurch center, tired, disoriented, and hungry. This place is loaded, I mean absolutely loaded with backpacker places, most clean and sanitary, and a little more like houses of incarceration than anything else. Cheap, though, and that's why I'm in one now. Fortunately it is only a two-person "dorm" and my roomie last night was a cool dude from scotland. Never know who you are going to get, though, roll the dice.

After checking in I went on the scout for cheap beer, in hopes of sampling the local offerings, but had not the best luck in the city centre. As it is more populated with travelers and tourists who hardly know any better, the beer is a little more expensive than it has to be. Though I am on a shoestring, tasting the local brews is a must, and calms the nerves after a long day's flight, so therefore is in the priority box, just after food and water and shelter. .
South of the commercialized center of the city the streets clear out and start to look more like a normal city on a normal night. Graffiti. A broken bottle. I smell dive bar! Sure enough, across the four-lane road there it is. Tonight! Karaoke!
Try as I might, I can never really understand the allure of Karaoke. Well, I guess I can understand it, but as far as condoning it, well, most know that I am of the opinion that one should just buy a goddamn guitar and learn to play the damn thing. But that is just, as we say in internet speak, "IMHO.. . " It's a 15 minutes of fame thing, I guess, did that nutty Andy Warthog predict the onslaught of karaoke when he made his famous prediction? Or is something worse on the way? God help us.

Well, the beer was cheap enough, a jug for 6.50 in NZ dollars, about 4 bucks US, so not too bad, I supposed that the tax one pays for being there on a wednesday night is to have to sit through overweight, ugly, or just plain freakish people singing corny songs with all the talent of a howling coyote getting castrated. Also they had a nice little patio on which one could actually have a cigarette and beer at the same time. Weighing it out with my intractable yet balanced Libra nature, the scales tipped toward cheap beer and cigarettes, the simultaneous nature thereof being the clincher. .

Inside it was just like any other local-style bar in Quincy, Weymouth, Albany, Hartford, or some other such suburb of my beloved Boston. They all look alike to me once you get past Somerville anyway. And, as an added surprise, the Karaokeans (surely a tribe unto themselves), or at least most of them, were not actually half bad. Loud, though. I decided to stay out on the smoking terrace, what the hell, that's where the cool kids hang anyway, and the "music" is not quite so intrusive. .
I was chatted up by a young lady for a while, and she looked good from far, and as she approached I realized the converse--she was far from good. But she was nice enough, and actually, all the local weirdos were. A couple of lushy ladies, one babbling at the top of her voice to no-one got thrown gently into a waiting taxi, a few mouth-breathers, and a couple of the faux-gangsta wannabes who seem to be as plentiful and unavoidable as Israeli yahoos or Irish Pubs in this world of ours. I'd like to take each one and plant him in Dudley Square for 15 minutes, day or night. I guarantee they wouldn't listen to that crap ever again. .
All in all, just the kind of place I've found myself in in every state of the union (and, I might extend, every state of intoxication and/or undress), sticky floor, pool tables dim lighting, tired old drunken broads, cross-eyed jarheads trying to focus their double-seeing eyes on you to determine if you are friend or foe. Like coming home at last. .well, not really. Generally when I find such places it is like New York. A nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to get drunk there. .

After a jug and a few smokes, I wiped the drool from the rabble off the table and my shoes, bucked up, and made the trek back to my cell, my slight glow taking the edge off of the locker room smell of the geto backpacker's penitentiary. . .
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