A Birthday with a Bang!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

'So how d'you feel?'

Today I was a little 'different'. Over me and around me followed that little invisible 'glow' which started to shine at midnight last night and has pretty much followed me around throughout the course of my day and night, shining on me ever so gently. It is of course my birthday and I'm pleased to say that I've successfully managed to have made it quite safely through this tumbling rollercoaster of a journey of life, relatively unscathed, all the way through to this grand old age of thirty. The big 'three-zero'. It hasn't actually bothered me that much really until I got thinking and realised that this was the first day of my fourth decade. I didn't wake up with two heads or anything so when the old gel called to wish her little ray of sunshine a very happy birthday I could only tell her that I felt exactly the same as I did yesterday, when she very inquisitively asked: 'how d'you feel'. Three times.

Quite honestly, I think I was more bothered about reaching thirty when I was in my twenties. It actually feels quite nice really now that it's here. I think I've grown quite a lot in my twenties (unfortunately not in height) and I know that I've also grown a lot in the last six months. I'm actually quite excited at the thought of this 'new chapter' of my life, of which I now find myself sitting on a blank, crisp new page just like the ones that follow it. Once again the ball is in my court and it's totally up to me to put as much colour on these pages as I can.

Just one of the things I've learned from dear little Shiny is that growing older is actually a wonderful thing. To go through it laughing, smiling and humouring yourself on the way is what it's all about. It's certainly not worth being dragged through the years kicking and screaming at the thought of losing them. You may as well just go straight to the end of the line. She'll kill me for saying so but Shiny head's got absolutely no hang-ups whatsoever about making a fool of herself. The point is she does it with a smile and a passion for life, and I know with all my heart that when her life eventually flashes before her eyes she's not gonna have any regrets at all. Good on her I say. She'll always bring a smile to my little face.

What did make me feel a little different this morning as opposed to most other mornings is the way in which I was woken up. It was around 6am when I felt a huge bolt of immense energy bang through my body as the explosion boomed out from right behind the van. It was so immediate. In a split-second, as well as shitting myself I'd already concluded that the holiday park building behind had exploded. I was momentarily paralysed and petrified. I rushed to drag the curtains back and to look outside. It was dark, eerie and still. Something was definitely looming in the air. The flash of light that followed illuminated the van and the whole camping ground from dark to the very peak of daylight in a split-second before the second clap of thunder followed closely behind. The sky was covered with a thick, black blanket so low it was nearly touching the rooftops. The whole performance got progressively worse and carried on for some time as it continued to move slowly over. When the fire sirens started churning the whole feel of the place became cold and dark. The fire sirens in New Zealand are exact replicas of the old WWII sirens used in the war. So yeah it was pretty scary. I just sat up in bed, cowering in that little van looking out of the window. What made it worse was that there was no movement from anyone else, no lights, nothing. I was sure I was the only one. I couldn't get over how powerful and intimidating it was. I thought I had been in a thunderstorm before. I hadn't. Brett and Sylvia had come running over from home to open up the reception knowing full well that many of us would be terrified. To them it was quite normal. I'd decided to get up anyway and watch it from the cosiness of the dining room while tucking in to my extra special birthday breakfast - smooth, creamy 'cheesy' scrambled eggs. Brett was explaining how they make a point of being around and available pretty quickly when this happens, as many people just panic. They prefer to be there to calm and re-assure. He said all hell breaks loose when they have Israelis staying there. I can imagine. The storm had come from the South West, over the Fiordland, Te Anau and was heading inland to Queenstown, right where I'd agreed to meet the girls for a birthday beer.

After a pleasant goodbye with Brett and Sylvia, I left for Queenstown. I didn't get to see Brad as he was away hunting. I left my regards and best wishes for him with Brett. I arrived in Queenstown mid-afternoon and after a brief but excited 'happy birthday beer', the girls went back to get changed for the night. I checked in to the Lakeview Holiday Park and did the same. The showers here are awesome, the best I've come across yet. Even considering you have to pay extra! They are piping hot and blast out like a fireman's hose. I've got a spot somewhere on my chest and as I turned in to the blast of the jet I yelped with pain. It felt like someone driving a knitting needle right in to it. Fantastic! By late-afternoon the girls had walked down from their 'hostel house' and met me armed with presents and smiles. I was totally bowled over. Absolute angels. Some real choice items too, well thought of and personal, not to mention a custom t-shirt. Touched.

We went for a meal in the local Italian restaurant on the waterfront followed by a fantastic evening in 'Pog Mahones' ('kiss my ass' in Gaelic); an Irish bar just a short walk along the lake. There was so much to catch up on, we hardly skimmed the surface really, just had a great night being in each others company again as well as meeting some of their new friends. I'd missed them more than I'd realised and it was great to see them. By the end of the night, Chicken and I were completely knackered and decided to go and get a 'Fergburger'. Mannion followed closely behind. As it turns out Shiny and Michelle ended up carrying on till, get this; 7am in some back street bar just down from the Fergburger lair. Animals. No other words.

The Fergburger was blinding. It did the job perfectly following a belly full of cold ones; huge, succulent, meaty burger on a dustbin lid bun, onions, bubbling cheese, tom, top-secret recipe relish, salad 'n' slaw, wrapped for perfect access and easy 'shoving'. A perfect end to a fantastic evening. Cheers guys!
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