These last few days have been a blur…I moved into 3 Creek two days ago by way of haphazardly setting up my bed and putting my clothes away but I have yet to actually sleep there. Allow me to explain: On Tuesday night, Lydia, Josh, Julia, and I went to Side Bar (in no way related to downtown Athens’ Sideways Bar) to celebrate Julia’s last night here. Well, actually, it was her second-to-last night but whatever. So we shared a bottle of wine and a box of Lamingtons (rectangular cakes covered in chocolate and coconut pieces) before heading over to the ubiquitous backpacker bar numero uno, Scubar. We used our “2-Drinks-For-1” coupons there and went around the corner to Side Bar.
We proceeded to have one of the most memorable nights to date, beginning and ending with Josh’s unrivaled popularity among the gay men.
Allow me to the set the scene: Tuesdays are, as I’ve learned, not as popular “going out” nights as, say, Wednesdays. Thusly, the bar was pretty empty. There were two guys on guitars singing amplified 90’s soft rock-pop covers in dreamy boyband voices and a few stragglers dancing along. We busied ourselves drinking beer and playing pool and observing the backpackers.
Meet Toto Tohito of South American origin. He stands about 5’10” and, at 38 years old, is pretty fit for his age. He has wandered into the young backpacker bar and is determined to have himself a good night no matter what the circumstances. And there, in the corner, he sees an exotic-looking fellow with the long, dark hair, cocoa-colored eyes and a cool rockstar leather jacket. And scarf. He approaches…
“You must be Italiano, no?”
Josh, born and raised in Sydney, Australia, takes the cue and picks up an Italian accent. He mumbles something back. It doesn’t really matter what he is saying at this point. Toto can’t hear over the music anyways. Body language is everything in a dark bar-gone-nightclub and Toto is touching Josh’s shoulder and leaning as he speaks.
“We should be friends on Facebook. I will see your pictures, you can see my social life. Then I invited you to my special luncheon. It is more like a lunchDAY, you see, because it starts at noon and goes until 8. But we must be friends on Facebook first.”
Toto then took upwards of 17 photos with us and went back to dancing ostentatiously and a bit inappropriately to a cover of Wonderwall.
Meet Alan of Scottish origin. A backpacker from the hostel upstairs, Wakeup, he has come to the bar on this fine Tuesday evening for a well-deserved drink and a smoke. By now, Josh and I have retreated upstairs and outside to sit near the heaters and escape the loud music. Alan approaches…
“Ah man, are you from America?”
Again, Josh went along, and, in his most convincing American accent, chatted with Alan about The Rolling Stones.
Through his liquor-amplified Scottish accent we understood Alan to say, “You know you look just like Jim Morrison. He is my God. You are my God. You are so cool. I love you, man. I’m sorry, I’m a bit drunk, but you are my God.”
Meet Scott and James, cowboys/rockstars/entrepreneurs from the Blue Mountains, they have come to this bar tonight in a possible state of blackout looking for new talent to sign to their up-and-coming record label. They wear black cowboy hats and sunglasses and are around the ages of 57 and 36, respectively. After meeting a Janis Joplin wannabe singer-songwriter named Turney, they decided to start a label. Or something like that, I don’t really know. They approach us, singing…
Sounded like some old mountain song, can’t be too sure. Then an off-key, off-everything version of Bohemian Rhapsody.
“You should come to Roco’s tomorrow for Turney’s premier gig. It’s in the cross.”
“Is it free?”
“Yes, of course. Since you know me now, of course it’s free”
And so, Act III has now brought me to last night, when I met up with Josh, Jordan, Adrian, and Stephen at Roco’s in Kings Cross. It was a dark, sultry piano bar with velvet drapes on the walls and a beautiful French pianist playing every cover from Piano Man to Mozart. Besides being entranced by her beauty and her talent, we were also surprised to see Scott and James were really there, and they were really serious about Turney and the whole record label thing. We got free drinks and sat and listening to the music. The night ended at Side Bar as per Julia’s request; She wanted to see dreamy boyband guitarist cover Wonderwall once more before her flight back to Germany today.
Also, I can finally explain why I have yet to sleep in my new house: Side Bar is literally across the street from my old hostel so I just slept in my old room with Lydia and Julia there the past two nights. Guess I got my free nights after all, eh?
Yesterday I failed epically at trying to buy groceries. I spent hours in the store, staring at the labels, trying to navigate the aisles to find their rare and valuable stock of tortilla chips. And the cereal aisle. Oh, the cereal aisle. To say I was overwhelmed as I gazed up at puffs, flakes, oats, and brans with unrecognizable names and un-interpretable nutrition facts (they use grams and joules) would be an understatement. I didn’t have enough money at the cash register and had to use my Visa debit card from home, which will cost me extra I think. And after finally stepping out with my bags and bags of groceries, plus my new pillows and bedding, I found myself in the greatest dilemma of all: how to get home. I called Julia for backup – there was no way I could carry all of these bags myself, even to the bus stop. She loyally accompanied me, too embarrassed to wheel the buggy any farther than the nearest bus stop, on the longest, most arduous journey home to ever exist. A bus, a cab, and any remaining strength in our arms and shoulders later, we arrived at 3 Creek and rewarded ourselves with nachos made with kidney beans because I couldn’t find canned black beans in the grocery store.
Today I had to say goodbye to Lydia and Julia. Some tears were shed and I still feel sad about it, but we all knew it was coming. I can only hope I make friends with people as genuine as them at uni. I’ve promised Julia I will come visit her in Berlin when I make it over to Europe hopefully next summer. Sorry, Mom and Dad, I’m already planning more trips….
Tonight is the free study abroad/exchange student party thrown by uni at the on-campus bar. I’m going with my Finnish friend, Jenni, but I’m going to lay low on the alcohol tonight. Too much to do to get ready for school to be drinking every single night. Sorry for the length on this post. Once things calm down here and I settle in to life at 3 Creek I will write more coherently and concisely.