I used to live in Hamilton, and so did Mike. In 1997 I moved up to Auckland, and he moved down to Wellington. Ever since then I’d been meaning to go down there to see him, but was too slack to do so. Then Mike said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “I’m having a big piss up for my birthday and you’re coming down for it whether you like it or not.” Choice!

So a fine Friday came along and I jumped into my automobile and drove for eight hours in a southerly direction. I had considered flying down, but as much fun as flight attendants with peanuts and orange juice are, that doesn’t quite make up for such things as the moment when I was driving into Taupo and suddenly the snow-capped splendour of Mount Ruapehu popped up in the distance.

I eventually made it to the capital city. I really like how the motorway was built along a fault line (well, it’s not like there was anywhere else to build it). I negotiated the one-way streets and drove around in a circle until I got in the right lane to get to Mike’s spatial palatial house of desire. His street has a big hill with a tunnel at the end of it, but only buses are allowed through the tunnel. You don’t get that sort of thing in Auckland (or Hamilton, for that matter). In Auckland car parks have been provided so the citizens of the city do not have to lower themselves to use public transport.

That night a cornucopia of delights awaited me. First up was the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. It was claaaassy, but wonderful. We headed to a skanky arse bar for a Private Function. After eating all the dip we left and went to Barney’s, Wellington’s premiere night spot. I wish there were more clubs like Barney’s around where I live. It was totally going off. We entered as the Grease medley was playing. That was followed by that famous tune celebrating a famous gay hang-out, “YMCA”. Other delights to rock the night were “Venus” and “Blue Monday”. If you like watching old men get down and shake their booty in an attempt to impress 18 year old girls, then Barney’s is the place.

The next day was big party day which means, of course, that the guests of honour had to shave their hair off. We abducted Mike’s friend Darryl who was kind enough to shave off the hair of both Mike and his flatmate Helen. We then buried the hair in the garden and prayed to the mother goddess spirit*.

Then party time came at Glenn’s house which used to be a brothel. We know it used to be a brothel because there is a basin in every room. Cool. Mike claimed that I was guaranteed to score at this party, but I didn’t so therefore he is a bloody liar, and probably just said that to lure me there. In fact, I have serious doubts that there were any heterosexual guys there.

As the evening progressed all the fairy bread and jelly shots were heartily consumed. There was the token person-who-drank-too-much, but most people were relatively well behaved party goers.

Eventually the party ended and we went home. I was about to retire for the evening when a glamourous young lady by the name of Ms PollyFilla knocked on my door. She had come home from a busy night out. By then I was very tired so I quickly slipped into a coma and didn’t come out of it until the following morning.

Sunday was tidy up day, and it was discovered that a large amount of beer and wine was left over from the party. Hooray! That’s New Year’s taken care of.

A bit of sun bathing upon the brothel balcony (a.k.a. fire escape) took place, then I demanded that Mike accompany me to Te Papa. He didn’t want to go and said it was crap, but I made him go anyway. But after looking around, I agreed that the Museum of New Zealand was, indeed, crap.

Back to the brothel where cards and trivial pursuit were played and fish ‘n’ chips were eaten. Yay. Then back to Mike’s haus where we watched those boring Olympic sports that no one actually cares about (softball, anyone?).

The next day I bid farewell to the fine city of Wellington. Heading along the motorway I noticed that it didn’t quite look the same as it had on the way there. Then suddenly I saw a sign proclaiming “LOWER HUTT”. Great. I was hoping I could go through life without ever having to go to Lower Hutt. As soon as I could I turned around and got back on state highway one and made my way back up north.

I had lunch at Taupo on both the way there and back. On the way there I at at a skanky doris cafe that did not pretend to be anything else. On the way back I ate at a skanky doris cafe that was trying to be a hip deli. Even service station pies are better than skanky doris pseudo delis.

You know how all those small towns try and make themselves interesting by giving themselves slogans? Turangi is the “trout Capital of the world”, Hamilton is no longer the Fountain City, or “Where It’s Happening”, but now is something like “More than you’d expect”. But the best town motto is for Foxton. It proudly proclaims itself to be “New Zealand’s Fox Town.” What?

I drove through Hamilton without stopping (a first) and then back to my home in Auckland. Oh, what an enjoyable weekend!

* No we didn’t. I think it just got biffed in the rubbish.

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