Thursday, December 14, 2006

What do you expect, if you hang out with Refinery Engineers?

Greetings dear Reader from New Zealand!

First chance this Chap has had since developing military strength jet lag to get aboard the blogsphere and tell all about the joys of the new Jet-Set lifestyle I am living. Too, too much to go into any kind of detail, but let me summarise the first part.

Flew Virgin, got upgraded. (Nice girls!) The champagne does wonders for the flight, and there is clearly no limit to ability of charm alone!

5 Hours in San Fransico, ate a prawn burrito.
Surprisingly our Colonial chums could teach our airport johnnies a few things about having a suitable number of kiosks open, as rather than the queues one is given to expect, I cleared customs and immigration in about 2 minutes.

13 hours on Air New Zealand. Nasty. Good film though - 'The fastest Indian in the World'. About a chap who tinkers with Motorbikes (As chaps are wont unto do) who has a whip round, goes to Bonneville and steals the Land Speed Record from Johnny Yankee. Fellow is a Kiwi, and does it for Empire. Sound fellow. True story too.

Finally, finally get to Auckland, and get to luxuriate on Yacht.

Or So I thought.

My Host, in his weekend attire.

Lloyd - with whom I am staying, is one of those chaps who doesn't believe in luxuriation. Oh No. Being an engineer, his yacht is not host to normal things one would find aboard a vessel in the Great South Sea on the Far Side Of The World. (Gin, Mermaids etc).
Sandpaper, wire and more screwdrivers than B+Q. I console myself with a shower and extensive use of his facilities.
I am disturbed to find there is as much sandpaper in the heads as there is best-quilted. I knew poor Lloyd suffered from a touch of the Farmer Giles, but he is clearly taking drastic steps.

And so - I find myself on The Far Side Of The World. On a Yacht. In a cabin with 11 miles of coaxial cable, industrial fittings and sawdust for company. This will not do.

As a True Born Chap of the empire one is torn between facing hardship with resolution and defiance or stating this this Will Not Do, and leading an expedition of locals and fellow travellers on a quest to Sort It Out.

Instead I decide I shall hire a large motorcycle and visit the Northland.

There followed a brief day of getting one's bearings, purchasing sim card for my electric wireless telephone, and negotiating with an artisan for the rental of said machine. Said throbber hired, I agree with my host that I should meet him in a couple of days closer to his refinery, for a few ales with some of his chums.

And thus followed three dreamy days of high-octane-peg-scraping-fly-swallowing adventure in the hills of the Northern tip of this stunning country. I cannot begin to describe the countryside, but I shall some it up by saying it is like crossing Wales with Hawaii. Sheep, hills, tree ferns and a surfeit of mussels.

Finally I arrive in his local town, and after seeing off several pints of local ale awaiting his arrival we set off for a meal with the chaps with whom he works. Solid, Antipodean Oil Engineer types. A little salty round the edges, but sterling chaps.

We dine upon some rather good steak and prawns, and these fellows seemed to get the bit between their teeth. After a number of ales, and strangely enough, wine, I am reliably informed that they will take me to 'Heaven'.
Naturally, I was astounded at such a proposition. They didn't strike me as the types, and I said as such.
No, no, they assured me, it is what passes for a nightspot here. My expectations were somewhat of what to see in a similar establishment in London, you know - theatrical types and the sort of fellows who over excercise and prefer one another's company. But not that. It appeared to be a bar, with normal pool tables.
There did seem to be a curious contraption in the middle of the dancefloor though. It seemed to be a shiny metal pole.
My curiosity got the better of me so I inquired - 'Does this place serve as a fire station perhaps?'
'No Mate!' they cried with some good humour. 'It's for the two dollies over there to dance in the nuddy with!' He said, indicating two young ladies of what appeared to negotiable affection, and wearing clothing that seemed to be fashioned from the net curtains of a doll's house.
Almost immediately there was an announcement from the disc-jockey's enclosure.

It seemed that the two young ladies would remove their tops if they acquired fifty dollars in tips, or disrobe entirely if they raised a hundred. At once they started walking about the establishment with a chipped beer glass touting for change to raise said sum.

I thought to myself, 'hello, takings are down.......'

At once, one of the fellows became animated and annoyed. He strode over to the manager and started having words.
He presently returned in a bit of state, feeling somewhat aggrieved as to the monetary arrangements.
'It said on the flyers they would be in the buff by midnight, and now they want extra money and it is a quarter past!! Come on lads, lets not hang around here and be ripped off!'

At this, we left the establishment and I returned to the Bed and Breakfast I had rented for the evening, musing on the predicament. I should have expected no better really.

And now dear reader, I shall go, I am due for dinner with my host, as we are to plan three days of torture. Or as Lloyd calls it 'Outdoor actvities'. Volcanoes await.

No comments: