We Should Have Booked….

December 8, 2013 at 7:06 am 2 comments


As I sit here in my shades, shorts, thongs (it’s an Aussie thing….) and my factor fifty, I am struggling to feel festive. No matter how many inflatable Santas, and despite the “Winter Wonderland” which seems to be playing in a loop down in reception, the bright blue skies, long shadows, and twenty six degrees Celsius belie the fact that the goose is getting fat .

And so, it was the lack of context – the missing cold, snow, damp, and grey skies of home; the lack of X-Factor and the final of I’m A Celebrity; of huddling around a warm mince pie for warmth – which led to the schoolboy error when heading out last night, for a Saturday evening in Sydney.

Two of my colleagues (Jana and Tim) had clearly spent the days hitting the bars and fleshpots ( 😉 )……. and cried off from dinner, leaving Carl and I on our own. I found Carl nursing a beer in his hotel bar, not knowing where to look as he was surrounded by a bevy of nurses all glammed up for their Christmas party.

There were short skirts, high heels, long legs, sequins, and Santa Hats in abundance. This was not the night to need the accident and emergency department of the Sydney Liverpool Hospital and so, as Carl looked as if he was going to have a coronary if we stayed with the sexy nurses, I dragged him out in the direction of Darling Harbour.

The whole of Sydney seemed to be attired in the same manner of the nurses. And those that weren’t, seemed to be in 70s fancy dress (and no, Jana, they were not wearing Tuxedos…..). There were Afros, gold medals and flares in abundance. It is a shame that Tim had been too wasted to head out as this would have suited him down to the ground, being the 70s throw back that he is.

We needed a beer so headed for the familiarity of the Helm Bar. We were met at the door by a mountain of a man who wanted to know what we had been doing all day. Now I know that this is the gay capital of the Southern Hemisphere but this seemed a rather direct and unwarranted pick up. It was a relief when he explained that he was security and he was just checking if we were “intoxicated”. I am not sure that was the best question to ask. Perhaps he could have sniffed our breath, or asked us to walk a straight line, to stand on one leg, or simply have asked us if we knew what “intoxicated” meant……

It was about this point that the penny dropped. Darling Harbour was heaving. It was Christmas in a nation which prioritises a positive work-life balance  and on a Saturday night at the heart of the city, just a couple of hours ahead of a firework display and carol singing.

And, it seems that the first Saturday in December is when all offices decide to have their Chrimbo Party…..and they have it in Darling Harbour….

We should have booked!

Everywhere was rammed. We spent the next half hour or so being turned away from many a restaurant in Darling Harbour. People were even queuing to get into the pancake shop! We gave up and headed in the general direction of Chinatown. But by this time we were disoriented as a result of hunger, a couple of beers and the heady aroma of perfume and aftershave which hung like a fog above the many a party reveller.

Hunger was gnawing at us to the extent that we briefly contemplated eating in an unlicensed Japanese restaurant just because they had a table. Briefly. But eventually, we found ourselves in the bosom of the Chinese community and settled down for a pork Szechuan and garlic beef and made a mental note that we rally do need to book in advance next weekend……

After eating, Carl and I resisted the temptation to have another beer. He was claiming he was tired after an early start and a (I kid you not) ten hour sight-seeing tour of the city. But, I suspect the prospect of dozens of scantily-clad nurses who had been drinking for two hours solid and who were partying at his hotel might have had something to do with his eagerness to return to base…..


Entry filed under: middleman. Tags: , , .

Pommie Bashing The World Has Got Smaller

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sooocheshire  |  December 8, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I’m not an expert, but I think the phrase is “fleshpit”…. And is the title a secret code? 3596?? Morning Lovely C

    Sent from my iPhone



  • 2. Middle Man  |  December 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I realise you’re a good Catholic girl but:

    noun: fleshpot
    places providing luxurious or hedonistic living.
    “he had lived the life of a roué in the fleshpots of London and Paris”



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