// Australian travel blog
// Australian travel blog
When you fly into a city by plane not 12 hours earlier and promptly find yourself bathed in blue light, flanked by one each of a face-painted clown, and an elfin-like early-twenties hipster with a multi-coloured glittered beard and nose piercing, one would suspect you’ve fallen well off the trodden tourist path.
Indeed there was no path. Rather we’d followed an intriguing looking couple down the rabbit hole, so to speak, taking our chances that they were going somewhere interesting and not simply walking to collect their car from the dingy looking parking complex. The internet had delivered a name, but finding it was another story. Thankfully on this night we had picked the right couple.
It was rather serendipitous that (only later were we to find out), a bi-monthly no-holds-barred, theme-less dress up or come-what-may party fell on this very evening, and we had walked straight in. As we walked through, the bartender served up a smooth G&T with bitey fresh lemon – Australian-made, in fact by the guys two doors down who ran a little nook of a cocktail bar.
We quickly settled into a spot on the lounge, and people-watched. The outfits were mismatched and looked like a stripper and her boyfriend, a couple of furries, and some off-duty clowns had all walked into the wrong party, but had decided to just roll with it and stay anyway.
Across the lounge, a furry had removed their head, and was sitting with a friend, who was fanning them. It looked like a case of furry-head overheating. They were in a bit of distress, and it's friend was trying to fan them to help cool them down.
As their friend went off to get more water from the bar, I asked if they were ok. They mumbled that they'll be fine, and please don't look, because they're not used to people looking at my face.
“It’s no problem,’ I said. ‘I don’t have to look at you,’ I said, as I dug my hand into my bag to look for a hair-tie to help them get the hair up off their neck, and feel a little cooler. Luckily, I found one in one swift swoop, and offered it across the table, without making eye contact.
The Furry tied the loose hair up, and waited as the boys went to get a glass of water from the bar. I moved away, back to the lounge and soon we all left the Furry in the corner. It was the darkest place available to them until their head was re-attached – a safe place where they could sit safely in the shadows without the masses visually preying on their human features.
Outside, the circular seating was conducive to mingling, and before we even got seated I had become the object of extreme affection to a woman around the same age. She declared her love, kissed my cheek, squeezed me, and repeated the same. She told my accomplice how great I was. She was an archaeologist who had moved from Melbourne to study some world-renowned bones. She liked that I was a scientist.
Nearby, a man in a yellow op-shopped suit paraded his newly-thickened moustache, its blonde tips afforded volume and depth thanks to a mascara wand. His eyes screamed curiosity, and I watched as he watched the crowd and its constituents with fervour. He had reportedly already been married twice (at 26), but was no longer. A half hour later, I watched on as he and another young man gave each other the softest of kisses, five seconds at most, and then gently turned away and carried on with conversation. They had been strangers an hour prior.
Meanwhile, I had met another couple who was seated to my right. The man was the clown from earlier – a construction worker recently moved to Adelaide from a small rural town in Victoria. He had moved in for his partner’s work. She was a stripper, but tonight she didn’t have to work. They invited me to a stripping competition the following Tuesday night, where pole dancers and various artists would compete for a title and a prize pool at her venue in the CBD.
My biggest fan continued to intermittently seek me out and smother me with hugs and praises.
After a while, I went for a walk to the toilet, and met another party-goer in the line. He divulged no personal details during our discussion, fairly promptly excused himself, and said he would find me and tap me on the shoulder later. It seemed reasonable in the context of the evening.
Meanwhile, conversation was flowing, and a girl who was dressed as an ethereal white-clad Eurovision star and her friend were talking to my accomplice. I was now next to glitter-beard hipster. To my left, two young Asian men – new group members – had moved in. We introduced ourselves, and they told me they were swing dancers. And no, they were not a couple. According to the duo, there was to be a huge swing dancing extravaganza in the city the following Wednesday, and they wanted me to come along. Failing that, I might catch them in Las Vegas, Berlin, or Italy next year, as they embarked on a world tour.