Friday, 8 June 2012

Bills and Moon

The Mills and Boon story I promised in my last Blog will just have to wait. One simply cannot write the perfect romance when one has witnessed the main character dancing a deliberately silly version of the can-can in his birthday suit in a flash hotel (please forgive the pun) eight stories high on the Auckland waterfront.

Yes, Cossack and I, who generally stay in Backpacker Hostels,  treated ourselves to a night of luxury so of course I understand that Coss was excited to have a real nice bed instead of a top bunk in a dormitory. Of course he revelled in big TV and knobs and switches everywhere and a bird's eye view over the plebians wandering home from nightclubs far below us. And yes, I suppose he was entitled to leap from the shower in his birthday suit because it was, after all, his birthday, but he should have been aware of the high-rise ANZ Bank building over the road from us.

"Coss! Those people in that building can see you! Stop that right now!"

Well, that was dumb thing to say because it acted like a red flag to a bull and he decided to do a few little Cossack leaps to entertain the staff at their computers in the ANZ bank. I was mortified and ducked under the sheets.

"Don't worry, Bern, their windows are tinted and anyway, nobody will be there yet," and he added some twirls to his repertoire.

"Cossack, are you crazy?! Their windows are tinted so we can't see them but they can see us! And some people start work early so stop in the name of the law!", but my duvet-muffled words held little sway. He stopped only because he wanted breakfast.

When we checked out I was half-prepared for the receptionist to tell us there had been phoned-in compliments disguised as complaints about Cossack's muscular body from across the road but she asked only one question,

"Did you take anything from the bath?" 

It was turn once again to squirm. How could the receptionist possibly know I had taken two little plastic bottles, one filled with moisturiser and one with shampoo?  Did she then also know about the three sachets of Twinings English breakfast tea, four sachets of instant coffee and three sugar-sticks in my handbag? Had we been surveyed by hidden cameras in our room? Had this woman also seen Cossack prancing in his birthday suit? Was she going to keep his phone number? Should I glare at her or would that make matters worse?

I was about to confess all and plead that management not be too harsh on me as I had never even thought of stealing their towels, cups or hair-dryer and I always thought we were allowed to take stuff like I took because it is all built into the overnight costs when Cossack said, "No, we had nothing from the bar".

Nothing from the bar! Oh, that's what she asked! No, of course we hadn't had anything from the bar. How stupid would that be after learning the hard way in Singapore years ago that one little packet of peanuts and a Gin and Tonic can cost about 800 NZ dollars or thereabouts, give or take a zero here and there.

I hoped I looked like a movie-star when I stepped out into the city through the revolving hotel door but I didn't seem to make an impression on anyone at all. Cossack and I decided to counter-balance our extravagance with breakfast at Merge Cafe at 453 Karangahape Road where they do real cheap food and are very kind to homeless people. We didn't feel out of place at all and the coffee was OK. Coss's toast was a tad sad but he said his fried egg and sausage and baked beans were excellent value at $3.

Our homeless frugality was vital because I forgot to tell you that Cossack lost one lens out of his prescription glasses the previous night when we considered eating posh and we couldn't find it anywhere. Those glasses had cost $800 and I guess Cossack still had $400 worth of eyesight in one lens but it all proved too hopeless and he snatched my glasses from my nose every five minutes thereafter in order to read the hamburger menus once we realised our huge financial kick in the head.

Yes, sadly, because we incurred several unexpected expenses over the long weekend and because Cossack's can-can was possibly triggered by the full magnificent moon which shone into our elevated hotel room - but does that excuse him? I think not! - I have had to drop the Mills and Boon romance and settle for an awful spoonerism.