Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Curse of Irish Dan

We had planned to spend an Orphan’s Christmas with the rest of the wandering souls at the Hostel. We had an invitation to spend Christmas with people we knew, but logistically and financially it was not possible. The Trains and Buses are given a day off on Christmas day, and the Taxi companies are known to double their already expensive prices. Unfortunately there are no Tuk-Tuks in the UK.

After lavishing each other with inexpensive gifts, we trundled down the stairs of death and greeted them with a feeling of Christmas immunity while we made our way down to breakfast. Normally a Christmas breakfast involves a minimum requirement off eggs and bacon, we forgot to buy any, so we settled for toast and cereal. Some of the more organised Hostel Staff did have eggs and bacon, and they frequently taunted us with their delicious smells.

The dining room in the basement was buzzing with Skype users, so we joined the fold and sent home our Christmas cheers, the replies were slightly more cheerful due to the massive time difference which found the Australian Christmas well into its last drinks. I had been told sternly that it was far too early to start drinking and so I spent most of my time watching the clock as it slowly wound its way around to lunchtime.

We had paid five quid each to have Christmas lunch cooked for us by the Hostel Staff, who were a little frantic cooking for a large number of people and panicking that they didn’t have enough food. Lunch was due to start at 2pm, but apologies were made shortly before this time. While the dining hall filled with hungry backpackers, we made new friends among the people on our tables and therefore decided the time had come to have a drink.

Lunch had been organised by the Hostel Staff, who were mostly Aussie and Kiwi, therefore the spread was pretty much similar to what we were used to. Roast meat and vegetables were in plentiful supply, and by the time everyone had finished eating it was pretty clear that the Hostel Staff had over catered and would be eating leftovers for the next week. I vaguely remember someone discovering a full tray of potatoes still sitting in the oven later in the night.

With lunch done and the drinking underway the party kicked up a gear. The Hostel staff started the drinking games, therefore they are responsible for most of the blame. I started playing a home made team oriented board game, where rolling a dice landed you on a square, giving you an instruction or telling you to take a card. Unfortunately for my team mate and I we kept rolling on the square that said go back to the start, or the square one space after that said go one space backward.

By the time the game ended we were all well lubricated, I had run out of beer and started drinking the punch. My team mate and I were still on the starting blocks of the board game and therefore had the honour of wearing the “looser” stickers. But it didn’t matter because we were all having a great time. It was decided to scrap the board game and just take turns pulling cards. The tables were all pushed together in a giant circle and one by one each person read their card, then either drank or made a fool of themselves in some way.

At about this point I decided to make a run for the shops for more booze. The streets were quiet but there were a few people out walking around. Even on Christmas I failed to get any eye contact or greetings from passer-bys, a little disenchanting considering that even on Christmas day in South Yarra the Stuck-Up-Elitists tend to nod their head and say “Merry Christmas”. Anyway, the guy in the off-licence was friendly enough, still had booze on the shelf, and even said a small festive goodbye even though it apparently wasn’t in line with his religious denomination.

I returned to the basement of the Hostel and walked through the doors to find Prue drinking a shot out of the belly of a half naked man. The crowd looked at me, then looked at Prue, then looked at the guy, then looked at me again. The guy looked at me nervously thinking I was going to go ape shit, but I just shook his hand laughing while the crowd let out a unified sigh of relief, followed by more laughter and revelry as the games continued.

Prue made a close friend out of a girl after they pulled a card telling them to perform simulated sex, which they climbed onto the table and performed with much hilarity. I pulled the card telling me to drink a shot from the belly of my neighbour. I looked over at the guy next to me, and said “come on big fella”. He flinched and we decided that we’d skip the card by sculling our drinks as punishment.

After trying to instill more enthusiasm in the drinking games by writing new cards with an ever increasing level of filth and debauchery, eventually the games were abandoned before anyone had a chance to drink from their neighbours boot. Prue found her lost childhood by playing hand slapping games with her new friend, of whom I think may have had a small crush on Prue…Shhh.

Things were getting pretty messy late into the night. We had moved over to the pool table, and by some act of god, or perhaps an infusion of alcohol I found myself transformed into the Jedi Knight of pool. With the precision of a surgeon I cut up my opponents, wielding my cue like a wand I performed sorcery and trickery upon the table. After sinking five balls in a row to win a match (including one rather brilliant jump shot), Prue broke the glamour I had imposed by calling out “how the fuck did you do that?” to which I replied “Got my drunk game on”.

Indeed I did, as did everyone else, and around midnight the cracks started appearing among the crowds. Irish Dan braved the carnage and challenged me to another game, which seemed only a ruse to get a hold on my can of Beer when I wasn’t looking. This continued for my last two cans and after returning from a cigarette upstairs on the street, Prue forced a nearly full bottle of Red Wine into my hand, pleading with me to hold onto it so that Irish Dan would stop trying to steal it. Thus began the downward spiral.

Prue had gone to bed and I found myself outside talking shit to Joey and Adam (Pronounced Eeeedem) two Kiwi guys that worked at the Astor Hostel. Irish Dan was still lurking around with intent to pilfer the last of the wine. I wasn’t going to let that happen, so continued to swig away on the bottle. At some point I found myself sitting in a shopping trolley spinning around and around and then trying to smuggle a traffic cone into the Hostel. Joey and Eeeedem went downstairs to attack the tray of potatoes we’d discovered earlier. I took up arms and battled the stairs of death all the way to bed after a fun and memorable Orphan's Christmas.

The next day...

I blame Irish Dan. If he hadn’t been so intent on stealing our wine, perhaps I wouldn’t have drank the entire bottle before getting in the shopping trolley. I blame Astor for their drinking games forcing me to mix beer, punch, white wine, red wine and spirits. I blame the stairs of death for being deathly and I blame the off licence for opening. Maybe I even blame Prue a little for handing me the bottle of red. But I suppose, to be truly honest… it was mostly… alright, totally my fault.

I woke in the morning to discover I had made a cock of myself. At the end of the bed a purple stain gave a hint of something more menacing. When I looked at the floor beyond the bed, a giant purple splattering of an unknown liquid stretched out its stench in every direction. Needless to say Prue was not impressed. Luckily our room was next to the linen cupboard. I changed the sheets and hid the evidence, cleaned up the rest of the splatter and tried to diffuse the smell.

Now I just needed to diffuse Prue… Hmm, boxing day sales are on… Maybe we could go to Oxford street and go... err… Shopping?