The title of this blog will make absolutely no sense for the first 90% of the time reading but stay with me now. I hardly make friends with any Australians. As I have said before, I do not trust Australians who stay in hostels, they are up to something. Something…inconspicuous. The ones I have met staying in hostels have been creeps and doucebags. However, I have become good friends with the peeps at reception who are all Australian. They go out of their way to accommodate me and are always there for a chat when I arrive “home” from work. I am also on friendly terms with the owner of the bar from next door. Dan can be found wearing his famous baseball cap and shooting the breeze with his punters. He is a laid-back dude and a master chess player. Also the friendly bar staff, Erin and Ben, who know my usual drink…SOLO! For some reason my beloved Sprite tastes plain awful here in Oz. I have discovered new nectar that complements any occasion. Plus Erin makes me this new drink that I dubbed the ‘Erin Special’ where she uses the stash of concentrated squash.
Anyway, this story is about these two other Aussies. In my first week in Brisbane I did not know anyone so I went to the bar for some pizza. Stood at the bar were these two guys having a peculiar amount of shots. One of them turns to the barmaid and says “three more shots” then turning to me “you will join us”. I do not drink but it would be rude to turn down something free as a backpacker. This was the eccentric Alan who was anything but conventional in behaviour. Nathan introduced himself in a much more warm and friendly manner. Interestingly, the shots were set on fire. We blew them out and downed them. Alan spilled most of it on himself. I excused myself to pizza where Nathan claimed it was nice to have met me and shook my hand while Alan refused the notion of my existence for not having a further shot with him.
Few weeks had passed before our paths would cross again. During a poker event at the Drifters bar I took my seat next to a flustered guy in a business suit who had just jumped off the plane from Sydney to make it to the game in time. He looked awfully familiar so I said to him “we have met before, haven’t we?”. It turns out it was Alan. Now he was my rival. Immediately he flew off the blocks, winning big pots. However, things can change quickly in poker and after a few more hands, Alan was out. After the poker I donated my runner up winnings of a jug of beer to Nathan and Alan and joined them for the remainder of the evening. With them was a girl from Las Vegas via Beverley Hills. You cannot get better pedigree than that. I took an instant liking to her. Hilary is a professional traveller / blogger, you can follow her travels on www.nomadgrad.com. Later on, the idea of the four of us going to dinner the next evening was decided. I agreed to the idea of this double date but Nathan was not too pleased that Alan would be his date for the evening.
The four of us went to this posh restaurant called Chelsea in The Barracks. Alan chose a bottle of wine for us to share and when it came to the table he suggested I taste it to see if it was fit for the meal. I gave the wine a faux swirl in my glass and took a sip. “Delicious,” I decided was the best adjective to say to the waitress. Wine connoisseur in the making. The menu was a drastic change to the McDonald dollar saver menu I had become accustomed to and when Alan suggested I go for something I had never tried before, I went for the swordfish. Before that, the starters were out. Oysters.
Oysters are one of those things where there is no way to actually prepare for it. As we had never tried them before, Hilary and I spent a few minutes debating which ones we should go for, trying to evaluate each other’s perception on the grotesque blobs in their majestic shells. There were even little forks to use to separate the oyster from the shell itself. I loved it. The best way to describe the taste would be to say, you were standing on a rock on a overcast day at the ocean’s edge and the vapour of salt water was drenching your senses as the waves broke around you. I have never been a big fan of fish either so had my reservations on the swordfish. Nathan was curious on what inappropriate adjective I would use when the waitress asked us how our meals were. “Scrumptious,” I told her.
There was another day where I was invited to their cool pad with their balcony overlooking the Brisbane river, for brunch prepared by Alan. To my surprise Nathan is a talented Street Fighter player so I challenged him on the spot to a few games. I love me some Street Fighter! My character of Juri was a bit rusty but managed to steal a few games from Nathan. Next it was off to the casino, which did not turn out to be a fruitful night as I lost lots of Australian dollars on blackjack. After my disappointing performance, the guys cheered me up by taking me to a 24/7 pancake place at 2 AM where I enjoyed chocolate pancakes topped with vanilla ice cream.
To repay their kindness, I came over one night to cook them my world famous Spaghetti Bolognese. I had spent a lot of time perfecting it with my special ingredients. Alan who struggles with compliments said it was “pretty good” while Nathan gave it a solid “delicious out of 10”.
When talking with Hilary it was decided that Alan & Nathan would make an awesome sitcom. However, I would be the main character and would only make my first appearance in the 5th episode. I would have epic lines such as “oh, hey guys” <laughs> “I had a bad day, today” <awww> “I dropped my ice cream on my back” <wild applause> . This genius concept will be called the ‘The Ryan Show’ though it really should have the deserved title of “The Alan & Nathan Show”.