No, I’m not on the Camino but this story needed to be penned. My Galician friend Gonzalo and I are on a road trip
Hurtling down the highway after a few peaceful days at Mt Tambourine, I felt Gonzalo was in need of some Australian culture and country hospitality. Mullumbimby came to mind.
The Middle Pub was the obvious choice. After all, the description on the website showed that each room had a wardrobe (a closet). What more could you ask for! Reading further, it stated that it was ‘pleasant’😳, had a bar that served Australian cuisine (whatever that is) and there was entertainment. All that for $90. What a bargain!
It was not a disappointment. We walked in to the public bar and were greeted by a ‘g’day mate’ etc in the thickest Aussie accent around. A quick glance met my approval as I noted the beer soaked carpet and then the stuffed doll hanging by its neck above the bar. These walls would have been witness to some wild times.
We took the key and proceeded up the rickety iron stairs on the outside of the building to find our room. Room number 14 surpassed my expectations. After wrestling with the doorknob and noting that we needed a cut lunch and a water bottle to get to the bathroom, we were greeted by a small dark room with two beds and a dressing table. It smelled strongly of dope. A rubbish bin was the only other adornment in the room. The lack of wardrobe was noted. It was hot, there was no fan and no wifi. The window didn’t close and the flywire was broken. Perfect Aussie experience coming up!
It was almost dinner time do we wandered down to the public bar again, perched on a couple of stools at the bar and ordered drinks. Everything was great until Gonzalo showed me how to drink a stubby of beer in 4 seconds. Miss snooty behind the bar refused to serve him again and overheard us discussing her un-Australian attitude. I explained it was only that once and he was just showing me, but nothing was going to change her mind. She hated us!
I had my party boots on and was ready for a fun night. We turned our charms to the other guy who had no problem with serving us and devoured a typical pub meal of steak and chips, washed down with a few more bevvies. Miss snooty kept stabbing us with her piercing eyes and looks of disapproval.
Enter Bear, the toothless, drunken local who was warming up his tonsils for a night of Karaoke.
Swilling down a few beers and staggering through the now crowded bar, he headed for the microphone and began his rendition of The House of the Rising Sun’. The crowd went wild and cheered him on.
Unfortunately, he took this as a sign to continue and in between some of the good singers, he grabbed the microphone to sing some more. Young girls dressed in their best going out clothes, in midriff tops, low cut, short dresses were victims of his harmless affection as he swerved his way around. The crowd was pumped and Bear kept going. The highlight was his finale of one of the easiest songs ever written…Bohemian Rhapsody! Oh my…what a treat.
Moving on to the next morning… I went for a shower and got trapped by a short chubby woman who seemed to be wearing clothes from the 1970’s that no longer fitted her but she didn’t know it. This vision was scarring me as I tried to understand what she was saying. Every second word was a swear word and she couldn’t string a sentence together. I scurried off, retreating to room 14 and it’s familiar peeling walls and smell of dope again.
As I packed my bag, I heard Gonzalo on the balcony outside. He had been accosted by Cheryl, a tall skinny woman who obviously couldn’t believe her luck in finding a good looking Spaniard in her gaze. He had a cigarette so she took the opportunity to trap him into conversation. I became an eavesdropper and laughed so hard listening to her conversation! I could only imagine his face as I listened to her telling him how she had people to kill because they had done her wrong. She was ROUGH! It was hard to tell her age. She could have been 50 (showing signs of a hard life)or 80 (and defying reason by still being alive after a lifetime of drugs and alcohol). What a character! Gonzalo was so polite and spent about half an hour out there. I was about to rescue him but he came in to room 14 and hastily packed his bag saying ‘let’s get out of here!’
What an adventure. He is seeing the true Australia.