That’s how I role in the Bay City

Last Tuesday I was on the bus home, and I was texting Kat saying “I hate everyone in the whole world. Except for you” because I was having a really horrible shitter of a week/month/year, and all I wanted was someone’s shoulder to cry on. Then when I was stumbling down my street trying not to cry, I suddenly thought “Well, why the fuck don’t I just go visit her?” and decided that if I could get flights for under $500, I would. A quick flick through the Air NZ site and a text to confirm that she was free for the weekend later, I found myself with flights booked for Friday-Sunday, and as she told me that they live in a bedsit, I searched for a hotel, and then ended up making a booking straight through the Hotel On Devonport site as it was cheaper – $130+gst for a deluxe room. Plus, they emailed me back almost instantaneously saying that they saw I requested a 10am check-in, to let me know that if my room wasn’t ready at that stage I could still park and leave my suitcase there. Very impressed with that.

That made the rest of the week a little more dealable-with-able, along with sending a series of “this is why I am angry with you” emails to a series of people. And so on Friday morning I found myself up before 7am, with the shuttle picking me up at 7.20am. Golly gee, that was an early morning. Air NZ has gone all super high tech at the airport, where you check yourself in at a kiosk, print your own sticker for your bag, and just biff it on the conveyor-belt yourself. At this stage I would like to mention that the Caltex in the Newtown shops still sends an attendant out to pump your gas for you. What is happening to service in the rest of the world? Won’t someone please think of the children? Anyways. I had heaps of time so I got a coffee from Fuel and read the paper, but if I’d known that they wouldn’t give me a stamp for the coffee, I would have gone to Wishbone.

The flight itself was uneventful, and touching down in Tauranga was pretty. As soon as my taxi driver found out that I’d never been to Tauranga before, he proceeded to narrate everything, which is what I hoped for. He gave me so much information that I was constantly able to pull it out over the weekend and impress Kat & Kane, or at least make them start calling the taxi driver my boyfriend. He answered my questions about how much a taxi to the Mount would be, pointed out where the buses went from, explained that the Strand went off on Saturday nights (his words) and lifted my suitcase out of the car for me. The reception staff at the hotel were just as friendly and nice, finding me a room that was available then rather than making me wait, and asking when I’d like my complimentary drink delivered. My room on the fifth floor was absolutely lovely:
hotel on devenport
However, I couldn’t make the lights go. And yes, I saw the large plastic key thing that you’re suppose to slide into the switch, but it wouldn’t go in. I rang reception, and told them, so they sent someone up, who couldn’t make it go either because there was something jammed in the hole. They found housekeeping who unjammed it, but the lights still didn’t go on and they blamed a broken fuse. Five minutes later, I had electricity, and they checked to make sure. Hurrah! Kat wasn’t due to finish work until 2pm, so I decided to venture out and find myself some brunch.

Devonport St is the main shopping street in Tauranga, apparently, so there were lots of places around. There were also lots of vacant shops, but mostly it was a pleasant little high street full of chain stores. A block over and down I found a little plaza area, and decided to eat at Bravo because they had lots of sunny outdoor tables. I had mushrooms on toast with super crispy bacon and enjoyed the sunshine. I found the city art gallery and marvelled at the collection of NZ paintings that BNZ bought during 1982-1987 before they went bankcrupt or whatever, and talked to the attendant about how patronage of the arts will no doubt suffer in this current R-Word climate. After that, I strolled around a bit more before heading back to the hotel for a lovely nap on the huge big bed. Even Damian Christie recommends the hotel, and that says a lot.

Then it was KAT TIME! She came to meet me at the hotel and I hugged her so hard I almost went all Mice & Men on her. I offered to buy her a pedicure, so we went off in search of a place that would take us. The first place we tried right across the road was busy, but the second one we found (there are nail salons EVERYWHERE in Tauranga, it’s a little weird) the woman said she could do us both at once. Oooer. So we clambered up into the massaging chairs and soaked our feet while she slid back and forth between us. I know we didn’t have appointments, but she was really rushed because as we discovered she had another client coming in, and I just don’t think we got a very good deal. I was really disappointed that we didn’t get the dead skin razored off our feet, or any kind of massage (in fact, she only rubbed lotion into one of my feet!) and the nail polish job was patchy, and since my toenails are unnaturally thick, I always put polish on their edge, but she didn’t. For $48 each, I thought it was seriously lacking (although looking at their site now, what they list is what we got). Still, I bought some bright yellow nail polish as well, and it was relaxing to have the soak and the electric massage, and that’s what I was after. Perhaps I was spoiled by my only other pedicure experience in New York. And in fact, looking at prices of other places on the net right now, maybe that’s pretty standard or actually fairly cheap. Ahh well.

Then we headed to a convenience store for snacks and a bottle of wine, and sat out on my sunny balconey until it got too hot and then we flopped all over my bed. We booked dinner at Cafe Versaillies for 8.30pm so we could watch NZNTM first, and Kane came and joined us in my hotel room for television watching, napping, and making sex-faces on the big suede headboard to confuse the housekeeping staff:
Eventually though, we were so hungry that we decided to change our booking to 7.15pm. We were seated in a corner that if we’d been on a date we could have had butterfly-adorned curtains pulled around us.The very French man at the restaurant was very accomodating, even though we felt obliged to try and thank him in French, which made me want to speak Japanese, as that’s my default “not English” language, and Kat was the same with Spanish. I tried very very hard not to make any “aw haw haw Baugutte!” exclamations, which was hard, because I was very very giggling, and also our napkins were arranged thusly:
And how can you fight that? Especially if you’re a cheese-eating surrender monkey. YOU CAN’T! It’s NOT POSSIBLE! So instead we surrendered to the duck in orange sauce and eclairs with incredibly intense chocolate sauce, and some beajolais and potato gratin. What did the French person say when they’d eaten a lot of amazingly delicious food, including eggs in Kat & Kane’s chocolate mousse? I’ve had an oueff!

After that we adjorned to my hotel for more lol-ing and lolling around on my big bed before they finally went home, with plans to pick me up at 10am the next day. I slept fantastically, the double-glazed doors keeping out the sound of street hooliganism that I expected but never saw. If I could change one thing about the hotel though, it would be that they didn’t have aloe vera-flavoured moisturiser because I don’t like aloe vera scent. But that’s just me being super picky. I should have remembered to pack my own lotion.

So yes, anyway, Saturday. They picked me up and we went to Grindz on First Avenue for breakfast after we flagged walking up to Fifth for some sort of market. They said that the staff at Grindz can have bad attitudes, but my french toast and coffee were great, even if the toast was more eggy than I personally prefer. Plus I love that Grindz has a whole dedicated playroom for kids to keep them out of my ears. We did some shop-browsing, then jumped on a bus over to the Mount. Kane wanted to go to a particular op shop, so we went to the “bad” part of the Mt Manganui shops. It all seemed a bit sad and shut down. I tried on a thousand pairs of sunglasses, but I still can’t find any I like as much as the glasses I wear these days which I’ve had since 1999 (May 1, 1999 to be exact! Which was also the first day I told someone to their face that I loved them is how I know that for a fact) and they’re all scratched up to hell. Eventually we got to go and plonk our asses down on the beach and watch a family learn to surf. I couldn’t help but cheer every time any of them caught a wave, especially the 10 year old girl. Kat also made me laugh and cheer and clap by performing the chicken dance from Arrested Development for me and also for Lisa, except that it was too high-res to mms to her. But here it is for you. Turn your head!

And if that video doesn’t make you happy, then you are officially (OFFICIALLY!) the lamest person on the face of the planet. Now, when I twitted that I was going to Tauranga, I asked people what I should do. Almost everyone who replied told me I should go for a walk up the Mount. Here is a picture of the Mount.

I don’t walk up shit like that. In fact, I was already starting to develop a blister, as well as having one on the back of my heel still from my stupid new shoes, and my arms were banged up from walking into a pole. So it was nice to sit on the beach and chill for a while, but eventually I declared that I needed scheduled relaxing free time, and we made a plan to go and get a bite to eat. I picked Slow Fish at random, and it turned out to be a very clever thing to do, because the haloumi that came with my greek salad was the best haloumi I have ever ever eaten. Because I feel bad for you because you didn’t get to share my haloumi, here is a bonus picture of a tree with big bouncy branches that we rode like ponies:

Then we went to the Hot Pools. Because I mysteriously found myself in possession of a Tauranga library card, I got in for $6, but it would have been worth the outsider rate of $14. We sat in the passive pool for a while because it had a shade sail over it, and I impressed K&K with my sign-reading-and-retention knowledge by telling them that it was called the passive pool, and that it was 35 degrees. Then we switched over to the active pool in the sun, but it was a much cooler-feeling 33 degrees, and so we were more active. We did interpretive water dances about our jobs. Apparently my job involves me typing with my toes. The salt water made me super extra buoyant. I couldn’t help but float, so I impressed them with my abilty to float with my legs crossed. My sunglasses are so big Kane could wear them happily over his glasses, but they did get salty. We finished with a soak in the spa pools (38 degrees) and then went across the street for Copenhagen ice cream. I discovered that a Black Cow Soda Shake is made with coke and chocolate ice cream, but since I’d already had coffee and a coke my heartrate was being a bit racy (like a Victorian lady showing off her ankles!) so I settled for a lemonade & chocolate concoction. It was weird and tasty but I don’t think I’d want to have one every day.

Back at the hotel (my room was apparently aproximately the size of their house) there was more napping (I LOVE napping with people, I could totally be friends with Bret and Jermaine) and many episodes of The Simpsons before we strolled off to the fish dock for dinner.
It’s very nice eating 100 metres from where the fish comes in. People in the know bring along their own picnic sets and booze, but we just ate out of the paper. The fish was amazing, so fresh and crispy and yum. It made me a very happy Jo to be sitting with two of my favouritest people watching the sun set. Kat says that one of the reasons that i like them so much is that they don’t make me do anything, that we can just be still in each other’s company and not have to be rushing around doing anything, and maybe that’s true, and we proved it when we went back to my hotel to watch Grand Designs and Richard E Grant being awesome in Miss Marple. We giggled with glee a lot and told stupid jokes and just generally had an amazing time, and then they left and I was a bit sad. So I changed the time on my cellphone for daylight savings ending, and then I went to sleep.

When I woke up to my alarm, I looked at the time on the alarm clock that I’d also adjusted, and realised that MOTHERFUCKING SON OF A BITCH my cellphone had ALSO changed its time, and there was 25 minutes until my plane left. I grabbed all of my shit and rang a cab and dropped off my key. After waiting ten minutes for my taxi to show up, the driver tried calling the airport for me, but the flight was already gone. At the airport they offered to put me on the next flight to Auckland, but it was only going to save me $20 or so and I would have had to wait around there too, so I decided that I’d just take the next flight to Wellington – at a cost of $370 extra. I waved my arms in pretendish-fiero when I found out that at least I’d get air points for that flight so that I wouldn’t cry. I took my complimentary Herald On Sunday to a picnic table outside and waited three hours for my flight, really regretting not having taken the time to call the airport before leaving the hotel so that I could have showered and had a decent coffee and breakfast in town. Sigh. And then the fucking shuttle in Wellington went all the way around Oriental Bay and then back into Newtown while I sat there fuming and just wanting to be home and clean and with my kitty. Grrr. Bad way to end a holiday but oh man, it was a glorious time, so chilled out, relaxed and pampery. It was exactly what I needed and the perfect time to have it too. I will go back.

Other things in very very brief format that I have been up to: getting better at Hottest Dance Party Ever! on the wii, even though my knees might disagree / organising the Pretty Pretty Pretty First Birthday Party for April 18 (come along!) / discovering that me and much of my team are being made redundant at work / stressing out about Sebastian when he got a big nasty abcess and was in a lot of hurt at the vet’s / freaking out my new GP with all kinds of crazy questions and cut-up arm from falling against the evil wall outside the National Library while she was giving me a smear / trying to figure out ways to expand my circle of friends because I’ve been having Wellington claustrophobia because everyone has slept with everyone and it’s kind of stressful keeping it all in balance / having a million kinds of difficulty getting ahold of my shrink before and after my prescriptions ran out / making the married man sit at the back of a cafe and watch me cry for 45 minutes just to be sure that it registers with him how much I’m hurting but neglecting to ask the things I wanted to ask / buying a new laptop and becoming obsessed with season two of Gossip Girl / being perplexed by people who have different values than mine to the point where I was going to call my journal entry “My cunt: who’s in it and who’s not” before I went to Tauranga, and it would have gone into more detail about my smear and no one really wants to read that do they? / going to the most fantastic Steam Punk party ever where everyone was dressed up, there was a whole ballroom and a Klemzer band playing and pashing the woman that I pashed at Kowhai’s party last year again / I think that’ll do for now.

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