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A Month of Gongshows!

CANADA | Sunday, 15 July 2007 | Views [1293]

Heya Holiday Lovers,

The best thing about living and working in a foreign country is picking up all the little cultural differences. For example: trying different foods, using foreign money, adapting to local customs and of course overcoming the language barrier. Quite often the kids in class ask me to repeat stuff, as they just don't get some of the expressions I use. It definitely goes both ways though and the most interesting new term I have learnt so far is GONGSHOW, which means getting so totally & completely drunk that everyone around you has hours of free entertainment. This last month in Canada has seen me partake in and witness quite a few GONGSHOW moments.

It all started with a footy road trip to Kelowna, which is about four hours east of Vancouver. The two Vancouver based teams were scheduled to play the two Calgary teams on Saturday afternoon in a carnival like format. I got a lift up on the Friday night with Sully, Ryan and Benny Crackers, Aussie blokes that are teammates with me at the Burnaby Eagles. We had a carton of Coronas, which were easily consumed in transit. The drive up was awesome, though half a dozen beers and some cool scenery may have helped shape my opinion. We were booked into a flash hotel, given a room where there were more bodies than beds, which meant one of us would draw the short straw and end up sharing with another bloke. The single blokes were quick to inform us that the rules of picking up meant that they had priority access to the double beds! That night we headed out to check out the nightclub directly across the road from our hotel and what started as a quiet night changed when Dusty and Benny brought shots for all early on! Although plenty of valiant attempts were made, there were no successes for the single boys. I did luck out though by getting the couch all to myself!

Kelowna is on the eastern side of the major coastal mountain range and it is almost desert-like as it gets a lot less rain than Vancouver. The temperature was a steamy 35 degrees on the Saturday, making the prospect of playing two games of footy not that appealing. It turned into an awesome day though with two big wins for the Burnaby Eagles. Especially pleasing was our flogging of Calgary who Burnaby has not beaten in a while. The day was also a good chance for me to catch up with Troy Macri and Chelsea who headed across for the weekend from Calgary. Troy played for the Cougars on the day and has tried to pin the blood nose he got on me, but I am denying all claims. I did manage to get a good mark near him though!

That night was a colossal event as most of the boys headed out on the tiles for beers and whatever. It started with a few brews in the local lake, the water was freezing but the surrounding hills and ice cold Millers made it worthwhile. There were some absolute freak shows down at the lake including one girl who wanted to fight all 10 of us and at one point ended up spraying coach Freemo with blue spray paint! Very Random!! It was a big night of boozing at some interesting clubs and everyone got into the spirit of things. Some perhaps a little too much as we almost got evicted from our hotel at 4am, for being rowdy and for one bloke using an ice bucket for something that it definitely wasn't designed for. The trip back to Vancouver was a mission, but we saw a couple of bears and the big weekend made it all worthwhile.

I then had a couple of quietish weekends with minor things on like an exchange teacher gathering and helping Amanda move house. That all changed last week when Simon P from Scitech and Rino both arrived and helped me to have a huge weekend. We started on the Friday night with a few drinks at a bar called Earls. Any guy that comes to Vancouver MUST check out Earls where all the girls are hired based solely on their looks. It turned into a good night with plenty of beers/food and sampling of some of the other Granville St bars. It was great also to catch up with Roc and Jo Macri who were in town to visit Troy and Chelsea. On the Saturday Simon and I played I footy, getting absolutely flogged by the Cougars before heading to Nat's for her 26th birthday, where chaos ensued. Amanda didn't make it past 11pm before the effects of swigging Jack Daniels straight from the bottle caught up with her. I will save the gory details for those who I know appreciate them (Boots, Squirt, Kallaroo Cricket Club); suffice to say it was one of the best, weirdest, coolest, kinky & comical house parties I have ever been too. Next day Nat and her flat mate Jaclyn were served with an eviction notice at 9am, which required intense negotiation to squirm their way out of!

The next day The White Stripes played at Deer Lake Park, a venue not dissimilar to Caves House in Yallingup, W.A. It flogged down all day but managed to clear just in time for the concert. The stripes were awesome, Jack White's voice is amazing and they played most of their big songs. Amanda, Rino, Simon and I did well to pull up from the night before which had been an absolute monster!!! It definitely got me in the mood for Lollapalooza in Chicago, which should be another gongshow. 8 boys from footy are heading over, along with Amanda and I, potentially a massive 3 days! Pearl Jam and Ben Harper are the big acts, but Silverchair, Muse and Kings of Leon are all on my hit list. Yesterday we headed down to Seattle to catch a major league ball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays. Safeco stadium is a sight to behold. They rebuilt it a few years ago and it now holds 60,000 fans and has the city as a backdrop. The game was not that flash, as there were no home runs, although some of the double plays were impressive and the traditions of baseball were all on display including the seventh inning stretch!. If you ever get the chance to go it's an awesome experience, just don't try the garlic chips, as they are the worst fast food I have ever eaten, more garlic than chips!! Just for the record Seattle won the game 9-3.

That's about it from me for now. The next two months will be full on with Calgary, New York, London, Split, Budapest, Prague, Athens & Chicago all on the agenda before I catch up with the old man in Vancouver. Will post the details when I get the chance.

Wherever you are and whatever it is you are up to, hope you're all sweet.

Keep smiling, Ben.

Tags: Party time

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