For a few days before Christmas I was lucky enough to look like I had a friend, and do a bit of travelling with a mate who was visiting our fair shores from Canberra. Jake and I have been mates since school, have done a few road trips together, incessantly quote bad jokes, and just generally bug the shit out of each other after a few hours together. It’s a match made in some kind of post-modern ironic heaven. Or something.
He arrived on a Saturday, and the lovely Susie drove me into Launceston to meet him at the airport. I think I must have been having delusions of grandeur, or ideas above my station, or some such other nonsense, because I’d been thinking about the airport at Sydney and the general chaos that occurs there. As we reached the somewhat marginally smaller, more rural, and clean airport at Launceston, I realised… Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more.
Due to Jake’s plane being delayed, I got to stand at the window and watch… hills. And stuff. His plane finally arrived after a good half-hour of quality hill-watching, and I peered through the window, excitedly trying to find him amongst the other tourists. The amount of old people on the plane surprised me (although in hindsight I realise that it probably shouldn’t have been surprising) and I gave up trying to find Jake’s head amongst the purple-rinsed hair-dos and golf hats.
We spent our first night out at a pub in Burnie, drinking ourselves silly on Mother energy drink and vodka. We made a new bestie while we were there – a drunk miner called Glen who kept forgetting our names, grabbed my ass, repeatedly told us about his recent split with his wife, and thought it was “jus’ sooooooo awesome that you’s guys can just be mates…. You’rrrre not even like together, or ANYTHING.” With that, he rubbed our heads, and stumbled away. Exit, stage left.
On the walk back to Jake’s hotel room, it started raining so we donned our hooded clothing, and marched in quite a determined manner through Burnie.
BAD IDEA #1: Just before we reached the hotel room, we came across a car that’s the same make as Jake’s new car. We stood beside it as Jake pointed to parts and told me what he’d done to customise his own wheels. A man was sitting just outside the hotel, and it soon became apparent that he was the owner of said car, and was not keen for us hooded individuals to be casing his car in preparation for theft. We quickly removed ourselves from the scene.
BAD IDEA #2: Even though we were both exhausted from a long day, we’d imbibed more energy drink than recommended, and were too wired to sleep, but too tired to, you know, move.
STIMULANT + DEPRESSANT x(FATIGUE AND OVER-EATING) = BAD CHOICE
We whiled away the hours of consciousness by punching each other, thinking of words that rhymed with “sure”, watching internet cartoons, and listening to an ambient music app on the I-Phone, and trying to figure out where the track had been looped. We know how to have a good time.
On Sunday we went out for a lovely breakfast, chased some pademelons down a bush track, and returned to my humble abode to… sit. We went out that night to see the lacklustre movie, Devil. I’m all for having the pants scared off me, but Devil wasn’t scary. It was like a wannabe Paranormal Activity (Loved that movie. Couldn’t walk down a dark hallway by myself for weeks afterwards) in a different setting, with a lamer back story. I was just waiting for everybody to die, and they really took their time doing it.
On Monday we took ourselves on a drive out to Tasmazia. For those not in the know, Tasmazia is awesome, and if you haven’t been then you are deprived. Get yourself in the car, and get there NOW! It’s a complex full of mazes (apparently the largest maze complex in the world), and is just fun for all ages. Jake kept running away from me in the hedge mazes, so that all I could hear were his thudding feet and giggling. I wandered aimlessly, but seeing as I have a terrible sense of direction, there was never much chance of me finding the centre without some serious assistance. So I sat under a tree until Jake wore himself out.
When we finally decided to head home, it was such a lovely day that we thought we’d take our chances and head to the beach.
BAD IDEA #3: Going to a beach in Tasmania in December and anticipating that you might swim. I still haven’t got complete feeling in my right foot. I also thought I’d do something really super funny, and wrestle Jake in the water, with my logic being that even if I went down, I’d take him down with me. Logic fail. Jake -1, Sarah - -15.
When we got home and regained some semblance of warmth, we watched a plethora of internet videos and quoted them for the rest of the holiday. This stuff never gets old.
Tuesday saw us heading out west. We first landed in the lovely Stanley to check out The Nut.
BAD IDEA #4: Not preparing for different weather conditions. It was freaking FREEZING. And windy. Veeeery windy.
We had a bit of a walk around, with me complaining about… everything, and Jake telling me that he’d never choose me as his partner if he did the Amazing Race. He would choose someone who is actually good at stuff. Jake kept spotting “goats” perched upon the hillside, which upon closer examination were bags of fertiliser. Nothing wrong with that kid.
After freezing out little butts off on the Nut, we continued our trip west and ended up at Dismal Swamp. I hadn’t cared what was here, I just really wanted to visit because of the name. Plus they have a massive slide there, which was a great bonus. It’s 110 metres long, goes from the tree canopy to the ground, and takes about 15 seconds to go down. While I’d been planning our activities for Jake’s visit, and had come across this slide, I’d thought, yeah cool. Big slide. I can do that. Once I was standing at the top it was a bit of a different story. But I kept all of the girlish squealing on the inside.
The lady at the top of the slide saw Jake down safely, and then got me ready to go. She assured me that it was ok to scream. Which got me wondering, why didn’t she tell Jake the same thing? Do I come across as some pansy-ass girly girl? I got myself down the slide, without a scream in sight. Mainly because I forgot to breathe.
It turned out that Jake hadn’t even opened his eyes while he went down. On our trek back to the top, I insisted that Jake should keep his eyes open the next time we went down. This maneuver led to Jake being the one that screamed. I just spent the 15 seconds reminding myself to breathe.
After our two adrenaline pumped slides, we took a stroll around the forest, ate some lunch, left the forest and took a wrong turn leading us to the far west coast of Tassie, then turned around and drove home.
Wednesday was Jake’s last day here, and we had a pretty cruisy time of it. We made our way out to Launceston in a leisurely manner, stopping for a spot of go-karting on the way. Jake lapped me twice, and then I actually figured what I was doing, stopping him from lapping me any further.
We got to the airport, he called me fat (or rather, sang it at me. It was my own stupid fault – I taught him the words to the “Too Fat Polka”), and parted ways. I still haven’t quite caught up on my sleep…