Monday, September 6, 2010

Tony Hawk of Wollongong

Lee-Roy, Michael and I found ourselves in Northampton, having a few lagers and waiting to watch a baseball game. The game rained out, so we left fairly and grabbed a 12 pack for the road. We knew about the crazy open liquor laws in America so we opted for warm beers, rather than a fine in the mail...or so we thought. We tried to carry the beers on the bus, but the driver wouldn't allow them. So not only can you not drink a beer outside, you can't even carry them around in certain areas. We left the beers on the sidewalk, questioning the definition of the land of the free.

Disappointed, we stopped at another bottle shop and grabbed an 18 pack. The man behind the counter was happy to show off his fake I.D. collection (about 100) and we made the long trek from one end of campus to the other for a tiny party. We broke the previous open liquor laws on the way to a room party and retired to the common area in a cluster of rooms.

Two people came up and killed the party, telling us that drinking in a lounge room (behind a hallway door) is considered drinking in public, and proceeded to take our names and student numbers. Having taken down the wrong name for me, I left.

The next morning Michael and I went to Boston with Adam, the Polish gent from the other day. He has been living in Amherst for a few months now and is very fond of the area. He elected to take a scenic route towards Boston, offering comely views of New England. Street signs warning of moose were interrupted by woodlands and lakes. Just like the season, the leaves began to fall in a chartreuse like shade. Hedgehogs and squirrels littered the streets as road kill, but only made the New England experience more genuine.

Adam shared his stories of Gdansk, Poland and living in the States with us until we arrived in Boston's financial district. The most startling thing about Boston compared to other large US cities is how clean it is. It may have been quiet in the Financial District on a Saturday, but even the busier parts are kept immaculately tidy.

We walked from one area of the city to the other, passing through Boston Common, and walking along the shore. After an our of trekking, Michael made it back to the phone store, but only received bad news. His iPhone dream has seemingly failed, more American red-tape has killed off any inhibitions he had about taking it back to Australia.

We made up for the disappointment by picking up some skateboards at a shop up the road. Given the size of the campus we felt it would be a great way to get around. I might not be able to skate at the moment, but it's a goal of mine to be able to 'tear up' an empty swimming pool one. A Sylvester Stallone look-alike put together both decks and sent us on our way. The three of us stopped by a bar on the way back to the car for lunch/dinner and watched some non-sensical American sports.

After two hours we were back in Amherst, this time hiding from the rain. When it eventually we tested out our new skateboards in a car park. Embarrassment didn't show its face, but John, Alex, Richard, Sam, Max and Ollie (the other internationals) did. This time they had 60 beers and were headed for one of the residences. We elected to head to Michael's, and considering we were both over 21 we carried the beers.

Michael made it into the first lift, but I was stuck downstairs with a few of the lads. One of the residence staff saw me and went into a bit of a panic. He called for someone else and asked if the beers were mine. The guys with me were all under 21, so I said yes. I then had to go downstairs into an office and get the rules read out to me. Since America's drinking age is 21, it promotes a lot of reckless drinking. The residence halls only allow 12 beers per resident into the rooms, a rule I had no idea about. The staffer took down my details, told me I would be summonsed to a meeting and may have to go on probation or some more sever punishment. I apologised for my ignorance and claimed a familiarity with being treated like an adult had caused me to think it wasn't such a big deal. I had to pour 18 beers down the sink and chatted to the staffer along the way. Being completely sober and polite seems to have helped, as he intimated that he didn't feel I was being malicious with my intentions, it was just a misunderstanding. Within two nights I had my details taken down over trying to have a few quiet beers with friends. Nanny state.

After my interrogation, the group of us quickly got sick of drinking and living in Uni housing. A 30 minute trek up to Puffton for a party ensued. The estate was made up of houses that look like a combination of a trailer-park and cabins. Ollie, an Englishmen proved himself to be a gun at beer-pong. He was so good that we left him behind to keep playing when we called it a night. Alex, another Englishmen was trolleyed to the point of stealing a bottle of vodka from the freezer and having plenty of reservations about sharing it. The party had began to die by the time we got there, and after a while we all got jack of it and left.

The morning skate Michael and I planned was interrupted by the mass of people moving into the housing. There were cars and people everywhere and after one day, already felt skateboarder's pain. I tagged along to another group of English and played guitar and had dinner with them. Dashin, a 17-year-old Indian student came along with the group. He loved telling me about his 1.75ltr bottle of Canadian Club rye whiskey and his skills for obtaining anything illegal. After spending the afternoon and evening with them we headed up to one of the dorms for a party. One of the guys had filled his dorm with bottles of spirits and strobe lights. The room was full of more international students and lead us to another party up the road.

The 'kegger' was a 15 minute walkaway up a hill. The American's that escorted us were legless, struggling to make it up the hill without falling into the ditch that accompanied the footpath. We were met by one of the house's residents at the door and he told us about the gyroscopic fun-fare ride that anyone could use. It was one of those whirly devices where you sit in the middle and get spun around in every possible direction.

Inside the place was packed. It was like a typical American film, wall to wall of people with baseball caps and red cups in hand. Our accents charmed some people into getting us some free beers. Outside we spoke to an American who in between telling us about the 4 years he spent living and working in Pakistan, India, Germany and England was yelling "fuck off cops" to any flashing light that came near. After some banter (as the English call it) we went to the darkened room downstairs to collect our red cups and fill them up with terrible American keg beer.

The night got trashier as guys fought for girls, and drunk girls got excited by us who talk different. Dashin could hardly stand by the time we left, but after some persuading was sharing his Canadian Club around the circle of people. We went back to campus to look for another party but sensibly called it a night. Before Sam, a brummie, could walk Dashin back to his room, Dashin felt the need to urinate. Instead of finding a tree or somewhere secluded he proceeded to go in the middle of an open area, aiming side-to-side like a garden sprinkler.

It was a hilarious end to a top night, and a welcome change from getting 'written up' for having too much fun. Tomorrow is the first day of class and my lack of preparation looks to be coming back to bite me in my ba-donk-a-donk.
Thrashing the g-nar
This Weezer video is great. I adore this song so much and after a party I've had a mini Weezernaissance. Enjoy.

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