The travelling pharmacy: A holiday story

Part 4: Antibiotics, arcades, and football.

Saturday morning I saw a doctor. He told me I had an ear infection. Mostly in my left ear. Which is my primary listening ear, for when I’m only listening to music in one ear or talking on the phone. He got me a prescription for amoxycillin. And said that I should be fine to fly tomorrow. Permanent damage to my hearing in this fashion would be rare. So I got my week’s worth of pills and from there met up with the east coast relatives. I think the plan was to check out some shopping out around the convention centre, but it wound up with the parents checking out a home/bulding expo thing while my brother and I played a couple of rounds of laser tag at the M9 Laser skirmish. I’m pretty average at those sorts of games but it was pretty decent. I just wish I didn’t go from being cold and sick and outside to being hot and sweaty and inside with no opportunity to get out and cool off. As I’ve established, I’m a quiet, mostly shy guy. And I don’t like getting in the way of other people’s fun. After the laser tag we hung around the arcade for a while longer. The hot noisy stuffy arcade. During school holidays while the parents of all the kids were across the road gambling away their college funds. I played a couple of rounds of arcade guitar hero, which I’m much more comfortable at than laser tag, but I was glad we didn’t stay around too much longer than that.

The day reached a point where we needed to get ready before the football. It was around that time when I realised I must have lost my meds. Most likely at the laser skirmish. Which required me going back to the doctor’s to get another prescription to get more amoxycillin. All that running around sucked. The ear infection sucked. And going to the football and being around tens of thousands of noisy supporters probably wasn’t the best thing for me. But we were attending an Eagles function. Dinner, decent seating, and the opportunity to meet the players afterwards. I can’t just turn that sort of opportunity down. But the game was pretty tragic. And meeting the players afterwards was awkward. Crammed in a room with other supporters, hot and stuffy and noisy and pushing forward for an autograph. I felt really out of place. I’m not a fully fledged dedicated one-eyed Eagles supporter. I don’t know the names of some of the players. I can’t recognise quite a lot of them without their numbers on. I’m a writer. Quiet and shy. Talking to football players about football is just not who I am. I got my signatures and moved on.

Saturday was our last night in Melbourne, and we had another early start to fly into Sydney the next morning.

In Sydney, I stayed at the TraveLodge with my mum and dad, while my brother stayed with a friend. This hotel was much better. For starters, there was a lot more space in the rooms. The showers were infinitely better. And I had a room to myself. Space to spread out and relax and sleep and cough without disturbing my parents.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Sydney/Fremantle football game. My brother’s the only die-hard Freo supporter but we were in with the cheer squad and I had the guernsey on and made a real afternoon of it. Although I must admit, the SCG isn’t nearly as good a stadium as Etihad or the MCG. It’s better than Subiaco, but I suppose football isn’t exactly the happening sport in NSW, and the intensity of being at the game just isn’t the same.

Dinner at a place around the corner from the hotel. The Crown hotel/bar/restaurant. Pub meal parmigiana. Cheap. Tasty. Filling.

That night in my hotel room I watched some cartoons. There were a couple of episodes of an anime called Vampire Knight that I’ve been seeing the anime and manga around a fair bit lately. Aside from going along with the recent vampire trend, it didn’t seem too bad. Then there was the run of Family Guy/Cleveland Show/American Dad on the other channel. I read through some of my manga (I’m pretty sure I was on Battle Royale at that point) and George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’, which I’ve also been seeing everywhere lately, with the new book in the series coming out recently and the TV series coming out on foxtel over here.

Breakfast in the city on Monday morning and then going around on the monorail being shoppers and tourists.

The Powerhouse Museum killed off a few hours and killed off the battery on my camera. Inspiration for my writing. I didn’t do much writing on the trip. Just a crappy flash fiction about a cellophane girl and a balloon salesman and an idea about a man with a monster under his bed named Jeff. The inspiration at the museum was all sci-fi and steam engines and spaceships and shit. I’m going to attempt to write a good portion of ‘Once Upon A Time On Mars’ for uni this semester (I think 6-8,000 words is the assignment requirements), which is a retro-futuristic steampunk space western bizarro thing. It was good to get photos of old engines and spacecraft and robots and a mock-up Martian landscape. It’s got me excited to get writing again. I’m back at uni again, so I don’t have a huge amount of time to sit around twiddling my thumbs over this story.

We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Darling Harbour area. It had only been open for eight days, so… lucky us. They were fully decked out with rock memorabilia, artwork, and rock music/videos playing around the place. And while we were there, my brother pointed out one video in which the guitarist had a double guitar. Then my mum pointed out how many strings were on the top guitar. 12. And she also pointed out how outrageous his hair was. Of course, I knew from the opening riff that the band was Coheed and Cambria and the song was Welcome Home.

They’re somewhat a guilty pleasure of mine. I go through phases. Sometimes I love the music. Sometimes I just can’t get into it. They’re big on theatrics. Apparently their discography is a sort of concept-album series plotting out an epic story between two characters, Coheed and Cambria. And I think there are books or comics to go with their music, but I’ve never been that big of a fan. But the music is pretty good, they’ve got some good riffs, some good solos. I’m not a fan of the vocals though. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. Welcome Home is good for getting the blood pumping though.

Anyway, that night we went to Market City, I think it was. Mostly clothes shopping which was out near the Powerhouse Museum. I got a shirt with a monkey holding a water pistol on it and another one of a riot policeman being attacked by bright paint spatters.

We had dinner at a place across the road from the Crown, called Curve. It felt like it was one of those places that was trying to be trendy and elegant and pricey but for more than the cost of the last night’s parmigiana I got five prawns. Slow service for a night where there were maybe three or four other customers when we were there, and they were cleaning out the coffee machine when we wanted it. Just a little disappointing. It may seem a little nitpicky in hindsight, but standards in hospitality can be quite inconsistent, even just across the road.


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