Move over San Francisco
Flashback to Dunedin
I’ve been meaning to post about my last day in Dunedin because I did something cool with Elena. We went to Baldwin Street, the STEEPEST STREET IN THE WORLD.
When I think of steep streets (I want to say “sheep streets” whenever I reread that), I think of San Francisco. That was the first place I learned about parking brakes and why we use them. I remember my dad explaining to me the difficulties of driving a stick shift, how you have to put on the emergency break while waiting at a red light in San Fran, and then take the break off only when the engine catches so as not to roll into the car behind you. At the time, I was ten years old, and we didn’t own a standard vehicle, so I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about—and until then, I’d never even known there was such thing as an “emergency brake”—but I remembered that story years later when I got my first car, a ’99 Cougar with a stick shift. I thought about how I could never drive in San Francisco.
ANYWAY, the idea of being on a street that’s steeper than those in the land of cable cars and golden gates intrigued me.
From first glance, it doesn’t look too foreboding (note: The street is in the distance. I always look to the right and think, “Wow, that’s not steep at all,” and then I realize I’m looking in the wrong place), but I still felt like quoting the Titanic lookout guy when he says: “Iceberg, straight ahead!”
Granted, it’s not the longest street in the world, but the incline was, in fact, remarkably vertical, and because it had been raining, at one point I was afraid my flip flops would lose traction and I would slip and crack a kneecap.
Here is a picture that was taken semi-near the steepest gradient. I find that pictures don’t really capture the essence of steep streets, but I tried. The palm tree looks like a dwarf.
The street levels off as you approach the top, so people will never truly understand how harrowing the adventure was, but we still got a victory picture. Hooray.
Clubbing in Queenstown
Well, I’ve made my dancing mark. In Queenstown, there’s a party every night. Of course, I have been given the 6:30 am shift the entire week, and while the young, wild, and free person would say, “Duh, stay up all night,” the old, lame, I-really-enjoy-sleep person says, “I’ll wait until my weekend, thanks.“
My first night out was a basic introduction. I was sold on the first place we went to, Winnie’s, because after they stopped playing Vanilla Ice (okay, relax. I like the song, but you can’t dance to it) they played continuously good dancing songs. My friends Nicole and Manu, the latter of whom had just taught me how to curse in Bovarian, wanted to meet their friends at another bar/club, and I whined a lot. Then Rihanna, “We found love,” came on, and I couldn’t leave. I get so pumped up by that song! It makes me smile just thinking about it (and maybe I’m listening to it on YouTube right now. You should too.)
After that, I was content to leave.
We went to Subculture, a place with a cover charge, because we knew a guy (we = Nicole) who could get us in for free. It was very…European. Dark and underground and techno-y. I immediately became fatigued and left.
This past weekend, we started at Buffalo.
This time, Nicole and I met up with Brazilian Ana, who hits the dance floor every Thursday-Saturday, and I won’t lie—I was intimidated. She’s got South American moves, hellooo.
Buffalos is, in my opinion, the perfect size. We won’t highlight the fact that there was a pole on one side of the room that certain (unprofessional) patrons would experiment with. Some of you may be disappointed to know, I did not attempt to use the pole this time (don’t worry about it, mom. I took a class once. Nbd.)
I did, however, end up on a table. It was more a large picnic table than a slinky round table and/or bar you might be envisioning, and I stayed mostly on the bench part of it because there was a ceiling beam that cut through the center. And I ONLY got up there to escape the 19-year-old boys who were trying to paw me and look into my eyes with that borderline creepy stare.
One gross event: some guy who was dancing (or rather, bobbing back and forth while fist pumping) on the picnic table beside me asked where I was from, then threw his arm around me and squeezed me to him, like a sideways friendly hug, face-to-face. Only he was profusely sweating, even on his face, and when I pulled away, I could physically wipe a layer of moisture off of me. I felt like Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly where that sweaty guy’s stomach rubs down Stiller’s face during the basketball scrimmage, and I imagine we shared a similar expression.
One flattering request: When I got off of the table, either because of the aforementioned incident or another reason, someone stopped me and said please go back up there. You’re a really good dancer.
One observation: Peter, my Dutch friend, said, “You act shy, but you can’t really be shy if you dance that way.”
By the way [mom], I’m not Coyote Ugly dancing. I just like to start the dance party. And perhaps disappointingly, I’m usually sober while doing this. (I did have two shots of black Sambuca because they were free, but that was all…)
And YET, I was still surprised when I woke up the next morning and saw Bovarian cursing written on my arm.