One of the lasting effects of The Quest (arguably its only legacy) has been to instil in Strop and me a great need to go out on Friday nights. If we don’t, we accelerate the aging process. We end up watching third-rate British crime shows on the ABC, and comforting ourselves with chocolate and whisky.
Friday night is the gateway to the weekend and, by embracing it as fully as our 9:30 curfew allows, we can engage a little known Einsteinian time-stretching effect, to make the weekend longer. It is an altogether better way to start the weekend than to leave it to the normal Saturday morning kick off. I can’t believe that it has taken the Quest to make me understand this fundamental law.
Whatever is going on Friday nights, Strop and I are always looking for an opportunity to turn it into an occasion for drinking, eating and hopefully some laughing.
Well this particular Friday night was a bit different. Keir, one of our multitudinous nephews (you will no doubt remember his famous appearances at the Amazon Steakhouse and Dean’s Diner), was setting off for London to fit in a few months of adventuring before starting uni next year. Strop had the bright idea of trying out the dining opportunities at the Sydney International Terminal, while we farewelled the ridiculously good-looking Keir.
On a ludicrously hot evening, the newly licensed Stropolina drove Strop to the airport, while I, being much more conscious of the state of the environment, caught the train. It was a race worthy of the Top Gear tossers, with me in the role of the one with long hair, the Stropolina as the overbearing one, and Strop as the short perky one. The race concluded on foot, with a sprint along the concourse. It is a bloody long way from one end of the terminal to the other and thoughtlessly, Keir had chosen an airline based solely on the fact that its check-in counter matched the initial of his first name. I finally caught up with Clarkson and Hammond at the check-in lines, where Keir and his entourage (Em, Tess, Will and Charlie) had that zoned-out look of resignation, that one adopts in airport queues. Our arrival was apparently the cue for Will and Charlie (of Mad Mex and Oldtown in Newtown fame) to start entertaining the crowd by limbo-ing their way beneath the retractable barrier thingys.
Even the efforts of entertainers as sophisticated and nuanced as Will and Charlie were not enough to disguise the fact that being in a queue that you don’t have to be in is the most boring pastime known to humanity. So we left Keir to slowly wend his way towards counter K, and went off in search of alcohol and food.
The dining opportunities at the International Terminal are basically along the lines of a shopping centre food hall – but with Border Force.
We eventually found the airport equivalent of a pub, conveniently located right back down at the other end of the concourse. Unfortunately, the bar was understaffed and we arrived just after a thirty-strong tour group of Chinese travel agents. We eventually got some beers in, but Will and Charlie were too distracted by the arcade games machines to commit to any of the food on offer. While we drank up, and Keir filled in the bits of paper that Border Force were going to need, Will and Charlie re-enacted famous scenes from Top Gear series 19. We had to drag them away from their race around the Nurburgring when a disagreement about the correct line to take on turn 12 threatened to turn into an ugly argument about which of them was the real Stig.
Acknowledging the wide range of palate sophistication within the group, we decided to embrace the food hall concept, establishing a base camp at a centrally located table. From here each of us could forage for our food of choice, without driving the others crazy. Quite a few of us went the Mexican option, possibly in a nostalgic tribute to Will’s Iron Man period. The boys themselves were only ever going to be satisfied by burgers and chips, while Tess went for chicken and chips. Tess certainly won the battle of the chips. Fat and crunchy with actual potato flavour will always beat thin and flaccid with no discernible flavour. She couldn’t finish her chicken though, which enabled Strop and Em to indulge in the old family ritual of picking over someone else’s bones. I enjoyed my slow-cooked-pork nachos except for the weird liquid cheese stuff that I unwittingly agreed to because I couldn’t hear what the guy assembling my meal was saying. The rest though, was great.
Eventually it was time for the man of the hour to step up and take off. After lots of group hugs, and a brief discussion of whether he is better looking than Daniel Craig, Keir disappeared into the tender embrace of Border Force, and the rest of us headed for the car park.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you are going to have a meal at the International Terminal, take Will and Charlie with you. You’ll have a laugh if nothing else.