I spent last Valentines Day with my wife, in sabona romance Bermagui, South Coast NSW.
We were camping! I know, you would think I could pay for a decent room on February 14th, but I am really tight like that.
No, actually; it was a last minute thing and all other accommodation was booked. So, we drove through the surrounding forests, lay on the beach and swam, and had fish and chips for lunch at a quaint little seaside shack. Very nice.
That night I managed to get a table at a motel for dinner. We had some ‘bubbles' on the beach beforehand, which helped with the shock of arriving in the motel dining room. It was drenched in red and pink, like a cow exploded in it. There were streamers and balloons, cardboard cupids and altogether too many candles. Was it the secret meeting place of a bizarre cult that simply did not like black?
‘Happy Valentines Day!' a voice ordered. We jumped as a rosy cheeked waitress had ambushed us, cunningly disguised as a red, pink and white lollipop.
Our table, too, was a study in candy-stripe, with candles and hearts and glitter. They had gone to a lot of trouble, so we stifled our giggles and got into the swing of things.
Our fellow valentine diners were a mixed bunch. We had the oldies who wordlessly slurped their way through the menu, comfortable in the knowledge that there was nothing important to say. Or maybe they were just hungry.
There were a few ladies paired up with mullet-sporting partners. And real men they were, clutching cans of bourbon in defiance of the rosé, which was on special. The room was full anyway, and most people seemed to be having a good time.
We were the big city folk, sophisticated, worldly, giggling and quite drunk on rosé. I skipped the mousse for dessert, heart-shaped and pink as it was, and opted for some more pink wine. Just as a palate cleanser.
The highlight of the evening was the couple adjacent to us, involved in a marathon argument. It seemed fairly serious. Apparently, she raged; he was always out with his friends, had been seeing somebody else, and was an alcoholic. She went on to express amazement that he could get anybody else, given that he was a fumbling idiot in bed.
He took most of this stoically, nodding and listlessly prodding at his food. When she complained that he never took her anywhere, he pointed out that they were, in fact, at dinner. That tipped her over the edge. She gave him both barrels. His mother, the motel, and Valentines Day itself took a beating as well.
Cruel, we thought, but rather funny. She made to throw her drink at him, but changed her mind and downed it, and unsteadily took her leave. We could not stop laughing! Not nice, I know, but we had the giggles and the more we tried to stifle them…well, you know how it is.
Turned out there was a prize for the most ‘inlove' couple at the dinner, and yes, we won! The prize was a voucher offering a night for two, with dinner, at the motel. More giggles.
We could not find our waitress to thank her when we left. Honestly, with all the wine and her peerless camouflage, she could have been right next to us, we still could have missed her.
Next we went for a drink at a bar down the street. There was a rough-looking gang dominating the pool table, and the rest of the crowd seemed too intimidated to put down a coin. We did! I tell you, that cheap rosé is great for your confidence.
The pool gang eyed us suspiciously. One of them tried to distract me by asking where I bought my ridiculous, pointy leather shoes. I told him. Then he asked if they sold men's stuff there as well. That was it. My wife and I were in fits of laughter, and we ended up closing the bar with the pool gang, the valentine oldies, and the guy-who-lost-theargument. Such fun!
We never used the voucher for that motel. It wouldn't be the same again, anyway. This Feb, we will be in Perth, so I think we will take a drive down to the Margaret River region and try our luck. I know a vineyard there with a beautiful rosé.