saturday, 25th, June.
Madi gra party. The opening of the mountain . The street with all the bars is fenced off, food stalls and a big stage are erected and everyone dresses up. The only problem was that the mountain wasnt open. It hasnt even snowed yet. The fee for getting into Madi gra was 45 dollars and all of the bars cost 20 dollars or more to get into.
I couldnt get a lift into town so I took the push bike down the dreadnought road in the afternoon. I also didn’t want to have to be stuck after work. It was getting dark as I sped down the long straight country road. I arrived in town and as I was riding along the main road a flashing police car started to drive past me. some drunken person is about to lose their licence I thought to myself. Madi gra has many arrests I have heard.
I was mistaken. The police car pulled up in front of me and an angry man poked his head out of the window. ”why dont you have a helmate and reflective gear on?!” he asked accusingly. I didn’t have an answer for that so I pointed out that I had a head torch and was only going to the hot lava bar to work. ”two things can happen mate, either I give you a 50 dollar fine for not having a helmate and 100dollar fine for not having lights or you get off your bike and push it the rest of the way” I opted for pushing my bike. I thanked the officer and he went on his way
Pushing my bike along the residential road I could see the preparations for the madi gra under way. Through lighted windows girls putting on their make up. Friends standing outside their house in costume drinking and laughing. caravans parked in every spot. I got past the metal fence barrier and arrived at the hot lava bar.
The night went almost the same as the one before only much busier. The streets were lined with people in costumes. funny hats, suits, people dressed up as cows and farmers. A couple or Irish men dressed up as leprechaun’s frolicked and bound down the street saying hello to everyone. Girls in mini skirts all sticking together like a herd. The police were out in force. unfortunately we couldn’t see around the street to where there was a live band set up. I was on door duty again. dealing with people coming out and trying to go back in again. The night wore on. A few fights, people being sick. The security guards throwing people out of the bar for drug use. A donut stall on the opposite side of the road was wafting over tantalising aromas and a pastry van beside added to the temptations. Over the course of 9 hours I never got a break. I stood and like a broken record directed people to and frow. ”sorry no alcohol outside”, ”why? because if the police see you on the street with a bottle they will shut us down”, ” no you cannot put your drink up there, why not? because it will get knocked down, yes you can come back in if you have the stamp on your hand”. I repeated all this again and again as the hundreds pasted through the door.
They began to look more like a mass of bovine creatures rather than human beings. I realised with a disturbing thought how easy it would be to view the masses as nothing more than an annoyance. How crimes against humanity like the concentration camps in Germany or any other massica could be carried out. One human can easily show you their commonalty and soul but with a group their humanity is harder to see. Its easier to take a sithe to a crop than to a single flower. These where the half formed thoughts passing through my mind at the time.
By the end of the night a desperate atmosphere had entered the bar. It was raining outside and the bar was going to close. The streets were mostly empty apart from the police and a few bedraggled crowds. The leprechaun’s where outside having a long serious argument with us about if they got stamps or not. belligerent loud and repetitive they harped on with all seriousness about the injustice of not begin let in. A towering burly man stumbled out of the bar with a bottle of beer ” sorry sir you aint allowed beer outside” I said. He eye balled my menacingly and said petulantly ” This in New Zealand, I will do whatever I want” and he walked out onto the street. I reached out to catch his arm but thought better of it. I am not being paid enough to receive a sledge-hammer punch to the face so I let him walk by.
Throughout the night many girls oozed out of the exit door and talked to me and the other door men. slurring, groggy eyed and unsteady. The music was the same as last night. noises cramped together, a murky stream of muddled beats and sounds.
Working there last two days has been so interesting. To view from the other side what bar life is like. repetitive, dark, unhealthy and unintelligent and at the end of the day unsatisfying. That is at least from my point of view. People so earnest to have fun. Never quiet there always waiting for the night to really begin.
The bar shut and the people flooded out on to the street. Hundreds waited outside in the rain, smoking, swaying shouting laughing.
All the bar staff went to the top bar and started having a party of their own. I praised God that I had ridden my bike down. The last thing I needed now was to have to watch another party kick off as I wait for a lift home.
I said goodbye to Clay and rode down the muddy litter strown street. Along the way I saw a car parked by the side of the road. The boot open and a girl kneeling inside. Here back rising up and down her head in her hands. It looked like she was vomiting. I turned around and asked her is she was alright. She jumped in surprise and the blanket around her waist dropped away and between her legs a man was visible. She laughed and covered him up again. ”sorry I though you were sick” I said with a chuckle as I pulled away again. The couples laughter followed me all the way down the road and onto the dreadnought road again. The road was completely dark and silent. My head torch illuminated only a small part of the night. A thin beam in the entirety of the black night.
As I rode back I thought about the philosophy of yin and yang. The two opposing forms, how they should be in balance. There is much balance on this planet, so much that it does make you wonder what higher intelligence created us but off this planet where is the balance? in the vastness of dark cold space. A few blazing starts in a ocien of opposition. Just because we cannot see the balance doesn’t mean it’s not there but from what I can see the universe is not a well-balanced scale.