Once again, if I needed proof that it is almost always best to say “Yes” to unexpected invites and offers, last night was a great example. After drinking far too much beer while in Rio for Carnival, I have since had a week off, and have had no beer at all while here in Port Elizabeth.
But helicopter pilot and backpacker hostel owner John invited me to join him and girlfriend Angela, and helicopter buddy Martin for a “bit of a singalong”. I had no idea what this involved, but I was hoping it would be at a pub, as cold beer would be most welcome after a dry week.
But I was slightly disappointed as we parked up in what looked like a quiet residential area. It looked like we were going to a friend’s house, and approaching the front door I wondered if we should have brought our own beer. But once through the door, I was very pleasantly surprised, as the once-upon-a-time residential home had been converted into a fully fitted-out pub.
The place was fantastic. “Toni’s Place” reminded me very much of the first home I built in Australia, very similar in style, but everything was set up to host large crowds. The bar was in the living room, a food servery in the dining room, and the main room and back garden blended together into one large, open area. Out in the garden there was a large open fire pit, and through the night a big fire blazed away.
There was a stage set up, and tonight was an open mic night, where John would be one of the performers. If only I was a bit better with the harmonica, I could have joined in, but I still have some work to do before tackling that goal yet. They had mixing desks, computers, and video cameras, all-in-all a very professional set-up.
There were a couple of great performers, and John too was on early, and did very well indeed. As the evening progressed more people played and sang, and the pub filled up. It was just like being at a big house party.
At one point I said to Angela, “This is why I like hanging around with locals whenever I travel. I bet not many backpackers know about this place, or get to come here.”
“There are quite a few locals that don’t know about this place too!” she laughed.
Well done John, great performance. A wonderful, timely reminder that I must get on with the harmonica!