Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sitcom Saturday Night

The plan was this: Nerida would be at my place by 4:30pm to catch the train into the city, where we would have an early dinner at Wagamama, dessert at Guylian Cafe and then head to the Opera House for the White Album concert. The tickets were my birthday present and I was pretty keen.

Things were looking a little dubious when Nerida was still sitting on her lounge, in need of a shower, half an hour's drive away at 4pm, although since I was running a teensy bit behind schedule myself, I considered this to be good news.

Slightly late but not fazed, we headed down to the station. The city rail bus coming the other way spelled the end of catching the train, so the plan changed to parking at Darling Harbour. When we got to the Convention Centre carpark the reality of how far we were away from our intended destinations hit us and we moved to plan C: parking on Hickson Rd. Nerida didn't turn left at the designated point - ghosts of parking farces past were pushing her away from any road that might lead to the Harbour Bridge. Instead we ended up in the disaster that is China Town, and it took some time to extract ourselves and head back towards the north end of the city. As we passed Bathurst St, a vague notion that we should turn right struck me, but sadly not hard enough. We then missed the lane for the Erskine St exit, and when I realised where we needed to be, I also realised that there was a police car blocking the exit because there was a film crew working in the road we needed to be on. Sydney-siders will know what this means: we were headed across the Harbour Bridge.

So after a tour of Kirribilly, Milson's Point and North Sydney we were headed back south over the Bridge. Only one wrong turn later and we had found a particularly handy parking spot (free after 6pm, which it was by now) right near the Walsh Bay wharves. So now we moved on to plan D: eat at Firefly at Walsh Bay, instead of Wagamama at King St Wharf. The staff at Firefly found us a couple of seats at the bar and brought us food pretty quickly and it was all very good - duck and shallot pancakes, paprika smoked potatao frittata, and Moroccan lamb and Merguez sausage skewers.

Next stop Guylian Cafe, where we stuffed ourselves on hot chocolate and milk chocolate & hazelnut torte (Nerida) and dipping chocolate with fruit (me). Mmmmmmmmm.

By now we had 15 mins to get around Circular Quay to the Opera House, and we made it with time to spare for a toilet stop. Our tickets were in the 4th last row, so we did a quick march up an awful lot of stairs, got through the doors and up some more stairs to find people already sitting in our seats. A brief conference confirmed that their tickets were for the same seats as ours. As I checked our tickets to work out what was going on, I realised they were for Friday night, not Saturday night.


The night before.

We did what any self respecting person would do in that situation and bolted out of the concert hall. The woman on the door interrupted our embarrassed flight to ask if she could help, since the show was starting imminently. "I don't think so, our tickets are for last night." I felt like such an idiot. Much to my surprise, she didn't laugh or dismiss us as utter morons, she very kindly told us to go to the Box Office and see if they could help us with tickets for tomorrow night.

So we headed down none too hopefully and told the box office staff that the guy who sold Nerida the tickets had told her they were for Saturday, and we just hadn't looked at them. (We're pretty convinced that is the truth, because 2 minutes after she bought them she told me they were for Saturday - I remember because I commented that I would have preferred Friday.) The guy serving us called immediately to a more senior woman and told her our tickets were for the night before. She called straight over to another girl and said "These girls [girls! -ed] have tickets for last night - get them two spare tickets for the boxes or the dress circle, wherever we have empty seats." That girl apologised that it would take her a minute or two, and to make sure she didn't take the dumbfounded look on my face the wrong way, I told her I was just so glad they were helping us at all.

A minute or two later she returned with a ticket with "Comp" scrawled on it along with a door number and two seat numbers. Still in shock, we bolted back up the four thousand stairs to the strains of the first second song on the album and were shown to our seats in Row G. That would be towards the front of the dress circle. Much, much better seats than we had failed to occupy the night before.

So there we were, and I was already penning the note to thank all the staff involved - I'll sort that out today or tomorrow. The show was great, and will be reviewed in my next post.

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