07 April 2008

Head for the Hills

Last week I said something I thought I would never say.

It all started with a series of tickets. First was a concert ticket; I had to get out to the concert venue in Baulkham Hills to see the Newsboys in concert. My navigational theory took me as far as Parramatta station, after which I was supposed to catch a bus.

Next was my train ticket; I usually just zip around the city on a weekly ticket, and this day was no exception. Well… no exception but for the fact that Parramatta is two zones outside the coverage of my ticket’s designated area. I realised the problem only after I got off the train at Parramatta. I fronted up to the Cityrail station master and asked if I could by a ticket retrospectively (I’ve done this plenty of times in Brisbane under similar circumstances (apart from the concert, that is )).

The short answer was no, and that if I’d come all the way to Parramatta with no valid fare, then he was forced by Cityrail procedure to issue me with a fine, and I could appeal it with the council if I wished. My opinion of this pronouncement must have shown quite clearly on my face, as he quickly changed his mind and let me through to buy my ticket retrospectively. He really was a nice guy after all, just doing what his procedure told him to.

After that, my navigational theory started looking a bit thin on the ground. I knew I was supposed to catch a bus, but I didn’t know which one, or even where the bus station was. I found a helpful bus driver taking a break and asked him if there were any busses through to Baulkham Hills.
“Why yes, my friend,” he answered, “there are many. Where is it that you want to go?”

It was at this moment that the unthinkable escaped my lips:

“I… I want to get to Hillsong Convention Centre”.
“Well, in that case you want to take a T62 from bus stand 4. It takes very snakey route through the suburbs, but after it comes onto the main road, it comes through a roundabout and the Hillsong is right there.
“I guess it’s a whopping great convention centre – I should be able to spot it okay right?”
“Oh yes, my friend, it is very large indeed. Many people go there.”
“Yeah… so I’ve heard.”

Despite a heavier-than-necessary hailstorm I managed to get there okay, and the concert was fantastic. Whether you like their music or not, I defy anyone not to be impressed by a Newsboys concert. Peter Furler can engage with a crowd like no other performer I’ve seen. HCC was, in the end, a fairly rubbish concert venue (it would make for an excellent convention venue, mind you) but it didn’t stop us all having a great time.

Interestingly, Hillsong is also a very difficult place to leave. Physically that is. If you don’t have a car, and the busses aren’t running (the last one runs at about half past seven) then you’re kind of stuck there. The Baulkham Hills centre is built right in the middle of suburbia, no where near anything really. In the end I managed to hail a taxi for a lift to the nearest train station – about twenty minutes away by car.

“Do you work at the convention centre?” asked the taxi driver.
“No, I was just there for a concert.”
“Ah. There are a lot of people who come and go to this place.”

“Yeah… so I’ve heard.”

Far from home


Garry with 2 Rs
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