Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Having a birthday in another country is a strange experience, particularly when you’re way outside of both your comfort and time zones. I’d already had a wild night out with friends for our No Clothes Party and an amazing day of skiing and now I just wanted to relax. I decided to splurge and spend the day being pampered.

I’d been neglecting my hair to the point of resembling the Venus de Milo, so I asked around for recommendations for a cut and color and ended up at Chocolate Blonde in Taupo. From the moment I walked in the door I knew I had made the right decision.

We (my friend Luci came along to keep me company) arrived early (always allow time to be stuck behind a logging truck while driving on single lane mountain roads). As we flipped through magazines, each of us was offered our choice of coffee that arrived with a piece of chocolate cake on the side- and this was before we had even mentioned that it was my birthday! When they discovered that little tidbit of information, another piece of cake appeared, along with a complementary glass of white wine for each of us.

The stylist was good. Within a few words she knew exactly what I was asking for and how to explain it, the way a painter can tell you what type of brush strokes to use to make the clouds look different than the trees. We chatted easily with the other women, in typical hair salon fashion, about everything from work to fashion to the scary nature of Botox. Some things are just universal in the developed woman’s world.

There’s no use looking good if no one’s looking so we hightailed it back to National Park for dinner at Elvin’s. We popped a bottle of bubbly and took our time so that we could arrive fashionably late to Schnapps, where the rest of the gang was meeting.

Turns out we had no reason to rush because, despite claims of a band playing that night, it was a solo acoustic singer called The Ollie Knox Project who whined and strummed painfully before absolutely butchering a Pearl Jam cover. Luckily, the laughter of good friends always drowns out in the end. I ended up with a perfectly content start to the last year of my twenties. Good thing, too, because next year I couldn’t even get a visa!

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