061202 – Saturday – The RSA

I love adventures – small trips off into new worlds.

Tonight, I went into the RSA (Returned Servicemens Association) here in Christchurch for dinner. It’s an economical place. $12.50 for the special, $2.00 for the Mushroom side dish and $5.00 for a glass of Chardonnay. As I ate, I read George Soros’ book, The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror, and mused over his ideas.

When I came in, I asked if the public was welcomed there in the restaurant and they said, ‘Yes, no problem’. And later, the lady who waited on me also said that if I wanted to go back into the RSA club itself where they have the bar and the Pokies, they could sign me in since I was a former serviceman.

After dinner, I took her up on the idea and I went back into the club portion of the facility and had two beers and talked to some fellows there. It’s a lot like, I think, a VFW Post in the US. Indeed, I saw several VFW banners hung there apparently from visiting Americans from various VFWs.

A bar, a lot of tables, three snooker tables, a lending library and walls covered with photographs and the stories of me who fought in the various wars that New Zealanders have participated in. The restaurant’s name was The Victoria Cross and men who’d earned the VC figured prominently in the photographs on the wall back in the club. Charles Upham, a New Zealander who is only one of three men to ever win the VC twice figured prominently there.

I met Moka first. a Brit to came out to NZ at 18 for an adventure in 1954. He spent 25 years in the NZ army and had participated in the Malaya Campaign which lasted for many years and involved suppressing a communist uprising (a bit of history I was largely unaware of). He’s got four kids and three of them currently live in Europe. One owns a restaurant in Spain.

I tool a long walk around the room, beer in hand, to read all the plaques and stories and look at their lending library. When I returned, I joined Moka at a table and met Noel and Lloyd. I never learned much about Noel but Lloyd has a welding and sheet metal business and has for 25 years. Prior to that, he built a 45 foot boat and before that he spent six months fishing and made more than he normally made in a year but it bored him. Lloyd and I discussed our businesses and how they are run and how the various responsibilities are split up.

The place was nearly empty. They said that Friday night was the big night. I could join the RSA, if I liked. Since I’d served in the military, I met the requirements.

It was a good evening. Some light bantering back and forth and for the most part I was able to follow what everyone said. Perhaps, I’m absorbing the accent a little better now.

A ten minute walk and I was home. Along the way. I admired the moon drifting behind the gossamer clouds and wondered what it was going to look like in a day or two when it was full and hanging upside down from how in looks in the northern hemisphere.

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