Called to the bar : La la means something in Spanish

It all started with a wobbly table, that Wednesday night on September 25. I sauntered down to Lalla Rookh to find C, from the nearby Supreme Court Library, already seated at a table in the small sunken courtyard at the bottom of the stairway, which takes you to this underground bar and restaurant.

Don't be scared to go downstairs

There's a whole other world below
I joined C at her table. I was glad she could make it, while she was glad for the opportunity to finally visit this venue and to do something in Perth, other than come to work.
I started to peruse the menu for drinks and nibbles. I was shocked to find that there was no olives on offer.

A menu with no olives on offer
This was not looking good. Just to make matters worse, the table wobbled. C and I decided to relocate, ostensibly to find a non-wobbly table but also to see what Lalla Rookh had to offer inside.
As we walked in, a waitress asked C if she had changed her mind about the wine tasting? C explained that while waiting for me, she was offered a place in a wine tasting session. The waitress now added that the session had started but we could join without a worry.
C and I both agreed that the wine tasting could be fun. Also, in the back of my mind, I was thinking to myself, there might be olives there too.

And there was. And more. The waitress led us through the quite sizable restaurant, all the way to the back, where there was a massive door, which went from floor to ceiling and had a handle to match it’s size. Upon opening this portal, she ushered us into a whole other barroom, completely separate from where we had just been. This barroom faced Sherwood Court and had it’s own entrance into that street along with a fully stocked bar and stools under the window. It also had olives. And a wine tasting in progress. I couldn’t believe the spread that was laid out on the bar for this wine tasting. It seemed all out of proportion to the event and even the small space we were in. The whole length of the bar was packed with three platters of olives, meat, bread and cheese. All this just for the two wine tasting participants, whose numbers were now bolstered by C and myself. It was then that I understood it all. I was in Lalla land.


Spanish wine was the theme of this tasting event. A very knowledgeable man with an authentic Antonio Banderos accent was talking us through four bottles of very fine Spanish wine, each one of which really complimented the free olives I was helping myself to.

As the product of various wine growing regions of Spain visited my palette, time passed in the outside world but I didn’t notice.
It wasn’t like the olives were starting to run low nor the bottles get close to empty. C shared stories of her visit to Spain and refills were offered and I supplemented my olive diet with cheese and bread and salami. If this was a myth I would suspect that this was the part where I am trapped with the lotus eaters; able to leave but unable to want to leave since I have all the food and drink and good company that I desire. It was then that M texted me. She and her husband were on the other side of the portal, back in the world where we had originally come from and she couldn’t find us. Where were we? Where indeed? I think I was now near the Portuguese border but with the next glass I was returning once more to the southern wine growing region of Spain. I had to get back.
I thanked my host and put down my glass. I told C that M was looking for us and then I had one last olive. Sustenance for the journey back, you understand and then I opened the portal and stepped through. The spell was broken. The wine tasting was over. I didn’t risk a look back at the olives.

C and I found M and her husband and regaled them with tales of our Spanish exploits. C’s husband soon joined us and the talk moved onto the Grand Canyon and other sights to see in the United States. I ordered a delightful alcoholic Ginger Beer and tried not to think about Spanish olives.


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