Land Of The LETS Green Dollar
Copyright � James Taris


I stayed overnight at The Sisters of St.Josephs Convent (now minus the sisters!)

3. Thursday, March 27

REBS (River Exchange Barter System)

Yesterday, REBS finally confirmed with John Grant that they'd like me to give my presentation to some of their committee members.

It was a 3 hour drive to Wanganui, and we finally arrived at 3.30pm. There to greet us were, Judith Paxie (President), Peter Granger (Treasurer), Rere Paerau (Membership) and Maurice Hurford (Guardian).

I soon found out that REBS was a very well organised group with a strong membership of 108 people. And I was flattered to see Peter taking down pages of notes as I delivered my presentation over the next hour and a half. By 6pm we were all ready to part company, so John drove me to our accommodation for the night at The Sisters of St.Josephs Convent, though the sisters had moved on many, many years ago.

Soy Milk, Guiness And Karaoke

Our unit was very spacious and well presented, but because both John and I are lactose-intolerant, we decided to go into town to get some soymilk for breakfast.

As we drove through the main street, I noticed a well-lit pub with a few friendly patrons through the large open doors and windows.

"How about having a drink," I suggested.

John hadn't done that for a while, so into the Grand Hotel we went. But rather than going into the main bar, we went into the counter meals area. One other table was taken up by what appeared to be about a dozen footballers. Nevertheless, we claimed our own little table for 2, and started looking at the menu. I don't know why it is, but whenever I see steak on the menu, my mouth begins to water. I'd already accepted that my diet was a lost cause, so I ordered steak, eggs and chips, and John followed suit.

"I'll buy the beer," I said.

This absolutely floored John who was used to providing all my food and drink, but I never expect restaurant meals while I'm being hosted, and this was my way of saying 'thank you'. And anyway, a pint of Guinness would go perfectly with a steak dinner.

By 9pm we were ready to paint the town. And we were in luck. Tonight the Karaoke semi-finals were being held in another part of the Grand Hotel. And it was packed! I managed to squeeze through to the bar and bought another round of drinks. The Guinness had run out so I settle for a dark something-or-other. It was a very young crowd and 90% of them were Maori. And boy, did they know how to have fun!

There were 8 Karaoke contestants who sang 2 songs each. And they were all very good. By the end of the night, 5 of them had been selected to go into the finals being held the following week, but more importantly, the microphone was now available to anyone who wanted to sing Karaoke.

John's not a singer, but I'd mentioned that I had sung Karaoke on several occasions. John was keen to see the LETSaholic singing, so he persuaded me to go up front. But first I'd have to select a song. Unfortunately, the song of my choice 'Love Story' wasn't on the list of songs available. So I had to come up with something else fairly quickly. Once I realized that it's not unusual for me to break out into song at a moment's notice, the final choice was quite simple. I selected the Tom Jones song, 'It's Not Unusual'.

John Grant loved it and was on the dance floor in no time at all with one of the Karaoke semi-finalists. Later on that night John asked to borrow my pen, then reappeared shortly afterwards with a name and phone number written on a scrap piece of paper.

"What's that?" I asked. But it wasn't what I thought. He'd been talking with yet another Karaoke contestant and had signed them up as a new REBS member!

Then at the stroke of midnight, we made our way back home. Tipsy, tired and without the soymilk!

This article is taken from the ebook,
Land of the LETS Green Dollar

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