Friday, January 27, 2006

What I Learned Over the Australia Day Weekend

So the past few days we've been celebrating Australia Day, which was actually Thursday but for many enterprising Aussies it evolved into a 4-day weekend. From what I can gather, Australia Day is some sort of national pride celebration which involves face painting, barbecues and heated discussions about what it means to be an Australian (informal polling on my part has concluded that nobody really knows).

Australians love their days off, so it seems odd to me that instead of making it an official 4-day holiday weekend, many people headed back to work Friday. A poll by National Nine News asked if Australia Day should be celebrated as a long weekend, and 4/5ths of respondents said yes.

Well DUH.
My question is: who are these 25% who think it shouldn't? What's wrong with these people?

We spent the day on the Sydney Festival yacht in the Harbour, watching the Ferry-a-thon, which is a traditional race between the ferry boats. As far as I can tell, a bunch of the ferry boats decide to race each other, and all the other boats in the harbour follow behind them and cheer for their favorite. Or in the case of the yacht I was on and the people on it, the Ferry-a-thon is an excuse to charter an air-conditioned boat, drink free liquor and mock the people on the other boats who cheer for the competing yachts (photos can be found here).

Earlier that morning, I watched on tv the annual Surfboard Challenge, a paddling race across Sydney Harbour (pictured above). It looks like fun and something I would definitely do next year, if I lived in Australia and knew how to use a sufboard.

On Friday I went to Bondi, which was actually a bit boring since the sea was alarmingly calm (read: lame) and on Saturday night we went to a party in North Sydney, specifically to North Narrabeen. Overall, a lovely weekend not without some valuable lessons learned:

  1. It is amazing how easily you can confuse your own shadow for a shark while swimming alone in the ocean.
  2. Kylie Minogue is a tiny woman.
  3. Flea markets in Australia are pretty much identical to ones back in the US.
  4. I need to learn to stop talking with my hands, especially when in the presence of open containers of alcohol.
  5. No matter how nice or gracious or graceful you try to be, spilling your drink all over someone (caused by talking with your hands) makes you look like an ass.
  6. The whole "Eating is Cheating" mantra, while philosophically sound, is in actuality hard to practice.
  7. "Eating is Cheating" while fun to attempt to live by, can get you in lots of trouble.

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