Thursday, January 26, 2012

8 Things I Loved About Australian Day

My first Australian Day has come and nearly gone, and I'm still not 100 percent sure what it is. But then, neither are most of my Australian friends. At first, it was described to me as the Aussie version of the U.S.'s Independence Day, but after Devarni did a mobile-phone Internet search, we decided it had more in common with Columbus Day. January 26 is the anniversary of the day in 1788 when Great Britain populated its island territory in the Southern Hemisphere with convicts.

I'm not sure that's quite it, and I'm a little too exhausted to do in-depth Wikipedia research, but the establishing of a settlement of criminals sounds like as good a reason to celebrate Australian Day as any I can think of at the moment. Here are 10 other reasons why I'm looking forward to the next one.

1. It's a holiday that's just a glorified excuse to get drunk in the sun. You'd think something known as Australian Day would inspire a bit more reverence, or even a touch of patriotism, but the only Australian flag I saw all day was tattooed on a young guy's cheek. 

2. Blackcurrant cider Five percent alcohol might not sound like too much, but after three rounds of what tastes like berry-flavoured sparkling water, the sky turned a brighter shade of blue, the music rocked harder, and that over-dressed woman wearing the electric-blue platform shoes started to look, well, not quite so ridiculous.

3. St. Kilda's Bowling Club I'm not sure how I feel about Aussie bowling, which is meant to be played on the outdoor grass courts by old men in white suits rather than all those singlet-wearing whippersnappers, but I can't think of a better place to spend a lazy, tipsy holiday afternoon. 

4. Foster the People The guys who gave us "Pumped Up Kicks" may be destined to be one-hit wonders in the U.S., but it's nice to hear their music still playing almost everywhere I drink in Melbourne.

5. Good sports Not the bowling, which looks about as exciting as its U.S. counterpart, but all the people cheerfully getting doused by spilled beer, cider and wine without giving so much as a cross look.

6. Only a few more days until the end of the Australian Open Not that I've been paying attention to it on TV, but when it's over, I won't have to hear another word about it. Not that I've been listening either.

7. Greasy Joe's Despite the skewiff wooden tables that were perfect for causing wine glasses to topple over, this beach-side burger joint wasn't just any burger joint, thanks to Andrew, our adorable 20-year-old waiter who incorrectly guessed my age to be 29. For me, the "Greasy" was the draw, but according to Andrew, remodeling soon will be underway, and the "Greasy" dropped, making it, simply, and generically, Joe's. May its culinary decadence remain in tact. 

8. Miami Horror Another reason to love Greasy Joe's. The perfect soundtrack to end a near-perfect first Australian Day.

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