I’m heading to Balikpapan, Indonesia, and so my days here in Melbourne are quite literally numbered. I didn’t plan or expect to leave to Bali – or leave Melbourne, actually – so soon, but the timing feels correct. Not right, but correct. My compatriot is leaving the country, as well, but to New Zealand to restore an old World War II plane. He’s unclear of his plans, but I imagine it has something to do with gold. Old planes and gold go very well together. I’ll link up with him once I’ve spent my time in Indonesia alone. Being alone and quiet in a foreign country sounds nice, and so that’s what I’ll do. Trying to keep it simple, although simple rarely persists. That whole monkey wrench kind of thing.
Last night we went to a disco and got ourselves to where the lights looked pretty like stars and the music was never loud enough. Darts were thrown and also smoked on the roof before we retired back to an acquaintance’s loft for wine. It was in celebration of yet another Australian holiday. Australians take holidays seriously. Let’s discuss.
For Easter Sunday, they are allotted both the preceding Friday and that Monday. Same treatment for holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, and Memorial Day – which is actually called ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) Day. Armistice Day had competed for a time for the country’s attention, but it’s since been surpassed by ANZAC. They, Australians I mean, pay special attention in remembering the Battle of Gallipoli, an amphibious assault on the Gallipoli peninsula in modern day Turkey during the first World War. It was the crucial battle, and victory, in the Allies’ fight against the Ottoman Empire, and subsequently led to Allies’ occupation of the territory. This occupation coalesced the Turkish people, spurring them to fight for their independence, which they achieved in 1923, coinciding – and a major factor in its happening – with the abolition of the Ottoman Empire and caliphate.
The Battle of Gallipoli is considered the galvanizing moment of Australian and New Zealand pride. It is with this pride they take a holiday every April 25th – to remember and reflect and get absolutely shithouse wasted.
It’s an Australian’s civic duty to take the holiday, and they oblige. It is also an Australian’s civic duty to vote, and the country has made it illegal to abstain from the process (fines are issues for delinquents), also a national holiday. This seems fitting and logical and it is remarkable that such a day does not exist in every single voting country around the world. One would think, or hope, or even suppose, that political participation would be encouraged and shepherded into existence in just this way, yet the opposite seems to persist so often. Hmm.
Back to the holidays, however.
Two holidays specifically set the Australians apart from other frequent holiday-takers. The first one is set aside for the Australian Football Grand Final, which would be like the American Super Bowl or World Series. Can you imagine the jollity? Of course you can. Even without holiday status, the Super Bowl sees plenty.
The other holiday designated is for the annual horse races, the Melbourne Cup, held on the first Tuesday of every November. Think the Kentucky Derby except the entire country files in to scream for it. The more holidays, the better.
Saw the sun rise this morning. Also, smoked too many cigarettes. Everyone here smokes darts constantly. Despite their being taxed so heavily, I honestly haven’t met one Australian who does not smoke cigarettes. I figure I’ll go to Bali, buy as many packs of cigarettes I can manage – I hear they are about a dollar per pack – fly back to Melbourne and hawk ‘em for $6 each. Say I bring back two-hundred packs of cigarettes, and sell them all. That’d be…you can do the math. Not a bad scheme, should it work. I know, I know, there are laws and regulations against how many goods one laymen can travel across country lines with, and I’m vaguely aware of them, but wiggle room is always afforded to the ignorant. Ignorance!
I’m in Sydney now. It’s sunnier here. I think I’ll go to the Opera House before I fly to Indonesia.
All for now.
More later, as always.