Saturday, February 2, 2008

What Australia Day means to me.

January 28th afternoon.

Today was Australia Day weekend. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I feel like it is a mixture of our July 4th and Columbus day. The pomp, patriotism, flag-waving, and fireworks of independence day and the controversy, as with Columbus day, of the choice of first peoples and the descended of the first whites to arrive, to view this as a day of discovery and settlement, or as an invasion and the end of a way of life.

My uninformed guesswork aside, Australia Day, and the days leading up to it, meant the whipping of the Southern Cross and the Union Jack on most cars heading out (and back) from the long weekend. The same flag was draped over every fourth person in Albany, where I was that Saturday, the actual holiday.

Now that Australia Day is over, I am still feeling the aftereffects and its not a dull headache that I imagine many enthusiastic Australians have. No, as Australia Day was Saturday, it mean that Monday, today, the 28th was the public holiday. This means that only the roadhouse and, fortunately, the caravan park are open.

When arranging my patch of grass for the night, the Proprietress gave me a hard look and said,
"We have a tame kangaroo in the park. He won’t hurt ya; just shoo him away if he comes around."

I hoped I would have to.

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