Nina’s Travel Rule #25: When in Rome, Do… Do… Do a Roman?

Aussie Aussie Aussie!

So I read an interesting travel tale the other day (full disclosure: Aussie Day for foreigners, also it’s a pretty good blog) and thought, dang, I haven’t yet shared my first Aussie Day disasters… With no further ado then, here’s what happens when you drink 24 beers in 12 hours, crash two house parties thrown by people you’ve never met, and otherwise demolish a foreign holiday you still can’t recall the purpose of, in the very heart of its homeland…

I’ve been living in Perth for about four months now, as my impeccable timing led me to move across the world about a week before the most fantabulous of holidays: Australia Day! Now, I’m really not sure what this day commemorates; it’s not their Fourth of July, it’s not ANZAC Day or the Day of Foundation, who can say what it’s for, really, except, oh right: Aussie Day is for Beer. You know, much like every other day when there’s an Australian present. In any case, this was my first one, and I firmly believe in embracing locals cultures etc blah blah, so the fiance and I (I love you, Chris!) didn’t have to think much before we decided to do it up right, down the pub (The Rosemount, clearly). Sadly, I was still in a bit of sticker-shock (yes, I actually remain, and probably always shall do, in a bit of sticker-shock), what with Perth being the most stupidly expensive place on God’s green Earth (seriously, look it up), so we ended up drinking something disgusting that came in a bucket. Four X Summer, I think? Gross as dog shit in a blender, in any case. Additionally, where I’m from, a bucket of gross-ass beer should cost about $12 and contain a minimum of 5-6 beverages. Down under, that translates to $20 for 4. On special. Apparently. Thankfully, however, I stopped caring ’round about the third bucket we split. This was also about the time it dawned on me that Aussie Day is not really meant to commemorate anything, it’s just an excuse to do what the locals do best, without being forced to call in sick to work to get ‘er done. It’s also their opportunity to get outrageously, uselessly, and quite loudly opinionated about this silly thing they call the Triple J. That’s right, rather than waxing poetical about the birth of their (admittedly) great nation, our local drunks instead take the opportunity to dance naked in all sorts of venues, pour beer on each other, and rant their bloody asses off about which song will win the annual Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown. It’s like Casey Kasem from back in the day, except these people actually care. It’s like they’ve thrown a national holiday to commemorate a radio countdown. It’s like, who the fuck listens to the radio anymore anyway? Also why is everyone naked? Oh, right, cause it’s 105.8F fucking degrees out, despite it being January 26th. Can someone pour some of that beer on me please??

Soooooo sad 😦
The Rosemount. With the party.

So we drank and we drank, and then we drank some more, and then we befriended some teenagers sitting next to us (yes, they’re civilized down here, and can drink at 18…), and then they left, and then we drank some more. And then it was about halfway through the countdown, and we were on our 6th bucket. This was getting particularly entertaining, as the fiance had broken himself a week earlier playing rugby (omg, could we get more Aussie??) and was spending his country’s pseudo-birthday on crutches. Crutches are AWESOME to navigate when you’re 12 beers in, it turns out… And then the teenagers came back and invited us to some house party of some people they kinda knew, and clearly that sounded awesome? We couldn’t do that yet though; there were three more buckets and a lot more dancing to be done. Oh, and I had to go mine-sweeping. Dammit, am I too old for that? And yes, in case you’re just dying of curiosity, Gotye won the countdown. You know that fucking annoying song that every single human on this continent has been raving about for like, fucking ever? The one about some soft-rock that I used to know? And now I have to go and cut OFF HIS TONGUE? The one that woulda been really quite decent, moving and depressing, and beautifully sung, except that, as you know, every single human on this continent, and probably the rest of the poor sad world, has been raving about it for like, fucking ever? Yeah, that one. And no, not one human was surprised he won, but yes, every human in Aussie land threw a collective fucking hissie fit when it happened. Not that I like, care or anything 🙂

And then we were directing our cab driver to the liquor store, the fiance in posession of his crutches, though no longer of his shoes, to pick up the beer that we took to the suburbs somewhere? I believe the next thing I remember is discussing how much the weather in Boston sucks balls this time of year with some Aussie dude manning the bbq. And thinking, “Fuck, some snow actually sounds nice right about now…” Absolutely no idea what suburb I may have been in. So then the fiance downed a bottle of gin, and I continued on to my fourth 6-pack of shit-ass beer (yes, I know, we were at the liquor store, we shoulda bought something better, but like, a case of decent beer here costs nearly $60, and we’d actually run out of money three times already by this point). There followed a loud loud interlude with some screaming of, “Chippies! I need chippies!”, I stole some sausage off Boston Aussie (ok, a really unaceptably large amount of sausage), and then we all ran into the back yard cause approximately three drops of rain had fallen. This is a big-ass deal in Western Australia, apparently. You know, the land where people start literally melting if it hits 60% humidity, that being about the temperature that my skin stops flaking off from dryness and consents to adhere to my body once again? So we ran and we frolicked, and the sky was rent with glory and rainbows, and… half of us almost got our faces wet. Ah well, I’m too drunk to be hot at this point, aren’t I?

See? It rainbowed AND dribbled three drops!

So the next couple hours are slightly fuzzy in my brain, as I was about 24 beers in for my 12 hours of drinking now. I definitely recall that Teenage Aussie 1 was running, and then he went down. Like, hard fall, sprawled all over the concrete. I recall that this upset me? Then I recall that I was running, I imagine to save TA1 from a fate worse than falling, but then I was falling? Wtf, man? Oh, crappety fuck. We’ve both managed to fall over that stupid plastic fencing shit, haven’t we? Like, the stuff that’s dayglo orange and blind people can see? Yup, yup we have. Landing right on my kneecap. Oh dear, and I am bleeding now, and that’s prob’ly gonna be a fuck of a bruise tomorrow, i’nit? Ah well, back to my stubbies!

So the party wound down (by which I mean the gin bottle emtied and some people we’d never met offered to drive us to our home across town for no apparent reason. ‘Cause that’s how Aussies roll) and so we rolled home. Thinking we were safe now, we started to stumble our inebriated, slightly soppy, communaly gimpy selves down the drive of our apartment complex, and suddenly ran into a drunk woman barelling down the way. So clearly we started chatting over nothing, and then she invited us in to the apartment next door? Except, as we discovered upon waltzing on in, this wasn’t actually her house, and I’m pretty sure it’s owners were sober. HaHA, that in no way is stopping us! It is Aussie Day, and I will drink ALL the Aussie beer!

Beer. And cider? Why don’t I remember even going to this bar???

Let’s just leave it there now, shall we, with the sobering reflection that holidays and celebrations are surely meant to be commemorated as their makers intended. Just bear in mind, if you’re ever in Oz for Aussie Day, that means you’d better be willing to get drunk enough to crack your patella, steal from teenagers and drink your Aussie mates down the toilet…

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