January 26th is the day the Australian’s have chosen to mark as their annual day of celebrating all things Aussie. It’s a commemoration of the day Captain Cook landed in Botany Bay in Sydney a couple hundred years ago and effectively turned Australia into a colony of England, and a day for all Australians to be extremely patriotic and full of country pride. Much like the 4th of July for Americans, it’s a public holiday where Australians revel in all things Aussie, usually by barbecuing, hitting a beach, and drinking heavily (interesting how American’s do the same thing on their day).
I had been invited to a few different things but had a fairly typical paralysis of too many options, so I didn’t really decide what to do until the day before. Since most of the other choices were a bit more “touristy:” go to Circular Quay and watch ferry races along with several thousand other tourists, do the giant inflatable flip-flop swim in Bondi. I chose to go to a beach in the deep north and watch a bunch of drunk men with no fear of broken bones hurtle down a hill on self-constructed go-karts. It was called The Esky Races (eskies are what we Americans would call a cooler), and according to my friends, it was probably the most “Aussie” thing you could do on Australia Day. Judging by the lack of foreign accents at the event, I had to agree.
After several rounds of races, a few collisions, and many beers, the final race went off, trophies were distributed, and the crowd began to scatter. So we headed over to a nearby beach, crossed over rocks to a more secluded alcove to avoid the lifeguards who wouldn’t have appreciated the beers we were drinking, and spent several more hours enjoying the Aussie sun on what amounted to a private beach.
After a fuzzy trip back to Bondi, we decided to split up, shower, and rest before we met up for the evening. Unfortunately, I slept until midnight, and I’m fairly certain my companions did as well. Since the rest of the week had been pretty big, and I’m fairly certain I’d filled my quota of drinks for the day, I decided to roll over and finish off sleeping for the rest of the night.
Now, not being a native Australian and being with a group of non-Aussies, I can’t say for sure if we did the holiday justice. I will admit to not feeling the wave of patriotism that I tend to feel on the 4th of July at home, and agree that our choice of activities for the day didn’t involve the Australian Anthem, or fireworks, or any of the things that would have made my heart swell with love for my new found homeland. But as far as being a good day with good friends, I think we ticked all the boxes.
Til next time, xoxoxo!