Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Australia Day

I'm still no good at posting things as they happen.

Australia Day was January 26.  It celebrates (if I remember correctly) the arrival of what Australians call the First Fleet, the ships containing the first settlers over in Sydney Harbor.  Roughly equivalent to if the US celebrated the pilgrim's landing at Plymouth.  Which actually seems to me to be a better idea for a public holiday than celebrating Columbus Day.

Anyway, just as Sydney is known for their New Year's celebrations, Perth is (at least they think this) is known for it's Australia Day celebrations/fireworks.  Hundreds of thousands of people go to King's Park, the Esplanade at the edge of the city center, or the shores of South Perth to see fireworks shoot off from barges in Swan River.  (For a bit of geography orientation...imagine a wide V-shape.  The Esplanade is one of the interior sides, and King's Park the other.  Then there's a peninsulas that juts into this V which is South Perth.  Swan River is in between the two.  So there's a lot of places from which to see the fireworks.)  Some fireworks also shot off the tops of buildings downtown, coordinated with what was going on in the river.

People get all decked out for the day, wearing all sorts of flag accessories, clothing, tattoos...  And a lot of drinking and barbeques happen.  Dan and I went to King's Park for most of the day, with a co-worker of mine (Eleanor) and a friend of hers.  We had a picnic, watched the air show that took place until it got dark, and then enjoyed the fireworks.  A local radio station coordinates with the show, so everyone brings their radios and listens to the music that goes with the fireworks.  My favorite was Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World", with it's trees of green, clouds of white, red roses too...all the colors were timed perfectly with the fireworks going on, and then at the "I. Love. You." line, the fireworks were red hearts.  It was impressive.

Dan and I donned Australia gear for the day, mostly loaned to us by Eleanor.

Eleanor and Dan

I have Australian Flag temp tatoos, and my cowboy hat (because
I'm American, don'cha know) that Eleanor brought me has
Aussie flags around the crown.
  Definitely a good time.

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