Tuesday 26th January – Australia Day
Bronwen and I drove into the city and parked—which is easy to do on a public holiday because all the parking is free. We then walked through a light drizzle to Parliament House, where there was an “Invasion Day” rally. The talking went on for far too long and the message was often rather confused. Also somewhat confusingly, several first-nations flags from around the world were prominently displayed alongside the numerous Aboriginal flags.
In yet another confusing message, chanting of “you say justice, we say murder” changed into “don’t use our flag” as Parliament House took down the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags (it would be interesting to see what would happen if they never put them up again), and everyone marched through the city and over to Musgrave Park. It was quite a large march—larger than the pre-election “Gay Equality” march, but not as large as the “Rally for the Reef” one—I estimated a thousand people, though Bronwen felt it was more.
After the protesters had headed over to the nether regions of the city and out of everyone’s collective consciousness, Bronwen and I bought some chips and an apple turnover from Coles and drove to The Normanby (you can’t safely eat there—they were recently fined $30,000 for having too many cockroaches in their food) and their “1000 Watt Esky Races”. The atmosphere there couldn’t have been more different to the harsh, violent black, red and yellow iconography of the “Invasion Day” rally—with a liberal spattering of “look-I-take-roids” men and their “these-aren’t-fake-they’re-real” female counterparts each trying to show off as much of their respective assets as they could while getting rapidly drunk watching people fall off motorised eskies, or trying to eat two Chiko rolls as fast as they could.
A few people got hurt—mostly by catching their thong (or sandal) wearing feet on the ground—and after going slowly last year, this time Bronwen easily won her esky race, putting her through to the finals. She came second in the finals after they inexplicably reduced the races from four laps to two and she picked a position towards the back at the starting line and didn’t have enough time to overtake the girl who was started—and finished—first.
Then the Normanby—who had been advertising “races every hour and the chance to win prizes worth over $5000” and had been announcing all day that second prize was a $200 gift voucher—gave Bronwen a $100 gift voucher for coming second. First got a $500 gift voucher, and second and third each got a $100 one, and there was a men’s and a woman’s race—so by most peoples’ math, that’s a chance to win a total price worth $500, out of a prize pool of $1,400. To make their deceptive advertising practices slightly worse, they also stole the two photos I uploaded to their Facebook and used them in one of their ads. Still, it was a lot of fun and I didn’t get banned at the door for having a camera this year.
After the esky races had finished Bronwen and I caught the top three triplej Hottest 100 songs on the radio, and had to stand by helplessly as some drunk morons ruined one of council’s finest plants—which is the best argument I’ve seen against gun control—and then drove into the city where we had veggie burgers from Hungry Jack’s for dinner and went and saw the Bollywood film “Airlift” at the Myer Centre. Conveniently, this used up—to the dollar—my movie gift card I got from my sister for my previous birthday, and which expires at the end of the month. I can now move onto using up the new one she gave me!
The movie itself was quite good—not really like a Bollywood film, though they did manage to sneak in a tiny bit of song and dance—and told an interesting story I didn’t know anything about.