Monday, January 28, 2008

From the Land Down Under

Happy Australia Day.

What’s that? You didn’t even know it was Australia Day? Well neither did I. But once a year some swimmers from our team celebrate Australian Day. And when two Australians accost you in a hot tub asking if you’ll celebrate with them – well, call me a sucker for strange accents and big shoulders but I couldn’t help but say “ok”.

There’s something about Australians. I suspect that anyone with an accent that quirky would be oodles of fun to spend time around. Not only that but they sure can swim. I also suspect that Australia Day is not an official holiday but rather just an excuse to get together and consume Australian beer. Sure enough, we arrived at the Australia party we find the host wearing a shirt that said I’m from Australia, let’s get drunk.

The name assignment begins next. I guess this is an Australian trick to keep people from knowing the real identity of the very drunk person in the corner by the end of the night. So the host shows us sheets of sticky name tags with everything Australian. He looks at us as if he employed some ancient Australian mind trick to reveal our true identity. Rightfully then, my husband is assigned the name Chunder. Perfect, let’s hope he doesn’t chunder by night’s end. Over in the corner is Chook which I learned means chicken, totally throwing me for a loop because in Italian it means drunk. Of course the guy in the goofy shirt, he is the Dringo. Someone else is the Bush Tucker. No comment. That guy over there is Blotto. Well, not yet. But just give it time. And who would have thought I’d see Germaine Greer walking around. On the bench, Brazza, Chopper and his girl Dantii (Kylie Minogue’s younger, less famous sister). And for me, I am christened:

Snugglepot

Snugglepot? Is that like a honeywell? If that’s the case then color me insulted in this country. The host then assures me that Snugglepot, and his companion Cuddlepie, are cute little babies that live in the gum nut tree.


Thank you, that makes me feel much better. I think.

Now that we have our official Australian names we are granted permission to actually join the party. Australia has exploded all around. In the living room stands the bare skeleton of a Christmas tree, completely deneedled and stuffed with eucalyptus branches instead. Hanging from the tree is variety of Australian wildlife; snakes, fruit bats, koalas, and wait, what is that at the top.

And, wait, up at top, sticking out from the tree…..is that Kookaburra?

It is. Part of me wants to break out into song, the other part of me can’t believe that a Kookaburra is really ‘real’.

There is an inflatable crocodile. Also an inflatable kangaroo. Someone shows up with an inflatable Love Ewe and all of a sudden the kangaroo and ewe are doing nonspeakable things.


There is also Australian fare. A pictoral guide to all of the Australian beers. A plate of Vegemite and butter sandwiches. I am proud to say I resisted the urge to try one. Shrimp that had been barbequed. Lamingtons. Australian candy. Meat pies.

Honestly the meat pies were the most comical. Imagine this, the hostess is walking around with a dish full of meat pies. She walks up to my husband and asks "would you like a meat pie?" But if you speak with an Australian accent it sounds more like "mate pie". So my husband thought they were mate pies or make pies or whatever the case the poor hostess must have said MEAT PIE a thousand times and still he asked me later "what were those things again?"

THE THINGS YOU KEPT EATING.

Someone brings in a CD of the Wiggles. Well, they are Australian of course. I break out into a lyric of “Hot Potato, hot potato” to which someone replies “Cold spaghetti, cold spaghetti.” Good call. He must have a small child. For me, I just like the Wiggles and their songs.

Spent some time talking with Chopper and Dantii. They are racing again this year which means M25-29 and F30-34 better look out. Another triathlete power couple who will likely dominate at MIM and nationals. Mark my words. Of course they won’t be using their Australian code names. Which should leave you in suspense until then.

Talked with code-name-Brazza. If you wake up with a caboodle of lawn ornaments in front of your house, a chandelier hanging from your tree, a plastic deer looking in your window I learned that you should probably blame Brazza. Also if you wonder who would buy an entire herd of chipped concrete deer from Menard’s – that again would be Brazza. This had nothing to do with Australia Day but everything to do with what happens when a group consumes too much Australian beer - they start scheming.

The rest of the evening is just doing what swimmers do best. Submerse themselves in liquids. Of all kinds. I stuck with my water which led to several trips to the loo. And as for the Australians? They advised all to drink until the blue heelers come home. I’m not sure if that happened because we went home at 11 pm. I signed the guest book thanking the hosts for a proper Australian education. And looking forward again to Australia Day next year.

3 comments:

Benson said...

Now that sounds like a heap of fun. I think Australian day should come more than once a year though.

Beth said...

I just listened to an interview with Chris McCormack last night and by the end I felt like I had an Australian accent too! Good day mate! (or perhaps he was saying good day meat pie! :)

Mary Sundy Kelley said...

It sounds like you had quite an authentic "Australia Day" -- I just celebrated my second one here in Oz. About your nickname -- I took a pic of the "Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie" poster at the local theatre b/c it was so funny... I'll send it to you so you can have an extra chuckle! Later mate!