Now that I have finished blogging about my epic two week festive stint through the US and the UK, it is time to comment on another important holiday that I celebrated just a couple of weeks ago... Australia Day. As time sallies forth, I have become more and more enamored with the Australian culture. I would say that this obsession began a few years ago when I first came to Paris and found that some of my closest friends were Australian, in addition to the man I was dating at the time. I always found it rather providential that an American girl should meet an Australian guy so far away from both their own homes. While that relationship didn't turn out the way my heart had hoped, I continued to make new friends from Down Under, and my passion was reignited during my Eastern European trip this past fall. I still have very little memory of Vienna or the AUSTRian culture because I spent most of my time there on a cycling vineyard tour, guided by an Aussie and surrounded mostly by fellow members of the land of Oz. It has fast become top on my list of travel destinations, of course pending a large bank account and even larger amount of time. Regardless, I also pretty much like any celebration where I can take full advantage of snacks, props, and costumes.
This year, I made it my mission to do the day right, going so far as to schedule an outing that day with one of my friends weeks in advance. She happens to be French, but was also close with the Aussies we were all friends with in Paris years ago, and knows the bar we went to very well... Café Oz. Before the evening approached, however, I went to the store to buy some Tim Tams, those oh so heavenly of Aussie snack, and printed out some Australian animal finger puppets I found online. I of course also reposted the perfect Aussie slang poem I wrote a couple of years ago and made sure to tag everyone I know from that crazy place on Facebook. All I'm saying is, never do anything by halves.
Café Oz is a chain of Australian bars in France. There are a few in Paris and I believe a couple of others sprinkled in the South as well. Our friends used to work there back in the day, so I've partied there several times, and my French friend still has connections behind the bar. This meant that we didn't have to pay quite so much at what can often be a touristy, overpriced location in Chatelet. I would say the best parts of the evening were the fact that they were giving out ridiculous rancher hats, Yellow Tail key chains and t-shirts, and even serving up samples of lamingtons, a delicious tasty treat involving sponge cake, chocolate, and coconut... Yummmz. As noted before, costumes plus props plus snacks equals perfection. While I think I managed to message the cute Australian tour guide from Vienna about 25 times over the course of the day in my enthusiasm for the celebrations, I tragically did not meet any new Aussie lads to be ridiculous with. French friend and I ended up chatting with a British guy for a chunk of the evening instead. I recall him vaguely hitting on whomever might be interested, and pointing out that I apparently make very vivid facial expressions in general. Other than that, it was a relaxed but jolly Straya Day evening. We enjoyed our time celebrating a country that yes, has a pink lake, duck-billed platypuses... or platypi (which I prefer but who really knows!) and drinks lots of amber fluid.