Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Yesterday was boxing day, a completely new and unfamiliar national holiday to us. We're not entirely sure of its significance, but it seems at one time it was the one day a year where rich people had to be nice to their servants. We like to envision it as the day servants used their masters as punching bags. Regardless of its past significance, now boxing day is associated with SHOPPING! The closest day we have to it in the states is the day after Thanksgiving - Black Friday. The stores even open up at 6:00 in the morning. Although in Darwin that probably means they opened at 9:00 instead of 10:00 in the morning.

We decided to venture out to the mall, and the rest of Darwin was kind enough to join us. We were looking for some furniture and white goods to fill that townhouse we have yet to find or move into. The mall was really like any other mall. The stores look the same, sell the same clothes, and shop for their music at The only difference seems to be in names of the store. And yes, that party like its 1985 style is very popular here too. It was good fun, but a bit overwhelming at the same time.

Mostly at David's prompting, likely spurred on by his fetishism of anything 19th century European, we've started to watch cricket. Currently there is a big match-up between India and Australia in Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bun). Bryson, in his book In a Sunburned Country, gives a more than adequate description of cricket, so we won't tread on his toes. A lot of people describe cricket as boring to watch, but it is still interesting to us because we haven't the slightest idea what is going on. Apparently an inning lasts until all the batsmen are out (10), which means the innings can span multiple hours and, most often, days. One time the game had to end because the Australians needed to catch a boat back to Australia from South Africa. The nice thing is you can pick up the game after having been away for four hours and nothing really has changed. When the first inning ended, the Australians had scored 343 runs. Apparently 350 is the mark of a good inning.

A sense of frustrating idleness is settling in this week. We desperately want to find a place of our own, but all the real estate agents are closed until January 2nd. Most things hinge on having an address of our own, or proof of a residence. We've taken advantage of the lull in that we've been able to explore a bit of Darwin and the surrounding area, but most things that we could take care of are already done. So we're spending our time socializing with Jenni's co-workers... clearly out matched in alcohol consumption, but learning a good deal about what it means to be a "Territorian." So far that means rehashing the three C's of the local news: Crocs, Crimes, and Crashes. Yesterday we learned that speed limits on major highways were a recent introduction by the liberal party. Most locals took it as an attack on their civil liberties; their right to "drive at any speed we damn well please." Apparently some feel the same way about drinking and driving.


Barbara said...

Hi Jenni, David and all - welcome to Oz! so let me tell you about Boxing Day - yes the original British version was where the Lady of the House gave out a box of goodies ( ie Christmas leftovers!)on the 26th - but the Oz version sees us leaving out a 'slab' of beer (24 cans) or a bottle (if you dont have much $s) for the 'garbo' ( trash collector) and the 'nightman' (the guy who picked up the full dunny can (outdoor toilet bucket)— sadly we now have indoor plumbing and an huge trash truck - so things are much more boring now and so we shop - well some of us do! - enjoy!

dslamb said...

I guess if the rubbish isn't collected next week at the place we are house sitting we'll know why :).