Optus blows. Not only does my phone service consistently de-credit my account, hang up on important phone calls and get no reception in the first- and second-largest cities in Australia, but it also successfully managed to charge me $35 in roaming fees for calls made in Sydney. And the last time I checked, Sydney was based within Australia. Apparently Optus uses the same phone system as 16th century Africa, at a significantly higher price. Come on Optus, seriously.
So Saturday was Mardi Gras in Sydney, and since it was a three-day weekend I decided to make the 712-kilometer trek to watch how gay people celebrate Mardi Gras. You see, Australia's version of Mardi Gras really has nothing to do with our Mardi Gras, the annual series of events preparing for the start of Lent. There were no beads, no drunk Louisiana Tech frat guys and no delicious gumbo. Mardi Gras here is just one massive gay orgy.
Approximately 871.5 billion gay people flooded Oxford Street, Sydney's version of the Red Light District, to watch a three-hour parade where everything from football players to piggy banks suddenly became gay. Thousands of people marched in the parade in costumes, underwear or leather, and all were celebrating and barracking for universal gay rights. It was quite the spectacle for Australia, but basically the equivalent of a Tuesday in San Francisco.
Some of my friends in San Fran have actually been doing their part to keep the "Overturn Proposition 8" movement alive. More than 3,000 people marched down Market Street on Wednesday, the night before the California Supreme Court commenced hearing arguments for the validity of Prop 8. While Sydney's Mardi Gras was a celebration for the entire gay community, many more gay rights activists will be celebrating if California and the U.S. can prove to the world they are a leader in the quest for universal equality. It's a big statement but one all Californians can be proud of if and when our judicial system repeals what non-sensical voters helped push through.
So it was a good week here in Australia and abroad. Other than standing for seven consecutive hours waiting for the gay people to actually show up to the parade, I also spent my weekend in Sydney meeting new Canadians and old co-workers. We spent most of the time in The Rocks, enjoying Saturday night beverages and Sunday afternoon refreshers at The Glenmore Hotel and The Argyle. Both were beautiful.
Abroad, Syracuse is FINALLY going to the NCAA Tournament after two years in the NIT. Just two and a half months ago Syracuse was losing at home to Cleveland State and Eric Devendorf was busy punching women in the face (which by the way, all of us who saw Devendorf back in 2006 probably knew that was bound to happen). And now? The Orange finished the regular season 23-8 after an overtime win at Marquette: not too shabby.
Here in Victoria, colder weather has helped with the bushfires, but Australia is still proving it's a land with many natural disasters. On Friday Melbourne had the biggest earthquake in 36 years and a cyclone is currently hitting the state of Queensland. Adding insult to injury, Cyclone Hamish, which was originally expected to effectively flush out dengue-carrying mosquito larvae, is now expected to instead create more breeding grounds for them to spread the disease even further. D'oh!
So 28 weeks down and I'm finally starting to get into The Raveonettes. I always appreciated their Buddy Holly melodies and Everly Brothers harmony, but not until recently did I find out Sune Rose Wagner, the female half of the duo, was actually pretty hot. Suddenly I appreciate their music a little more now. And despite hiring me, Edelman was this week named PRWeek Agency of the Year for the third consecutive year, an impressive accomplishment. Go Team! Anddd... Happy Birthday Tara!!! We'll celebrate when I get back. Miss you all! Twenty-eight weeks down, 24 to go.
Week Twenty-eight Summary:
Weather: Rainy. Twenty-eight weeks and I still don't own a brolly!
New observation: Australians really like the name Hamish. Why???
New activity(ies): Gay Mardi Gras, standing for 7 hours
New food: white wine sangria (yum), lychees (double yum)
New word(s): gobsmacked (surprised). Mozzies v Muzzies (Mosquitos v Muslims) - don't mix them up
New people: heaps of gay people and Canadians. I miss them already.
What I miss: all the randoms outside the Fillmore Center, American bread, the old Joaquin Phoenix, Frappuccinos, 3(0)c1W