Saturday, June 28, 2008

What I Did On My Australian Vacation: Day Thirteen

And this is it! The last day! The end! I'm sure some of you out there are breathing a sigh of relief that I'm shutting up about this now, but I hope it was of some interest to people nevertheless. Anyway...

Day Thirteen:

Yep, sadly this was the day of our departure. It also happened to be Anzac day, a national holiday in which Australians and New Zealanders honor their war dead in general, and those who fell in the battle of Gallipoli in WWI in particular. A lot of people don't even realize that the Australians played a role in WWI, but they lost something like 8,000 people in that battle, a staggering number for such a sparsely populated country. And, I have to say, for all America's gung-ho flag-waving and continual protestations about how much we "Support Our Troops!", from what I've seen, the Australian people almost make me a little ashamed at how Americans treat such holidays. Namely, either by celebrating them as a fun excuse for a day off work, or by becoming aggressively over-sentimental. The Australian observance of Anzac day, by contrast, seemed to me much more universal, solemn, dignified, and heartfelt. Our tour guide even got up at 4 AM to attend a dawn remembrance service in Sydney, saying her friends would never forgive her if they found out she was in the city and hadn't gone. I can't easily imagine an American of the same age saying the same thing.

Anyway. We may not have been up at 4AM to honor the Australian war dead, but we were nevertheless up early, as we had to leave for the airport at 7:30. Our guide was back in plenty of time to say goodbye, though, and several members of our group were also there to see us off. (We were the first ones to depart that morning. A lot of the others didn't leave until the afternoon.)

I've already bitched about the flight back. Suffice it to say that it was, well, pretty much hell, that I was cramped and miserable and unable to sleep, and that by the time we landed in Los Angeles (which was only the first leg of the trip for me), everybody was tired and cranky and snappish. Not a pleasant way to wrap up two weeks of fun and relaxation, really, which is why I'm glad that it's already starting to fade in my memory a bit, in favor of the much more pleasant stuff in between the Flights From Hell. But, man, I cannot wait for the day when they finally get around to inventing the transporter. Or at least the day when I'm independently wealthy and can fly first class. I'm not taking any bets as to which of those two is less likely, though.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your joournal of your Australian trip, which I've greatly enjoyed reading.

    I had thought that Gallipoli was in WWI, and Wikipedia seems to agree: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli#Battle_of_Gallipoli

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  2. D'oh! For some reason, once I start typing "WWI", the other "I" seems to flow on out of the keyboard. Fixing!

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