Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holiday Season Down Under

This holiday season was different in just about every way possible from the ones that I’ve experienced for the past 23 years. While the lack of my family was by far the greatest absence of the season, the weather differed slightly from the wintery wonderland that is often Boston during the holidays.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started off with a 6-hour shift of housekeeping at the hostel and then a costumed holiday party with the APA crew at the Trace Facility. Apparently Aussies think that Christmas is a good time to host costume parties because I saw a lot of weird costumes that were definitely not “Holiday-spirited” wandering around on the public transportation in the week leading up to Christmas. Taking inspiration from some of the English guys at the hostel, Fizz, Martin (a fellow “foreign” traceur from China), and I dressed up as Christmas smurfs. While this was not as easy as we thought it would be (finding body paint was surprisingly difficult for such an artsy city), we managed to get all of the required pieces and “got dressed” outside the warehouse before the party.

Getting "dressed" for the party.

Filling in the blanks.

Parkour love, APA style.

No comment.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning was pretty anticlimactic as there weren’t any presents to open and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the hostel before heading over to Fizz’s apartment for Christmas dinner with a number of English ex-pats. As with most English events that I’ve attended (with the exception of those within the parkour community), a lot of our time was spent with alcohol in hand, which resulted in a much more “jovial” Christmas atmosphere than usual. After a delicious feast, and feast is the only way to properly describe the spread we had before us (4 different types of meat, pastas, sweet potatoes, string beans, ….), we let our stomachs recover a bit with some Wii games and then headed down 5 minutes down the road to the beach- loaded with coolers and drinks of course.

Christmas at the beach (the sun was hiding by this point).
Since a bunch of people from the hostel were having a barbecue a bit farther down the same beach I spent Christmas afternoon bouncing between the two groups, enjoying the brief moments of sunshine that occurred between cloud masses. As the sun went down I headed back to Fizz’s with the rest of England to party some more although most people ended up retiring early to rest up for the next day’s (Boxing Day) cricket test (match) between Australia and England (aka the Ashes- apparently a big deal). I took the last tram back to the hostel to find that the bar downstairs was in full swing so I promptly joined in. The night came to an end with a phone call from my family, the first time I’d had the chance to have a proper conversation with them in ages, who were just finishing up Christmas breakfast.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve started with drinks and sunshine on the riverside outside the hostel. As darkness fell, the riverside got even more crowded in anticipation of the fireworks. Instead of the usual fireworks show, Melbourne actually hosts two shows, one at 8pm for families with little ones, and another at midnight to really celebrate. After the first round of fireworks I headed into the center of town to meet up with some of the parkour guys (and girls) to find a better vantage point for the midnight show. We managed to find one that was about 35 stories up in the center of the city, and since the fireworks were shot off from the tops of five of the tallest buildings in the city we had the best seats in the city.

Right in the middle of everything.

Not a bad way to welcome in the new year.... photos courtesy of Anna & Pui

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