In April of 2011 Blonde, in observation of her ongoing unemployment, wisely went to Australia for three weeks with Brunette. The ostensible “reason” was that we “needed” to swim with whale sharks. April is the time of year when the whale sharks pimp themselves out to tourists at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.
We carefully planned our itinerary to be unaffected by Easter as we have been massively inconvenienced by disorganized religion more than once. We did know that while we were in Oz ANZAC Day would occur.
As Blonde and Brunette hail from Boston and western PA respectively we are unaccustomed to observing ANZAC Day. We thought it was a day that occurred on April 25 and that was that. It was mistakenly identified as being an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day. It has something to do with having kicked some serious ass in Turkey in World War I.
In reality it stands for Australian Nasty Zealots Acquiring Currency Day and it isn’t only one day. Dismayingly, it was the day after Easter Monday (seriously, that still even exists as a holiday?) which made for a long holiday weekend. Additionally, each state or territory comes up with their own plan for observing ANZAC Day. Per Wikipedia for Anzac Day 2011:
In Western Australia and the ACT, a special holiday was declared for Tuesday, April 26, however neither Easter Monday or Anzac Day have been substituted, because it was not considered appropriate to lessen the significance of either day by moving the observance to some other time, so Tuesday, April 26 was simply declared to be a holiday.
Got that? Additionally, in the very expensive land of Oz, restaurants add at least 20% to your tab on holidays so you get to pay their staff the holiday differential. Starting to understand the “Nasty Zealots” part of ANZAC Day?
On Western Australia’s ANZAC Day we had driven out to do some snorkeling off the soft sandy beaches in Cape Range National Park. Having driven there the previous day and getting caught in a dusk driving game of trying not to play “Whack-a-Roo” with the car we wisely planned to leave before dusk on ANZAC Day.
On arrival at the park a sign stated that it was closing at 3:00 that afternoon. History buffs that we are we made note of that and promptly forgot. It was only closing to incoming cars. Starting to see how weird and annoying this holiday is?
B&B were in our bathing suits when we arrived at the park and spent several hours blissfully snorkeling, even spotting an actively undulating Octopus. (Try saying that fast three times and not getting slapped.) Having sated our snorkeling appetites it was time to leave the park before the ‘roos began plotting that day’s tourist terrorism roulette.
Blonde is obsessed with not wearing damp bathing suits so we headed to the park’s visitor center rest room/ changing rooms. Wheeling into the parking lot with the skill of drivers unaccustomed to driving standard shifts, on the left hand side of the road in ‘roo ridden lands, we saw with dismay that we were the only car in the lot.
Not a pair to accept reality gracefully we grabbed our dry clothes and bolted off to the rest rooms. As we got to the door of the women’s room one of the guards/rangerettes whatever-they-ares blocked our entrance and proclaimed the park to be closed. Our entreaties for amnesty were as welcome as if we were asking members of The Tea Party in Arizona. (Asking in Spanish, while playing mariachis.)
The rangerettes, most likely in permanently foul moods due to the unattractive design and fabric of their uniforms, roared off and left us standing there. Brunette might have accepted defeat but Blonde saw this as a throwing down of the gauntlet. The park was deserted and the visitor center closed. If any cars did pull in we would see and hear them well in advance of them seeing us.
We would change our clothes around a corner and beat the system! Taking turns guarding each other’s nonexistent modesty we stripped naked and then put on our dry clothes. Blonde always has to be the one to do stupid things first. When she was finished she thought it was a good opportunity to pee in the bushes. Except there weren’t really bushes – just gravel and sand around the corner of the building.
While addressing the health of her kidneys Blonde suddenly had an image pop into her head. The image was of the sign posted in the window in front of which we had stripped. The sign said “24 Hour Video Surveillance”. This caused Blonde to nearly topple into a puddle of her own making and to inform Brunette that we had just been taped in all of our lack of glory.
As is our habit we exited the scene giggling and lacking the dismay we should have been experiencing.
Shockingly this salacious recording does not appear to have been released to the public. It’s clearly a coincidence that several park officers monitoring security took ill that same afternoon.
We hope we do not appear on any “Not Wanted” posters in Western Australia.
So hey, Aussies kicked ass on that day in 1915 and we showed some on that day in 2011- we all observe in our own ways.