Thursday, 29 January 2009

Nostalgia, Bar Feet and Aussie Legends


So it's that time again - Australia Day. Last year I was in Sydney, flying out to Dubai that night and not allowed to drink anything. Being down by the Opera House with the other hundreds of thousands of people was really something, but this year I was delighted to be here in Dubai.

I'd flown out of Melbourne the night before, arrived at 5am and promptly had a great sleep. Once I woke up it was time for some grocery shopping and then planning our evening. There really wasn't much planning needed. Anyone in Dubai for Australia Day heads straight to Aussie Legends, an Aussie bar about 10 minutes from my place.

I leave everything to the last minute and I mean EVERYTHING! Let me illustrate - on the morning of our family holiday to Bali, I was still madly writing an essay and had to pretty much be separated from the computer so we didn't miss the flight. I practically threw the essay into a pre-dated envelope and hurled it into the mailbox as we flew past the post office. That's how last minute I am. So, it came to late afternoon on Australia Day and I was faffing around, crazily blow drying my hair and cramming illegally procured lamingtons in my mouth. I ran out of time to get the straightener onto it and had to go with slightly wild, fluffy hair. I was slightly amused when one of the Aussie boys greeted me and started stroking my unruly mane like I was a cat!

Cue hours of drinking and dancing, vegemite moustaches and Aussie flags, we had a wonderful afternoon that stretched well into the evening. I ended up in what we were calling ''Face Card Corner'', spotted a senior member of staff looking slightly conspicuous in amongst all the hammered crew, was set upon by a strange girl who clearly fancied herself to be a vampire and was told in hushed whispers that a girl I went to high school with was engaged (that much I already knew thanks to facebook) and that she was getting married in April but it was TOP SECRET!!!

Given the levels of alcohol being consumed on a day that celebrates the shiny amazingness of being Australian, I was most excited to see that the bar was serving Bundaberg Rum this year. It hasn't been available in previous years and that mere fact almost had me wailing into my Bacardi substitute. How dare a pub call itself Australian and then not serve Aussie rum!! Well, we got there at about 5pm and by then the bottle was looking rather miserable. I got the last three shots and then it was all over. I switched to a yummy honey flavoured beer and then it all got a bit messy.

I've been feeling very nostalgic for the last few weeks and haven't been able to put my finger on the reason why. After bumping into a significant ex at the pub, having a hug and being hit by an intense emotional wave, I backed away and stayed away for the rest of the night. Despite having been broken up for 2 years, something really upset me. The next day I figured it out! When I do Aussie trips I stock up on everything from fresh fruit, vegies and ham to bobby pins, hair spray and deoderant. Brands I like that aren't available here. It was the deoderant that did it! I mistakenly bought a different scented one when I was in Melbourne a few days before and realised it was the same one I was wearing over three years ago when I moved to Dubai and was still involved with the ex. Talking to Jena, we concluded that I could already smell it and when when hugged him the two things locked together in my mind and that's why I felt all nostalgic and weird.

Strange how smells are so powerful huh? While we may not remember specific things about situations, like what we said or what day of the week it was, there are just some smells that take us right back to where we were and transport us back to the person we were all that time ago....

There were boys with vegemite moustaches trying to kiss the girls, boys dressed in blue bonds wife beaters and of course, every person in the pub had on a pair of thongs. We are a glorious nation!

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