Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Anyone can be Aussie

Well, if you can pass the exam, that is.

Ah, things were so much easier in the good old, bad old days, when all you had to do was get caught pinching a loaf of bread.  Here's a brief animated history of Oz, if you need some more reminders of the 'highlights'.  Or check out this post from The Barstool the same time last year, for more key 'cultural' guidelines.

Yes, it's once again Australia Day.  And, as usual, the trio of Aussie-owned bars (12 Square Metres, MaoMaoChong and Ned's) clustered around the south end of Nanluoguxiang - the 'Vegemite Triangle' as Mr Boyce dubs this little nexus - will be celebrating their national heritage.... with drinks specials and excessive consumption.

Or so we are promised.

But, as I recall, last year's Oz Day party was a tad subdued - at least compared to the previous two years, when it had fallen over the weekend.  A midweek date isn't at all conducive to day-long drinking, nor to heavy night-long drinking.  And even those of us who don't have much employment to worry about at the moment may be discouraged from bar crawling by the brutal north winds we've been suffering so much of this winter.  The proximity of the Chinese Spring Festival is likely to dampen spirits and restrict numbers as well: the dratted holiday is barely a week away now, and almost everyone with any money or sense has fled the country already.... or is going to, within the next day or two.  [I think the best Australia Day bash I've been to was the one two years ago, where JK, the proprietor of 12 Square Metres, had been home in Oz for the big day, and threw a catch-up party when he got back a month later - on 26th February.  Australia, alas, picked a really bad day to be celebrating its nationhood in China.  Things would go much better in a month's time, when the weather's a wee bit warmer, and 90% of your mates aren't on holiday.]

It's also a bit discouraging that the Vegemite Trio have lately been the most egregious offenders in terms of the random opening vice that I complained of the other day.  Now, I forgive Sean at MMC, because he's been doing a sterling job of keeping the bar going singlehanded this month, while owners Stephen and Stephanie are away on holiday - and he has made it known to the regulars that he can't make it in before 7pm (or, when he's having to schlepp in from a day job in Yingzhuan [I don't even know where that is!], not before 7.30 or 8pm).  But god knows what's been up with Stevo at Ned's and Li Mei at 12 SqM: if a bar's not open by 7.30 or so, I kind of give up on it - and I don't think either of them have made that cut any time I've tried them in the past two or three weeks.  I expect they'll be making special efforts to open early today, perhaps even in the afternoon (well, probably not at MaoMao: it's one of Sean's 7.30-for-8 nights) - but I have to say, my confidence in their ability to open at a reasonable time, and my goodwill, have been seriously eroded by their erratic showing since Christmas.

So, I'm thinking I might give Australia Day a miss this year....  But I wish the best to all you Aussies (and faux-Aussies in search of a mid-week drinking excuse) who are stuck in The Jing on this national day: I hope you have a good time in the Vegemite Triangle, or wherever else you go for your bevvies.

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