Sunday, May 6, 2012

Anzac Day 2012

ANZAC Day is a national day of rememberance in Australia and New Zealand, originally to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli during World War I.  This is also now intended to be a day of rememberance, similar to our veterans day, and most importantly is a day off of work and school.

While the day starts with somber dawn services at the RSLs (similar to our veterans clubs, but more of a community center) and surf clubs, like most Australian holidays this soon becomes a race to see how drunk you can get. 

At our local RSL, the Habord Diggers, where we are members of the mounties, they host the largest game of Two-up in the Southern Hemisphere.  The Aussies tell us that this is what the soldiers played in the trenches because it's essentially just betting on flipping a coin, however the wikipedia entry seems to disagree a bit.  Regardless, this is the one day a year where it's legal to play two-up, so everyone takes full advantage.
The crowd at Diggerts
After an afternoon bbq at our place with some practice rounds of two-up we moved the party over to the diggers.  This was around 4 pm, and at this point people had been drinking steadily since noon, if not earlier so the crowd was amazingly enthusiastic about the heads or tails outcome. 

The spinner in action
In this game, anyone in the crowd who wants to bet on heads holds up some denomination of money and shouts out "20 heads" or "10 on heads" until some random stranger in the crowd decides to take tails.  The person betting heads holds the money, and then the "spinner" flips the coins.  If the spinner gets three heads in a row they get some additional prize, so generally everytime that it landed heads everyone cheered, and tails was worth a boo. 

Amazingly, after hours and hours of drinking, this massive crowd was completely friendly, even with large amounts of money changing hands and no fights broke out.  After the sun went down we kicked our way through the piles of empty beer cans and champagne bottles and toasted one more in honor of those who have served.

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