An Eastbournian Abroad with Ashley McMillan: Kangaroos on Whistler Mountain?

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So here’s a surprise, there’s been some celebrating going on in Whistler. No, seriously, there has!

Last week saw an influx of kids from the States descend upon the village to party and drink it up on ‘Martin Luther King’ weekend. An opportunity for all those south of the border who traditionally have to be 21 to legally consume the odd beverage or ten, to come up and take advantage of the legal drinking age of 19 here in British Columbia. There was the odd incident, there were more than a few young kids passed out in doorways and the occasional trail of an earlier digested meal for unfortunate pass by’s to spot. Some were more raucous than others and there’s always the odd idiot, typically from out of town, who just has to go too far and pull out a knife or smash a bottle in anger – rare, but it happens!

The 26th has just seen the passing (and passing out) of many of our antipodean friends of the ‘land down under’. Australia day, marked as a national holiday to celebrate the first landing and arrival of the first fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, is vehemently celebrated, in my humble opinion, wherever there is at least a meagre gathering of Aussies. Therefore Whistler, sometimes referred to as ‘Little Australia’, is perhaps officially marked off the calendar each year with quite a bit of oomph! A couple of the bars open up early morning (some do anyway!) especially to accommodate our friends from the southern hemisphere (often dressed in their national flag or some other ‘national’ costume). The drinking starts relatively early before many head up the slopes on what was decided would be a great idea to take the day of – Many sensible employers wouldn’t dream of posting any ‘patriotic’ Aussie to work on this day, especially later on and if they’re really clever, they wouldn’t bother asking them to turn up the next day either!

Consider the logistics – Much of the local workforce are from ‘down under’ and would have some interest in partaking in this day’s events of ‘celebrating’ their heritage (some may call it being deported from British shores, but that would just be deplorable now wouldn’t it!). For some, the events start on the 25th here as the world’s time zones allow their homeland to enter into their national holiday a day earlier. I don’t know how these guys manage it, but they do, or at least give it a good go anyways. I can only assume it must be genetics as it’s certainly not in my realm of strengths. So I guess the question is this; Is it a good idea to have too many Aussies on your workforce come this day if you’re expecting to be busy? Of course, many guys do work these days and wish to play no part in the whole hearted and lively celebrations, but that’s mainly just the rest of us.

Apparently the first skiing kangaroo was spotted with a beer in ‘its’ hand or ‘paw’ around 9.30am with a national flag on its back. If you haven’t seen this sight before, you obviously haven’t lived around these parts in previous winters, but it certainly catches the eye. Fortunately the ski hills are not presently rammed full of punters and tourists in what is a brief lull before the town swells yet again and this allows for slightly inebriated numbers to pub crawl their way across the resorts on hill bars and skip an weave their way through small lift line-ups without a second thought to those around them. Those that haven’t then gotten frostbite on some of their more exposed parts whilst on the slopes and make it down successfully, will look toward the number of clubs that have also opened extra, extra early (around 4pm), just to welcome these guys in. Talk about asking for trouble! Fortunately most of these guys are inoffensive and well behaved and some of the most easy going characters I’ve certainly come across. Hopefully therefore at the time of writing this piece, the number of ‘incidents’ will be very few and far between – we’ll see! I’m looking forward to seeing the monster hangover tomorrow! How many of these guys are working the next day- effectively anyway. Mmm.

Just a quick parting joke someone told me today that, in the multi cultural environment I live on, resonated with a few in my company whilst hearing it for the first time.

‘So did you hear the one about the different work positions in heaven and hell?

So in heaven all the chefs are French, the best lovers are Italian, the British are the police, the Germans are the mechanics and the Swiss make everything run on time.

So, in hell things are a little different:

The French are the mechanics, the British are the chefs, the Germans are the police, the Swiss are the lovers and the Italians make everything run on time!’

Enough said!