Australia Day is fast approaching. It is the national day of Australia and it represents the day that the First Fleet landed on the shores of Australia - a sensitive issue for the indigenous people of Australia. It also happens to be my birthday.
To celebrate this wonderful day - i.e. Australia Day, haha - I have organised a big picnic in Buenos Aires. So far there are around 120 people due to attend. In an attempt to have something true-blue Australian at the gathering, I placed call for help in many public forums asking my fellow compatriots to kindly send over some Vegemite! A number of beautiful people answered the call and hence we have been sponsored by over a kilogram of the edible, black gold.
A few people even sent over some other goodies to quench the homesickness of all the Aussies away from home on this national day. These include: a bag of candies, a Melbourne newspaper, Australian chocolates and Australian flags. I was even sent a jar of Marmite for a taste comparison against Vegemite.
I also attempted to get corporate sponsorship. I contacted: Football Australia, asking for an Australian football; Cricket Australia, asking for a cricket set; Rugby Australia, asking for a rugby ball; Nestle, asking for Milo; and Kraft, asking for Vegemite - you can never have enough. Only Nestle and Kraft humoured me with a reply. Here is part of Kraft's reply:
"At this point in time Kraft has allocated all available funds to a number of worthwhile causes with a focus on children, hunger and nutrition and we regret that on this occasion we are unable to assist you."
I wrote back:
"I think it is wonderful that Kraft has allocated their funds to focus on children, hunger and nutrition. That's perfect, as most of the people attending the event will be hungry children - at least mentally - and they have really bad diets with poor nutrition. One guy even thinks he's Peter Pan!"
I think it's needless to say that I didn't get a second reply.
I also contacted Fox FM, Kiss FM and SBS radio in an attempt to get media coverage, but they too failed to reply. My final point of call was the Australian embassy here in Buenos Aires - in an attempt to borrow a flag for the day. They wrote:
"The Embassy will lend you a flag on the condition that you commit to use it "respectfully" (i.e. not as a tablecloth, do not drop beer or beverages on it, etc.)."
They were absolutely wonderful, giving me their full support. They: lent me a big, official flag and a long string of smaller flags; and they gave me a box of "Guide to Australia" magazines and a bunch of fantastic, pocket-sized handbooks to give out.
The embassy are really happy with my efforts, and have even invited me to an official event on Monday to celebrate Australia Day with them. Now I only have to find a collared shirt to dress up for the occasion.
It should be a wonderful day. For everyone in Australia, please know that there will be a big bunch of people celebrating Australia Day at the same time as you on the other side of the planet - as long as you're celebrating between 7am and 12pm, haha.
Here's a link to the post of the event. It's written in three languages - Australian, English and Spanish:
I have a whole bunch of activities organised for the day, and I plan to take photos of everyone at the critical moment when they taste Vegemite for the first time. Beware all you Vegemite virgins. ;)
"Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi"
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- Australia Day picnic in Buenos Aires
- Everyone loves Vegemite