Tuesday, November 18, 2008


On Saturday (November 15th) I woke up early and realized I had to finish reading a book as it was due at the Gosford Public Library & I couldn’t renew it as someone had a hold on it. Oh, I felt so powerless having no public librarian pull at all … Anyway, after speed-reading one third of one of those huge fantasy door-stoppers and picking up major plot points, snippets of dialogue & absolutely no scenery or descriptive prose, I was ready to trot down to return my book.
It was a nice day & Brian was up for a walk so we headed out. Partway down Showground Road a car came towards us that was notable. It was covered with lights, garlands & writing. It also had a floppy ragdoll Santa Claus precariously perched on the top of the windshield. The driver gave us a wave as they drove by & we waved back thinking … hmmm … interesting … they were awfully excited about the holiday a month and a half away & do we know them!?!
We continued towards town & as we got closer we saw a couple of people wearing matching clothes & carrying instruments. There often are events in the centre of Gosford on the weekend so we assumed a band had shown up to play for something or other. Then we saw a few more people also carrying instruments and wearing different colours. Then we saw a whole group of people carrying instruments & wearing complete Asian headdresses & costumes. One person handed us a Falun Gong pamphlet (a block after the Jesus pamphlet guy got us), so perhaps the costumes were Chinese, but they looked kind of Thai or Indonesian with the intricate & ornate headdresses. It was like being in a musical version of the Warriors … all the gangs were out, dressed in their colours, packing tubas and ready to rumble.
Finally, we got to centre of town & our questions were answered … it was the end of the Gosford Santa Claus parade & we were entering the surreal. There was a big stage set up and there was quite a line-up presented. First there was the local Town Crier dressed in full on Ye Old English wear. Next to him was Santa Claus visibly suffering in the humidity. Then there were 3 or 4 more of the elaborately costumed Falun Gong supporters. Peering from behind them was what I thought was a large blue bulb of garlic, but Brian supposed it was a creepy drop of water. For a mascot, he actually had a bit of a sinister look about him as he scanned the crowd from behind the line of peaky gold headgear. We actually saw the blue lump on the ground later with a sweaty young man wearing bright blue tights sprawled out beside it. We asked him what he represented & it turns out Brian was right, he was Whizzy the Waterdrop. Water conservation is a pretty big deal here, so he was there to browbeat the public into turning off their taps. Well, I was sold.
Here’s a picture of Whizzy in better days.

I’m not quite sure what contributed to his decline, but the change was quite remarkable. The Whizzy we saw that morning had developed an over-bite with large, elongated front teeth, his eyebrows were bushier & closer together thereby increasing the intensity of his gaze quite a bit & he was much faded in colouring. Quite sad really … perhaps a doomed affair, leading to depression & a few lost years at the bottom of a bottle? Who can tell?
Oh, there was also a full marching band playing while a large koala mascot in a Santa hat was dancing around.
It was all a bit much to come across by chance. As we walked around a bit I spied … nooo … they are packing up the outdoor griddles … we missed a pancake breakfast! Argh … will there ever be any other outdoor breakfast event I enjoy more? Never! We did scoop up some left-over free juice boxes though.
We decided then to head to the library & have some lunch at a nearby cafe. By the time we finished lunch, the town square was virtually empty. If the bouncy castle had not still been set up it would seem to be just a humidity-induced hallucination. So this is Christmas in Australia so far … interesting!

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