ANZAC Day is a public holiday in Australia, and commemorates a battle fought in WWI where Aussies and Kiwis got horribly slaughtered by Turkish forces at Gallipoli. The day starts with a dawn service and parade (which, apparently, you have to get to at like 4:30am if you want to see it at all), then everyone heads to the pub and has a drink or six.
Aside from remembrance and giving thanks to those who lost their lives, the great ANZAC day tradition is a game called Two-Up.
Two-Up is a gabmling game traditionally played by soldiers in the trenches, and involves tossing two pennies in the air; you put money against another person on the coins landing heads or tales, and if they land the way you call them, you win! It’s kind’ve hard to describe…so I’d suggest reading the Wikipedia article on it for a more articulate explanation. Two-up is only legal on ANZAC day, and…it’s pretty addictive.
I started the night saying “I’d rather spend my money on beer”, but was eventually persuaded to bet $2. Just $2! And…and then I won. So I had an extra $2 to my name, which, due to beer and atmosphere and the feeling of a huge win, made me pull out a fiver and keep playing. Beer was flowing, people were laughing, I was holding a five dollar note to my bum* yelling “FIVE DOLLARS ON TALES!” Minutes later, *bam!* I won again! Up $7 now and feeling fine, I bought the next jug (pitcher of beer) and, keeping a cool head, stopped my gambling.
My friend wasn’t so lucky. He lost…well, he lost quite a bit. Poor cute bugger.
My favourite part about our ANZAC day, aside from the beer and mad ca$h I won, was the host of the Two-Up competition, Tora Hymen. She was in sparkling and revealing cammo, kept things moving along well, had an eye on bets needing to be placed and was loud and lovely all afternoon. She was great! Quite an entertaining addition to Two-Up, and super friendly! She gladly posed for a picture with us. Check out what my head is level with.
My first ANZAC Day was lots of fun, which is weird to say since it’s technically a day to commemorate a tragedy. This said, I saw a bunch of vets out in the pubs, decked in their uniforms and badges and having a blast right alongside everyone else. Weird? Fun? Disrespectful? Either way, $7 richer. Brap.
*I should probably explain: if you’re betting heads, you hold the cash to your head. If you’re going for tales, you hold it to your bum. Whoever bets heads holds the cash until the coins are thrown.