I'm working in my office on Good Friday. This means that I'm ignoring the public holiday--the first day of a four-day holiday weekend in Australia. As I said last year, I'm just not used to observing this most religious Christian holiday by going to the beach, eating hot cross buns, and gorging on chocolate. Thus, to avoid the awkwardness of it all I ran to what is familiar--my desk at UQ! Besides, I'm hopelessly behind in my work anyway.
For a fairly non-religious country, Australia does wholeheartedly observe Easter. All the shops are closed today, just like on Christmas Day. They'll be open again on Saturday, when we'll fight the crowds to buy some groceries, but then everything goes dark again on Sunday. Easter Monday (what's that all about anyway--the day that Jesus recovered from his resurrection?) is unpredictable in terms of what services are available. The major newspapers didn't publish an issue today, and I'm not sure whether they will do so on Sunday or Monday. We have no mail for four days, as the Australian Post isn't open on Saturdays anyway. A $1100 charge appeared in our checking account yesterday, but I must wait five days for my bank to re-open to find out where the charge came from. I keep muttering to myself, "Have patience, Eric. You don't live in the United States anymore!"
I was dying for a flat white this morning, so I was relieved to find an open coffee shop in Toowong--a Coffee Club full of Good Friday refugees. However, signs were prominently posted on the door announcing a 15% surcharge on everything because it was a public holiday. As I understand it, this strongly union-dominated nation mandates something like double holiday pay for anyone who works on public holidays. It's the law! That may explain why even the newspapers are shut down too. Still, the extra 50 cents for my coffee was well worth it.
Don't worry. I won't stay here much longer today. I can feel the spirit of the public holiday eroding my motivation with each passing hour that I sit here. And, despite the federal law, I'm not receiving any extra pay. You will, however, need to pay a 15% surcharge for reading this post.