marko_the_rat: (standing)
I did it! Another year under my belt. After I got to Rattus's 10th anniversary in 2015, it's been one year at a time, but my boss pointed out that next year is the 40th anniversary, so I can't miss that! 2018 or bust!

I flew in the day before, as is my habit, to give me time to acclimatise to Sydney and maybe catch up with friends. Everything seemed to go wrong with Friday, starting with getting out of bed. I checked my email and found Tiger had cancelled my flight 3 hours before it was scheduled to go citing "operational reasons". It said to call them to book a new flight. I did and was left on hold for 50 minutes. (While I was waiting I checked to see if there was any way I could do this on their website, but a phone call was my only hope.) When I finally got to talk to a human, she told me there were no flights from Brisbane she could put me on today, so I agreed to a flight from the Gold Coast when my darling and long-suffering raccoon said he'd drive me. Yes, I know I only have myself to blame for flying with Tiger, but they'd always treated me well before and I thought they'd cleaned up their act since they got bought by Virgin. I was determined to fly to Sydney on Friday because this was my chance to go to the Finnish Consulate to renew my Finnish passport.

Once settled into my room (I'd found a hotel right on the edge of Moore Park), I headed out to find the Finnish Consulate. Google Maps helpfully guided me via public transport to a construction site in the rain. It turns out they'd moved, but Google Maps had pulled the info from my Contacts which for some reason I'd saved from an earlier visit. It was too late for me to get to their new location so I made my way back into the CBD to explore for a little before having dinner with Belinda. When I got an SMS from her I realised my phone had not updated to Sydney time (I had switched off automatic time zone on my phone because it keeps getting it wrong in Brisbane) and I was running late so I had to hot foot it to the other side of the CBD. (Sydney is very big to a small town rat such as myself.) Meanwhile, Stephen (my frequent roommate for Mardi Gras) was having dramas of his own. His Virgin flight had been cancelled and they automatically rescheduled him for a flight later that night (Tiger, take note!) only to have that cancelled and he was rescheduled to fly in early Saturday morning. He rang Virgin but they were adamant there were no flights to Sydney that night. (It was raining fairly heavily in Sydney, but nothing like a storm.) He ended up huddling with other early starters in the only part of Brisbane Domestic airport still open at night. I spent that night alone and lonely, but at least I was warm and dry in a comfortable room and slept soundly that night.

Saturday thankfully went much more smoothly. I got to enjoy an early morning walk in Moore Park until I was drenched by a surprise downpour, but Stephen got to the hotel at last and there was much rejoicing. We took a bus with our suits into the CBD and got there smoothly without the full buses and crawling traffic. Leaving early pays off! We found a new furry who was even earlier than us and we set up shop next to a fairy ring and became the official furry gathering point for that year. (I think we had the honour of being the first furs he'd met irl up to that point--what a leap from never having met another fur to marching in Mardi Gras! I hope we made a good impression.) We were up towards the front of the parade this year and there was patchy rain so it curtailed my own exploratory impulses, explaining why I didn't take many photos this year, but the rain stopped when it was our turn to march. Another great march as always, thanks to Dustan and Loupy.

We went back to our room (still a long walk, but at least we didn't have to brave a taxi or Uber), freshened up and had a long walk to the Erciyes Restaurant (one of the few places still open at that time of night, but it was worth it!). Stephen had been holding up remarkably well on one hour of sleep, but after dinner it finally caught up with him. He'd wanted to go to the after party but he couldn't stay awake so we both had an early (?) night.

Sunday we got to hang out with Kamadan (an NZ spotty cat) and Vel (the only sometimes scary demonic platypus). We made it to the airport with plenty of time and enjoyed a drama free flight back to Brisbane.

Photos

I took a handful of photos which I left up on Google Photos.

The official float photographer took a lot of great photos, including this lovely one of Stephen and I (I took Rattus Alt because I feel as if Mardi Gras belongs to him):


The official Mardi Gras photographer took a great shot of the float:



You can also see the livestream of the whole parade (the time link goes straight to our float) here.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
It seems to have become part of my routine to give my own personal Mardi Gras wrap-up. My attempt to learn lessons from last year's Mardi Gras failed but it was still my best Mardi Gras yet! This being my 10th Mardi Gras in a row, I should explain why I keep coming back year after year. Lupie said it best, on a natural high at the after-party: We get to feel like rock stars, just for one night. That's what I come back for every year. Where else can a humble* rat like me experience huge crowds cheering us as we go past?

The furry float itself went off without a hitch (there were some last-minute dramas with the float but those got resolved before we started marching). I planned to march on foot this year, as sort of a tribute to Rattus's first Mardi Gras when he was only a partial and we all had to do it on foot, and I followed through. (Thanks to Dustan for getting my new external foot paws done at such short notice.) Doing the parade on foot makes it feel much more personal and immediate, and I was able to surprise some of the audience by handing out impromptu hugs and high-fives. It also meant I featured prominently in Channel 10's news coverage of the event. I've said before I do it for the crowd, not for the media, but it is a nice bonus. I was especially chuffed because this was Rattus's 10th and he deserved something special to mark it. I felt like I was entering an altered state of mind towards the end but I knew I was committed because there's no question of climbing onto the float once the parade has started (it's a safety issue).

But what are the lessons I failed to learn? I thought getting a room near the end of the parade route would make it easier but that back-fired. My unfamiliarity with Sydney (even with Google Maps, it's very confusing) meant I ended up still being around 3km away from the end of the parade route, and so far away from the start that the only way to get there was by bus. I ended up with a large entourage and organising furries is like herding epileptic cats. By the time we were all ready and waiting at the bus stop, it took several buses before there was one empty enough to take us and then it was a slow creep through traffic to get to Hyde Park (anyone would think there was some big event on!). To my great shame, Dustan had to wait for us so we could all get into the locked off staging area. Afterwards it was a trudge back to the room. I think I was better off with the room I had last year, though at least this way we didn't have to navigate our way around the Mardi Gras crowds.

While I was thrilled to get a photo of Rattus with Scurrow and to fan-boy him, I was deeply disappointed not to get a photo of all three rodents together (except in Logan Husky’s group photo of course). I didn’t think it was my place to be ordering fursuiters about so I let the opportunity pass. Maybe I should have been more bossy? I’m sure the furries thought me adequately bossy when I was trying to get them to Hyde Park!

I was telling myself that this was my last one, that I don't have to keep coming. But why should I stop? I am still having a great time and (as I proved this year) I am still up to the physical challenge of marching. I just need to get over my superstition that if I miss a year I won't go again. Who knows? Maybe in 2025 I could celebrate Rattus's 20th anniversary? I think I will need to ride on the float for that one.

* (Yes, I'm self aware enough to know I have a huge vain streak, in common with all rats and fursuiters. I was using the word "humble" ironically.)
marko_the_rat: (standing)
Here is Channel 10's news coverage, saved for posterity (or at least until Google takes it down) and accessible to non-Australians.

marko_the_rat: (standing)
I have put up a series of photos chronicling my adventures at Mardi Gras 2015. This was Rattus's 10th Mardi Gras in a row, so I wanted to make sure I had photos marking the occasion. Thank you so much to Audi Orca for taking such great photos of Rattus and the furry float!

Because it was his 10th, I was also rapt to have Rattus feature so prominently in Channel 10's news coverage of the event. You can see the furry float from 1:20. This is unfortunately geoblocked, but I will put up a grab of it on YouTube later. Stay tuned!
marko_the_rat: (standing)
All packed and ready for my next great adventure: Rattus's 10th anniversary of doing Mardi Gras! When I say take 10 I mean it. Rattus did his first Mardi Gras in 2005, before he was even a full suit, and he has done every year since, even the year when there unfortunately wasn't a furry float. Being his 10th makes it something special for the both of us, and I want to honour it by marching on foot again this year, sort of as a tribute to the first year.
marko_the_rat: (camera rat)
I know many of you may just want to skip to the photos. The rest of you are welcome to peak at the many words under the cut.

Read about my ratty adventures here... )

So huge love goes out to Dustan, Loupy and Jes'ad for making and organising the best Mardi Gras yet!
marko_the_rat: (Default)
I survived another Mardi Gras and I had a great time while I was down there. I felt my performance was a bit "off" this year (as will be evidenced by the coverage of the furry float on Foxtel) but I had been sick only a few weeks earlier so I shouldn't be too hard on myself. There's always next year. Other than that, this was really a great Mardi Gras personally. Relatively low stress, and surrounded by lots of great furries.

We did quite well for media coverage this year. There was the Foxtel pay-per-view coverage of course where I heard we got 45 seconds. Unfortunately, that features me stumbling when the truck took off with a jerk. >_< I want to apologise to the whole Australian furry community for embarrassing them on national television. <makes plans to leave the country for a while>

Ahem, but better than that, we featured on the ABC's national TV report on the march! They've also put it up online for a limited time, just go to http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/ and search for Mardi Gras. The furry float appears very briefly at 1:25. Considering the length of the report and the number of floats, I think we did very well to appear at all.

[livejournal.com profile] higgs_raccoon also pointed out a YouTube video that gives you a better view of this year's float.

And there are [livejournal.com profile] hendikins's photos and he will hopefully have some video up later. I haven't had a chance to go through them all myself.

None of this would have been possible without the help of a lot of people. Most of all, Barbary for organising the whole thing and giving me a place to stay. You made this rat very comfortable. And there was also Lupie and Thakur and Dustan and Techfox and so many others who made the float the success it was. On a more personal note, I want to thank Lupie and Thakur for keeping me company when I was crashing at the after-party (the march plus dismantling the float proved to be a bit much for me) and to Barbary and his housemates Harley and Techfox and Yuumei for making me feel so welcome there. It was all of you who made this personally my best Mardi Gras ever. It's only a shame I didn't have Ristin to share it with me.
marko_the_rat: (Default)
I hope the participants (one of whom I can identify as Barbary Lion) and the photographer don't mind me taking some liberties with one of the Mardi Gras photos. I was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] blazger's funny photos to do one of my own.

Click here for photo )
marko_the_rat: (Default)
As promised, you can find photos of my trip here, many of which feature Tristram exploring Sydney.

DSCF0032.JPG


But these are the photos (and videos!) you really want to see. This is my personal favourite one of me. Still raving when many others appear tuckered out. And what a cute tail! Many thanks to Michael Hendy for taking so many great photos.

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Marko T. Rat

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