Yes, I marched in Mardi Gras again, for the 8th year in a row. What follows might sound like a litany of woes, but I have no regrets at all, I had a great time and I look forward to going again next year. In fact, I'm kind of superstitious about it and I don't want to miss a year. How long can I keep it up?
First off, I want to say thank you so much to liontemba and Packer Cat and Mindfyer for keeping me the first night and to dustandfox and Loupie for keeping me the second night and putting on another fantastic furry float for Mardi Gras. Big cuddles go out to all of them.
I left work early and made it to the airport in good time, having left my suitcases at work the previous evening. Unfortunately, the plane did not; it was over an hour late. Because I was taking two fursuits down for ozkangaroo and brisdrake I had to pay for extra check-in luggage but thankfully that cost a lot less than I thought it would. I suppose I could save weight by wearing Rattus, but I'd soon overheat and I'd have to commit the heinous sin of going headless. (I'm sure even cute rats can't fly incognito.)
Because of the lost time, I had to drive myself to Jes'ad's place for drinks. It was good to see everyone there, but especially twigmouse and weasely, seeing as they won't be doing Mardi Gras and they can't make it up to FurDU this year. That mouse and I go back a long way.
The day for the march came. I loved Jes'ad's place so much I went back. Also, I left my backpack there. That was a mistake, because of course my ratty urge to explore came out and I decided to check out their back yard. With all the rain, I just had to slip going down the stairs and I fell backwards on to my back against the step. I suppose I'm lucky it didn't hit my spine, but it did make walking around more painful.
The Mardi Gras itself was rainy. In fact, it poured down at some points. It's lucky I found a guy selling ponchos in Hyde Park. $5 but it was worth it. Unfortunately, it turns out I needed a poncho for my backpack too. I stashed it under the truck and I thought it would be safe from the rain there but it must have rained so hard there was a stream of water running under the truck. My undersuit, towel and change of clothes all got soaked. Putting on a soaking wet undersuit is not a pleasant experience! Which brings me to the fashion idea several other attendees had, which I'll have to remember for next year. It seems obvious now, but they came already wearing their undersuit under their normal clothes. It might look odd, but that's a small price to pay for the convenience. Right on cue the heavens cleared when it was our turn to go so my fursuit stayed dry (other than the footpaws). The Mardi Gras may have fallen out of favour with God this year, but He still has a soft spot for we furries! The march itself was great fun as always. Always a big rush to get out there and be cheered for being bright and colourful and different.
Also, we made it on to the official Mardi Gras Parade highlights reel! We count as a highlight! Squee! For those who are impatient and don't want to watch through the whole thing for our 15 seconds of fame, Sky Cheetah has kindly put our float up on YouTube. The rain (and my negative reinforcement from earlier in the day) put a damper on my exploratory spirit, so I don't have any photos to share this year sorry (except for this one of Drake seeking divine inspiration), but we did have hendikins as our official photographer, and he is putting the photos up here on his gallery.
The next day I met Oz and Drake in the city for a bit of a wander around and to give me the adorable red kangaroo plush they found as payment for me bringing their fursuits down. In doing so, though, I miscalculated how long it would take me to get back to Dustan and Loupie's house and then to the airport. It was not helped by a footy match coming out while my bus was in transit. It ended up being quicker for me to walk. It was the first time I've missed a flight and I didn't know what to expect. I thought, seeing as I bought cheap tickets, I'd be up for another flight, but the helpful Qantas staff put me on another flight without fuss or charging me anything extra for the privilege. The only proviso was that I might not get fed (it turns out I did anyway, so the rat was very happy). That kind of treatment does a lot to build up client loyalty and is in marked contrast to how Virgin have treated me in the past.
It seems I also picked up a secret admirer down there, which is awfully flattering. They sent me a very kind SMS from a public payphone a few days before the march. Later they said thanks for the hug at Mardi Gras. I'm terrible, because I can't remember who I hugged! I generally don't hug someone unless I know them reasonably well, but I will happily hug anyone back if they instigate a hug. I suppose not knowing who it is gives it that extra frisson of excitement, but at the same time it's a little spooky to the rat. I don't bite! I wonder if they will be showing up at FurDU?