I had a nice lunch today in a little place called CHOGM Security Area.
This is, in fact, a microstate similar to the Vatican City, though it requires a little explanation. CHOGM Security Area (CSA) is an Indeterminocracy; it has many different leaders (including both Prime Ministers and Presidents), none of whom have any power over each other. Nonetheless, civil disturbance is kept to a minimum as fully half of the population is employed in the nation’s pervasive security force. (The other half seems to consist of the leaders themselves, and some slightly dazed Australian tourists, like myself.)
It was this security force that won a brief war against neighbouring Australia on the night of Thursday 27 October, to secure CSA independence. Despite the size disparity, CSA forces rapidly overwhelmed the Australian resistance. An uneasy peace now exists between the two sides. The flag of one of CSA’s leaders – the Queen – flies over Government House, though some holdouts in other parts of CSA territory defiantly continue to fly Australian flags. To save face, the Australian government now claims that the annexed territory was voluntarily gifted to CSA in the spirit of bilateral co-operation. Thus, today marks the inaugural CHOGM Security Area Independence Day. However, I have since learnt that a renewed offensive by CSA forces may take place tomorrow to capture the highground at King’s Park.
The main street running through CSA is The Terraces. Unfortunately, CSA is largely inaccessible by car, except for security personnel and the various leaders (which, admittedly, is most of the population). However, a number of buses do take tourists on sight-seeing tours. I attempted to see CSA on bike. On passing through the Australia-CSA border checkpoint, I was instructed to dismount. Not knowing CSA laws or customs, I obliged, though later discovered that cycling in general is permitted. I briefly feared my cycling top being mistaken for one of the hundreds of fluorescent yellow uniforms worn by security personnel, but nobody questioned me. Possibly that colour is a sign of privilege in this unusual society.
Accommodation in CSA is essentially non-existent for tourists, though there is a rudimentary camping site a short distance across the border in Forrest Place. I cannot personally comment on the level of service there (having planned a day-trip), but I suspect it may be rather noisy at times.
It was a little deflating to finally leave CHOGM Security Area. There was still much to learn about how a country with so many leaders can possibly get anything done. However, for a taste of something a little different, I can highly recommend it.