Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Melbourne Cup

I never finished writing about my mega trip across the globe, and it actually did take on some extra twists and turned before it finished, but that will have to wait for another day.

Since then I have been in Brisbane, a city which is great (so great that I get to commute to work by catamaran), but also, more of that later too.

Today is Melbourne Cup day. The Melbourne Cup is a horse race that is so culturally ingrained that some of the states here actually get the day off for it. (I actually don't know how many do, and it may just be Victoria, which is where Melbourne is). Anyway, even those that don't everybody bunks off for a while in the afternoon to watch the race. To me, it's basically just a horse race, and I don't tend to find horse racing that interesting.

However, since I'm here, I feel I need to get into it a bit, if for no other reason that then the cultural-anthropological sight of seeing an entire nation getting wasted on a Tuesday afternoon. There is, though, a better reason for getting involved. And that is that one of the participants in the course I'm training is from Melbourne, and his girlfriend is the sister of someone who owns and trains a horse in the race. He told me this last week, and while for me it was sort of one of those vaguely interesting facts, it was clearly very very interesting for everyone else. I have since discovered that this horse is the joint favourite. So, I feel I have a connection (however tenuous the my student's girlfriend's brother's horse connection may seem to you). I think the horse is joint favourite because the story is what the media tend to call a fairytale (small town farmer, has a horse which used to be a polo-refereeing horse, and which came out of nowhere, etc etc) Anyway its name is Alcopop (crap name, but you know) and I am about to head down the pub to have a bit of a flutter (the betting shop is actually in the pub) and watch the race and have the experience of being in an Aussie pub during the Melbourne Cup.

I will report later on this field mission into the equine heart of Australia

[Just back. Sadly the horse came 6th, but it was an enjoyable afternoon watching people dressed up to the nines* getting plastered in a suburban pub at 2pm]

[*Though that was actually just the women. None of the blokes seemed to have bothered]

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