Sunday, December 21, 2008

the races

I now live in a state that has a civic holiday for a horse race. That’s right, Melbourne Cup Day (November 4th, oddly enough – yes I’m late in posting this) is a public holiday that honors the annual, much anticipated, boisterously celebrated pivitol competition of Melbourne’s season of the sport of horse racing. The races are held at historic Flemington race course in the northern suburbs. Everyone gets extremely dressed up (I wasn’t allowed to enter our picnic area with flat shoes – had to be heels), and some people (ladies especially but not exclusively) spend more time, money, energy, and attention on their race-day outfits – especially their hats – than can possibly be healthy. Done moderately, though, it can be a blast. Basically, it’s like the biggest, fanciest tailgate/barbeque party you’ve ever seen. Some people even seem to watch the horses run, but for most the sport isn’t really the point: to see, be seen, hang out with friends and family, and get drunk seem to be most people’s priorities. We couldn’t even see the racetracks from our spot. Personally, I enjoyed making my “hat,” getting dressed up, and spending the day with my cousins and family.

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