Today was a different day down under. It was basically a national holiday dedicated to horse racing, aka the Melbourne cup.
I started the day of the same way we have been here: wake up achy from the hostel, hop in the shower, pull our foods out and have yogurt, fruit, granola for breakfast and then head out. We walked towards Darling Harbor and sat at a coffee shop to have a long black while finding info about the horses. The Sydney Herald published a good listing of the horses with info about their jockeys, weight, and history. Knowing nothing about the race or the horses, this provided just enough info for me to make informal bets. First place, #24, horse Kilinni, just because its my lucky number. Second, number #2 Americain because I like the name, although the jockey was involved in a betting scandal. Third place, #2 with an American jockey.
We head to Kings Wharf in Darling Harbor around noon where there was starting to be quite the scene. People were just getting out of their offices, dressed in suits and heading to the pubs. Women were dressed in sundresses and headbands, bows, or hats. They gathered around pubs or the betting stand. We headed into a bar, Strike, to sit outside with some sparking wine to watch the scene. There, we instantly met someone who we sat with and enjoyed a few schooners, pizza, and chips. We ended up placing bets on horses. Everyone gathered around the tv screens just at 3:00 to watch the race. The race was a quick lap around the track and the leading horses changed – none of my bets placed. People stuck around the harbor and we met some Canadians and other Australians.
Tomorrow I’m actually heading to Melbourne! I expect the city to be quiet after celebrating all day.