Melbourne Cup Madness

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Makybe Diva. Makybe Diva. For the last month or so all that has been on the tip of this nations tongue is Makybe Diva. All the TV shows and newspapers were obsessed with her. For those of you who don't already know, Makybe Diva is a horse. And a very fast and famous one at that. This year she was set to make history by winning 3 consecutive Melbourne Cups. To you and me that might not mean a lot but to Ozzies its massive. There was a lot of speculation that she might not run if the ground was too hard, but she was always going to with so much money riding on the race. And when she finally crossed the line in first place the nation went bonkers. You'd swear thay had won the World Cup or something.

Unfortunatly we didn't manage to make our way down to Melbourne for the race, but it seems we didn't need to go there to be part of it. On Melbourne Cup day the ENTIRE country comes to a standstill for the big race. And I am not exaggerating. From early morning the betting shops were packed out the door right up until the big race at 3pm. Although we're all in work no-one is actually working, they just talk about the race and organise the office sweeps having drinks at the same time. Everyone gets all dressed up - the ladies in their best dresses and their big fancy hats and the gents in thier best suits. Its all a bit mad, but slightly less mad I suppose than dressing up for Halloween at home (which they don't celebrate here - the races are occasion enough). And this is in Sydney, not Melbourne where the race is actually on!!

By lunch time every office and workplace in the land was emptied and you were hard pressed to get in the door of any pub or bookies to watch the race. Aishling and I managed to get into the VC bar (North Sydney - near where I work) and grab ourselves a couple of glasses of champers and a nice spot near the big screen. It was impossible not to get caught up in the atmostphere, everyone was so excited. There was hardly anyone who had not put a bet on the Diva, the bookies favourite and the nations sentimental favourite (stupidly I didn't, I bet on some other horses). Though as sentimental as they are about the Diva they still put a bet on at least one other horse too, to be safe. When the traps finally opened and the horses let fly everyone went bonkers, screaming at the tv, screaming at their betting reciepts and screaming at each other. Then when Makybe Diva came from behind in the last 500 metres to clinch first place there was jumping and hugging and kissing all around. Party time - wether you won or not. A nights drinking, singing, dancing and a hangover later the nation returns to work. Not to actually work though, to recover!!

Although I didn't win anything from the bookies I did win $30 from the office sweeps so I managed to break even. Not bad.

And I thought horse racing was big in Ireland?

Anyway, enough about horses. Sydney is still great. The weather is getting warmer by the day, and very humid too which is apparently unusual here. When it does actually rain its seen as a blessing. The complete opposite to Ireland. But when they don't get rain here they run the risk of having no drinking water or even water for a shower. Its against the law to water your garden or plants too at certain times of the year. So you can see why rain is good.

We also learned the 'Australian Wave', the frantic waving of the arms you do to get rid of pesky flies. Its unbelievable, there are so many flies just dying to swarm around you at all costs, no matter how many times you swat them away. Extremely annoying but very funny to watch someone else defending themselves. You can never look good doing it, you just look like a lunatic.

Its not only flies that seem to come out this time of year, there are some seriously big spiders about too. I've attached a pic of one that I spotted in a park near us. He was about the size of my hand. And there are loads of lizards about, nothing too big, but still cool to see. I caught one in my office the other day before the girls had a freak attack and tried to kill him. I wanted to leave him in the office because he eats all flies, but y'know how it is, they wouldn't have it.

So there you go, horses, flies, spiders and lizards. Lovely.
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