1st November 2011 – The Event That Stopped The Nation! What do you think? What did you do?
Today is The Melbourne Cup day. The nation comes to a halt. Melbourne workers have the day off. Everyone at the race course, or somewhere watching a big tele with friends and family. Beers, wines and food. It is not just the race. It is a fashion for the girls and men. All out in their best.
I really don’t understand why horse racing can be such a huge event in Australia and stop the whole nation. Every offices across Australia will make a reason to stop work for a couple of hours to watch the race in the boardroom with drinks and foods and sweepstake. The lucky ones may be invited by their suppliers to a big hosted luncheon and make a reason for an afternoon day off.
I guess maybe it is because in Australia it has become such a unique sporting event – not just the race and the prize, but the horse itself – the breed and the training, and years of preparation to be the best. It is also a very social event with style and glamour, not like the other sports. There are celebrities in town – Joan Collins, Sarah Jessica Parker, Adrian Grenier.
In the past and at all the workplaces other than Melbourne, the Melbourne Cup atmosphere was fun. In my current office in Melbourne, no one celebrates. It was dull. I can only guess the reason is that I am in Melbourne now. The race is here. Everyone has a reason to go to the race, and do it in a big way, rather than in the office. It has become a real tradition for the Melbournians. But, I really don’t care if my office celebrate or not. I don’t get into the race, and cannot understand why the big fuss over an hour of horse racing. Being an Asian, horse racing is so common that it has become a gambling issues for a lot of Asian people.
Since I am still new in Melbourne and there was no invitation, I took the opportunity to see the many faces of Melbourne. It was quite and peaceful. Very few people around. Almost like Hobart! So quiet. So unbelievable. I actually love the serenity and silence with the birds chirping. I did a 6 km returned walk from my place, down to Yarra River and walked alongside the river towards the city. Then, a detour back through the Melbourne Botanic Garden. It was a cloudy day. A bit cool.
Melbourne is very green and has many different faces depending on which side of the city you are at. Every angle view is beautiful. The only problem is that the Yarra River is always so brown.
Below are some pictures I have taken along my walk this afternoon.
Starting my walk from Claremont Street towards Alexandra Avenue is The Melbourne High School.
Crossed Alexandra Drive and walked along the pedestrian and cyling walkway next to Yarra River for 2.5 km towards Boathouse Drive and stopped before the bridge on St Kilda Road.
A friendly Plover…
Then, on my way back I walked through the Royal Botanic Garden. It is a huge garden. I have walked through here twice, and still not able to complete the entire garden.