Well, not quite but kinda. Today was the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s answer to the Derby in the UK (or maybe Ascot – I’m not a huge horse-racery person). Pretty much the whole country bets on this one race with office sweepstakes and a temporary stand set up on Queen Street by the biggest bookmaker’s in Australia, TAB. It is, in fact, dubbed “The Race That Stops Australia”.
There’s the usual – women wearing posh frocks with insane hats and tottery heels; guys in smart suits and bow ties. Dinners are booked, pubs fill out, people stand in the street cheering on a midget on a quadruped.
I didn’t bet as I’m simply not a gambler. It doesn’t give me a buzz and I’m crap at it! To prove the point, I went for a horse called Geordieland (can’t think why the name appealed…) and it came in 18th. This is actually one position better than its namesake’s football team *shudder*. Having said that, it did actually finish one place above the favourite.
Al works for TAB and was given a promotion from systems analyst to “guy in shirt and cap showing you how to hand your betting slip in”. That’s him in the first picture!
I headed to Borders afterwards to use their travel section like a library. I like bookshops with sofas in them. I hear they’ve taken them out of the branch in Singapore as too many people were using it like a picnic spot at the weekends.