|Horse racing + Oktoberfest = Big Party|
When I got to the Happy Valley race stands after 7:30pm last night, the public stand area was packed with people, many carrying plastic pitchers of beer and big plastic cups.
|Oktoberfest fare: sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes|
|A giant pretzel, anyone?|
Nevertheless, the lively atmosphere outside was too interesting not to check out. There were several beer tents serving all kinds of beers, a beer drinking contest, a chance to see how long you could hold up four ceramic mugs full of beer -- the minimum was 90 seconds. Another was sliding a ceramic beer mug onto some circles to win a prize, and another test to see if you could find four matching beer labels.
|One guy trying to keep his beers up|
All this was happening while horse races were going on.
I wondered if the horses were bothered by all the commotion going on near the grandstands or they were too focused on what they were doing. Some of the races were quite spectacular, where some horses were trailing behind and then in the last stretch managed to overtake the leader to win. It's a tricky gamble because you have to be able to time it right, but also know that your horse is going to beat the others. But they definitely made for dramatic wins.
In my time in Hong Kong I don't think I've ever seen so many people at the racetrack before, but also so many foreigners. They were most definitely there for the beer, the horse racing second. Many of them didn't seem to care or notice the races were going on.
|The crowd erupts in cheers as the horses pass the finish line|
Nevertheless it was a good evening and enough beer for me for a while.