Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Off to the races...

And they're off! In continuing our tradition of attending sporting events that require men to wear suits and women to sport their stilettos (despite how ridiculous it is to trod through a sandy horse track with them on), Matt and I attended the Dubai World Cup on Saturday. There was nary a hotdog or foam finger in sight. At the World Cup the colts and fillies (boys and girls) are dressed to impressed, and in most cases they don't give a toss if they see a horse or not. Best know for being the richest horse race in the world, the winning horse stands to win $6 million dollars, paid by Sheikh Mo himself.

Apparently, the horses aren't the only ones competing. The posh ladies of Dubai take their fashion pretty seriously, and that means planning a race day couture outfit, complete with hat, gloves, and handbag is done months in advance - even making trips to London and Milan to get something custom designed. On race day there is an open-entry competition for the Best Dressed Female, Best Hat, and Best Dressed Couple. The top prize going to the Best Dressed Female is a 7 day spa vacation in Thailand and a $6,000 dirham shopping spree. Not a bad package! Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that the stakes were so high, so my BCBG cocktail dress and Debenhams's hat had to suffice for my last minute outfit!

Matt and I joined our friend's for a nice brunch at their flat, and then piled into a 10 person passenger van to head to the event. The group had wanted to rent something a little more upscale, but every single decent car in the city was sold out. I later read that for the bargain price of $2,000 dirhams each we could have arrived via helicopter - oh darn! As crazy as the helicopter idea was it started to become more and more appealing as we sat in traffic that went on for miles and miles. It didn't help the congestion, that every single UAE official and their cronies came through in an excessive motorcade, forcing all traffic to move to the side. No wonder we were getting no where! After almost 2 hours, and well after the first race started, we had made it.

We watched the races from the Bubble Lounge, named for the abundance of bubbly that is being popped at every table. The evening kicked off with an absolutely crazy light show and fireworks display before the last three big races. Our group had put together a pool for the World Cup race, and by chance I managed to pick Curlin, the favorite to win. When the race commenced I wasn't disappointed, Curlin won by a long shot, and as a result I was now $1200 dirhams richer! Now that makes getting your favorite heels filled with sand worth it!

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