Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Melbourne Cup - Race that stops a nation!

The Melbourne Spring Carnival is back - what a nice way to welcome spring! It consists a series of events and the best known of course is the Melbourne Cup.

Hosted on the 1st Tuesday of Nov. and gazetted as a holiday in metropolitan Melbourne.

The venue is the Flemington Race Course.

This is the trophy with the price money of A$5.6M!

It is more than a cup race - a social event when people come to see and be seen. The Saturday leading up the the Cup's Day is the Derby Day. The traditional dress code is black and white.

Among the celebrities present is Olivier Newton John who led the cup parade, and entertained the attendance of >102,000 with her song "Magic" prior to the race.

The hot favorite this year is the "Viewed" (pictured in background); owned by Malaysian Dato Tan Chin Nam, who won the cup last year with the same horse.

I like his favorite phrase - "Never Say I Assume"

Because it made an "ASS" of "U" & "ME"!

The legendary trainer Bart Cummings is also known as the Cups King had 3 horses in the race.

When the clock hit 3pm, the whole nation stops to watch! No Kidding..

But the outcome is Shocking! Well, it so happen to be the name of the horse too!

Jokey Corey Brown has a triumphant story to tell..

Trainer Mark Kavanagh has a good story too. With humble beginning, his mum cooked for Bart Cummings in his early years. Persevere through the downs earlier, his dream came through to take the cup most unexpectedly; in presence of the old master!

For the ladies it is great party time.. showing off their head gear!

Elegant isn't she!

Plus those who add a shocking element!

Guess that's what many guys come for too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Victoria's Bush Fire

Barely two months back in Feb '09, Victoria was gripped by Australia's worst bush fires in history. I followed the events closely as it raged on for days that ended with 200 deaths. Dubbed as the Black Saturday, this tragic event touched me in particular as I am familiar with many of the affected townships. Worst to hear it was started by arsonists. How could such senseless acts happened over and over again?

An illustration of the spread across Victoria.

Satellite image of smoke dispersion into atmosphere above - the 'arc' stretched over 1000kM gauging from the distance between Melbourne & Sydney!

Image collection of the fiery firestorms..

What a scary inferno!

Much beyond these fire trucks can handle.

With flames leap so high into the air!

Fire fighters watch helplessly...

A dramatic picture of helicopter dropping 'water bomb', with the sky appeared burning too!

Fire about to engulf this house in its path!

Smokes reflected color of fires below..

I visited Kinglake just north of Melbourne to see the scale of devastation first hand; won't take long to see trees on both side of roads were scarred black.

All the way to the hill top as far as the eye can see.

Under growths were completely burnt out!

This road sign pointing to a National Park was not spared either.

An appreciation note to the fire fighters pinned on a burnt trunk.

Remnants of houses that were once in tranquil country setting.

Metal roof crumpled and curled like tin foils on the ground.

Car bodies exposed to rusts after its coat of paint were stripped off.

Many unfortunate deaths were trapped in cars, a last ditch attempt to escape! I would have done the same. How did it happened? Did the engine stalled by the fire or escape route blocked by fallen trees?

At the town center, support and relief services were set up to help residents cope with the aftermaths.

Many trees survived miraculously the wrath of the fires.

A consolation is to see signs of recovery as nature begin to repairs itself.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kite boarding at Port Philip Bay

Port Philip Bay is a huge bay to the south of Melbourne with a size of 1,930 sq. km & a coastline of 264km. The bay is however very shallow - 24M at its deepest and more than 1/2 its area less than 8M. It is 2.95 times the area of Singapore with only 655 sq. km!

The eastern shore is popular for city folks to get away on weekends and a string of townships spread along the bay front.

So the sea is practically at the door step. Once in a while I love to drive down the bay area - take a walk along esplanade, lunch out & enjoys the sea view with the breeze. There is always a magic feeling by the sea - its vastness, hear the waves and watch the sea birds seem to nourish the soul. It is a great place for recreation and I discovered kite boarding is getting popular here too.

Looking back at the city skyline from Brighton - Eureka Towers, the tallest building on left.

There are several marinas too.

These "parachute-like" sails surely caught ones eye, how not to check it out and catch some of their actions!

With so many kites zipping around, must be pretty skillful to avoid physical contacts!

Preparing the kites to take off...

Launching is similar to taking a kite into the air...

Once airborne, it is taken almost vertical & towed towards the sea.

The skate board worn at water edge...

... and off he went!

Steering the the kite to land.

With gusty winds they leap easily more than 10m into the air, really having great fun!

A stylish holiday home that caught my attention.