Hong Kong, Happy Valley Racecourse (08/05/2007)
I’ve no real interest in horse-racing, or gambling for that matter, but the setting for this track, wedged among the skyscrapers of Hong Kong’s main island, is quite stunning. Foreigners get in free too, as they tempt you inside to lose your money.
The first obstacle to that end was figuring out how to use the betting coupon. It did thankfully have English as well as the traditional Chinese characters, but still initially baffling to a betting novice.
My second obstacle was not having a pen to fill the betting slip in, with the very cheap disposable pens found in such places here not in favour in Hong Kong. I think I bought a souvenir pen, to add to my collection of tacky and outrageously-priced writing implements purchased because I’d forgotten to bring one of my own.
The Hong Kong track thankfully disregards the stuffy elitism of some UK racecourses, allowing the public to wander through the many tiers of the grandstands for the best vantage point. Most of the locals stay at ground level though, to be close to the action, or close to the beer tents in the case of most of the ex-pats in attendance.
A souvenir programme in English, giving details on the horses and form etc, was available, but it might as well have been in the original Chinese for all it meant to me. In the end I just guessed, and that was good enough to mean I lost a bit of money rather than a lot.