Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Durban July 2011

Born and raised in the City that hosts undoubtedly the most glamorous social event of the year, The Vodacom Durban July, its hard for me to explain to you why I haven't been to one before. This year come rain or hail I was determined to go! So there I was at 8am standing in the bitterly cold Durban winters morning (about 11 degree's Celsius) outside the Greyville ticketing office, waiting to purchase my entry ticket as I was told the queues get ridiculously long after 10am. To my surprise, there were quite a bit of people there too, many of whom were staff at the various tents but some were there to purely just soak in the vibe from the morning.

R170 gets you this ticket

This years theme was "a Royal affair", seeing that we had 2 royal weddings in one year, it seemed fitting. Not being one for fashion myself I thought about going with a suit and crown but that idea got scrapped seeing I looked kinda stupid in it.


The weather on the day was superb, glorious sunshine and clear blue skies. A perfect Durban winters day and with most people present at the event being from the northern parts of the country, it wasn't even winter weather for them! Once I entered the course, the sheer scale of the event hit me and as I walked around, I found me questioning myself  "why the hell haven't I gone to one before?" Not a long while later I bumped into a friend of mine @CassimJogee and we made our way into the madness that is "Tent City".

Tent City

The outfits, the people, the fashion, you don't know which way to look! Such an amazing buzz all around the place that I even didnt care about the actual horse racing! Some of the tents were unbelievable. From full glass double storey, fully airconditioned ones, to the huge out door marquee set up by 5fm and Miller, all trying to out do one another. Vodacom, Peroni, Joburg, MetroFM, Sibaya, MTV, to the private ones such as Palm Grove and Florida Keys. All the tents were abuzz and if you didnt have an entry ticket, dont sweat as most of them had counters outside to purchase entry but they all didnt come cheap. eg, MTV's "Pimp my crown" tent was R1200 for general access... Im sure they gave you loads of goodies inside but yeah, bit much if you ask me.

MTV Pimp my Crown tent
Walking around the place was cool, my legs weren't enjoying it but there was so much to see, its impossible to just sit in one place ...unless you got a bottle of something and friends. While the horse races went on, so did other events in various tents, with local artists performing, to the 2nd biggest attraction to the day which was the fashion show which happens adjacent to the massive scored board. This year saw a host of local designers slug it out against one another to see who can impress the judges the most. I only managed to stay till the semi finals as the contest does tend to drag on.

fashion show
As the day went on, the more better things got, bumping into people you know. Mingling with total strangers as we were all there just to have a good time. A couple of friends of mine even made the trip down from Joburg. After meeting them we made our way to the finish line just in time for the main race. Race number 7. The clear favourite was horse number 9, Igugu. Earlier on that day, me not being your average Indian, I know nothing about betting so I had my friend email me tips and what I should do, just so I can act like I do know whats going on. So there I was trying to explain to the trainee teller at the tote on what I want to bet, eventually with all the noise I just handed her the paper and paid. The entire racecourse waited in anticipation for the gates to open as the horses galloped round the track, eating up the yards faster than people put down shooters at the tents. Igugu managed to get into the lead but it was not clear cut until the final bend. As the track straightened out, she managed to get a good advantage over the others and strided home in first place.

Igugu comes through!
Like I said she was an out right favourite so the bookie's odds were pretty low, dubbed the "Princess of the turf" we saw why she is held in such high regard in the racing fraternity. Partially own by Sheikh Al Maktoum of Dubai, I'm sure he would have been proud of her result, the money must mean nothing to him.

Liesl and Me
 After that, the party began! roaming around the track and stands we even tried getting into the much hyped about Pegasus lounge. Alas we were denied entry so made our way back to track side where one of my friends realised that one of the track side picnic area's was rented out to his relatives. Dinner was sorted, just in time for the 13th race.... Moving on, the night had another surprise for me as I bumped into the social whore herself! @Liesldb aka Raven from www.mycitybynight.com, she and @Chilternburt made their way down from Jhb for the event. A few caramel vodka shots with them was a perfect way to get the evening of partying under way, as after that we made our way to the official after party thats hosted by 5fm at the DLI Hall. Each year the party gets bigger and better with this year included. Rodger Goode, FeU, Spindocter were just some of the DJ's that were tearing up the dance floor with epic beats that revellers danced the night away in.

DLI Hall after party
To end off, it was a brilliant day and really a must do event for any South African. Regardless if you have the cash to splurge, or not the avid horse racing fan. The vibe of it all simply cannot be explained but only experienced. Plus, who doesn't like a good party?

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