We headed over to the fields first thing in the morning to join the festivities. As discussed, everyone was in their full festive attire and we were in our tshirts (which nobody ever wore) and backpacks. Sticking out like a sore thumb, we followed the locals to climb some barbed wire fences and onto centre stage. We arrived at 11am or so.
The first race was over, and now it was a weight-lifting event. It was very old school as people would come up at random and try to lift a burl sack weighing 140KG. After 45mins of watching, nobody was close to lifting it above their shoulders as required so we walked around the fields. It was pretty cool, like another concert where people would bring tents to chill in. The only difference is that right behind your tent is a flock of sheep/cows! Haha, pretty cool.
At 12:30pm, the weight lifting was over and we took a seat at the stage to get a better view of the upcoming race. We were told, the race would start at 2pm. We were extremely hungry but thought we should hold out until the race is over. At 2:30pm, there was still no sign of horses at all…. WTF?
The horses came out at around 3:15pm, lined up for a race, but somehow two horses did a false start and everyone had to start all over again. Restarting took them 30minutes. WHY DOES IT TAKE 30minutes to line up a couple of horses!!! So at 3:45pm, another false start by the SAME two horses, and again everyone had to start all over. People were randomly cheering here and there, so I thought this was part of their festival? False starts and ridiculous wait times…
This repeated about 5 times over the next hour, the same two guys every time…. and I was like “WHY DO THEY STILL LET THOSE TWO GUYS COMPETE?!?!!?” We kept asking people around us what is happening, but nobody seems to understand mandarin or gives a fuck about non-locals. It wasn’t until 5pm when we found someone to explain to us what was happening…. The horse race wasn’t really a race, they were filming a movie!!!!! The people were all watching the WRESTLING match that’s going on, which of course we weren’t even able to notice one bit because of all the people… !*@*#*
So we took a nap on the field. Was too hungry + annoyed + tired, so a nap was only logical.
Come 6pm, the horses started coming out, and without any starting bells they horses just took off! It was a 5km race so they had to make multiple laps, but what happened afterwards made us forget about the race…. Everytime the horses came around the grand stand, people would start making really cool noises (imagine if a bunch of horse riders would come raid your village, the sound they’d make is the sound we heard) and …. get this…. THROW GARBAGE. I stood up trying to catch a good shot of the horses, but I quickly ducked back down after seeing chicken bones, watermelon peels (perfectly sized for proper launch conditions) and water bottles thrown my way. The best part is, this was NOT a bunch of teenagers being jerks. Old ladies, mothers of children, 4 year old children, and anyone on the pitch would just start throwing garbage around!!!!! WHAT IS THIS?!?!?!?
So the race ended without anyone noticing as everyone was in bliss throwing garbage around, and everyone left shortly after. Another thing I noticed, is that nobody seems to have to work? What a strange, strange place….