Sunday, August 19, 2007

I survived Ekka!

For the past few weeks Brisbane has been hosting Ekka! - the annual Queensland Exhibition/Agricultural Fair/Carnival. Farmers bring all their prize-winning animals and vegetables down to the city for judging, and there are fireworks and fashion shows! Lots of meat on display.

Everyone who mentions Ekka warns against the “Ekka Flu,” the “Ekka Cough,” or the “Ekka Death Virus.” I assumed this was just a running joke among the city dwellers, but upon arriving at Ekka I was immediately handed a package of sanitizer wipes and reminded to “wash my hands with soap and water” before leaving. Turns out people have actually died at Ekka due to unsanitary conditions.

My first stop: A fashion runway showcasing the wonders of Queensland wool and leather. My favorite quote is, "she's just made the most perfect use of the swimsuit design."

Then: Watch a sheep being sheared! (Fittingly on the same stage that just hosted the wool parade. How Memento-ish.)

I actually haven’t eaten meat since arriving in Australia. It’s been about a month, and I’ll try to keep it going all year. Here's a nice picture from the “MEATing Centre” that sums up my vegetarian motivations…

Afterwards I made it over to the Woolworth’s Fresh Food Market and watched a demonstration on “fun wth semi-dried tomatoes” and “the secrets of bee keeping.” On my way back I checked out the animals, and took this video of a man standing atop two horses and cracking whips.

Then the Big Fashion Show Extravaganza that was AMAZING – a legitimate Australian project runway in a big theater – but they didn’t allow photography. I got yelled at for trying to take a video.

All in all, it was a great day at the Ekka (and so far no need to dip into my secret stash of American antibiotics).

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