All the debauchery at the Melbourne Cup
It's mere minutes after the running of the 2019 Melbourne Cup and a woman is rifling through a rubbish bin trackside for a winning ticket she inadvertently tossed away.
As she moves her hands cautiously through discarded cans and half-eaten pizza slices, other racegoers throw rubbish in on top, oblivious to her plight.
Then a young female punter leans over and spits in the bin.
In that one, poetic moment, the Melbourne Cup has reached its peak.
It really is something special to walk around Flemington after 3pm on the first Tuesday in November while completely sober.
High heels once worn proudly are rightfully pulled off and the march across the muddy grass in front of the grandstand begins.
A little girl is making a game out of jumping from one piece of rubbish to another. She could exhaust herself before the game is over.
A man in his 20s is carrying four open cans of race-sponsoring Furphy. One can is knocked out of his hands and falls, almost in slow motion, to the ground.
"This c*** just looked at me after he did that," the victim of the accidental shirt-front tells his mates, who comfort him.
There's an unmistakeable and heavy stench of marijuana in the air. Members of a jazz band sitting down for a break comment to each other how brazen it is to light one up with so many police around. But the police are busy being accosted by heavily intoxicated revellers who ask without success if they can "please get a selfie".
"Was that a nipple?" a young woman asks her friend. There's every chance it was but we'll never know for sure.
An older woman is genuinely trying to eat one of the yellow roses that adorn the fence-line near the track.
I'm being ashed on by a smoker who doesn't appear to realise I'm here writing this story and that's not even the most offensive thing about today.
That honour falls to the guy in the awful-fitting suit jacket who watched an ambulance load up a patient and mused: "Another one bites the dust."
Zero out of his 10 friends laughed.
But while some were coming down hard after a day of drinking, others were on the way up.
A Sydney woman told me she wished she'd "smuggled in a flask" but instead only "smuggled in a bag of coke".
"It was in my boobs," she said. "I was shit scared of sniffer dogs."
It's only 4.30pm. It's anybody's guess what happens after 5.