Just spent the last 16 days in Waimauku, helping out two different families with their house/farm/children in exchange for food and a place to stay. I had fun, families were very welcoming, the work wasn't too hard and go to know New Zealand people a little better. Things that stick out from that experience were how laid back New Zealanders are, how while we all speak English, different accents and the use of different words makes some communication surprisingly a bit more challenging. Another example: Brits. I also got a glimpse into the future with getting kids ready for school, dealing with them fighting with their older/younger brother, family meetings and other grown up activities. It is something that I am certainly looking forward to but am surely in no rush to get involved in.
Friday the 7th of June was my last day with them, got a ride into Auckland, checked into my hostel, had a few beers while watching Game 1 of the NBA finals. Then, walked over to the movie theatre and watched The Hangover 3 while drinking beer that you can buy legally at the counter. Being able to buy beer at a movie theatre just makes sense.
|Favorite NZ beer so far|
After that, went back to my hostel, roamed around the city, and returned to a bar I had been to before called Tyler Street Garage that plays good music and is a good crowd. A big difference I see from going out in Canada and here is that people are bit more friendly and open to coming up and starting conversations. On that night, 5 different sets of people came up and asked my why I was alone, where I'm coming from and generally just being really nice. If you go out alone in Canada, people kind of look at you funny and think you are some sort of creep. It also might have helped that I was wearing my suit and look like a fun time.
The next day I took a ferry a 15 minute ferry to Devanport port, a really beautiful small town that has a naval museum that I didn't go to because well that seems incredibly boring, tons of book shops, coffee places and restaurants. I may or may not haven eaten an amazing bagel there. Also, climbed a little mountain and took these pictures.
It was perfect weather for a bit of sight seeing and got me ready for my first rugby match, New Zealand vs. France. People love rugby like Canadians love hockey. The All-Blacks are like a team sent from the heavens and everyone loves them. Found tickets online and went with people I met while working with one of the families in Waimauku. Walked from their house to a bar that was close by. The couple that I stayed with, Kevin and Claudia, got interviewed by one of the newspapers because he is French and she is from New Zealand. (I smell a sitcom...)
I'd never seen a game before so they had to go over the rules with me beforehand, and this was a rematch of the World Cup Final two years ago with the All-Blacks winning by just one point. I was surprised at the amount of French people at the game, probably close to 15% of the fans were supporting the French side. The stadium is new and well designed so even with being in the cheaper seats ($65) it still felt like I wasn't that far from the action. The stadium was packed, France scored first even though they were the underdogs. Here are the highlights if you are interested:
Before the match starts, the All-Blacks do the Haka, a traditional Maori dance to intimidate their opponents.
The game went by fast, I had a fun time but rugby isn't a sport I would really get into. The guys who play a certainly men who you wouldn't want to start trouble with. Going to anything that involves tickets, a great atmosphere and friends is always a good time. Concerts, comedy clubs, plays, anything to do with sports and drinkings; it's just plain fun and something that I missed while living in Asia. 13 days till I start work on the hill!
"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."
Gilbert Keith Chesterton