Sunday, November 26, 2006

Santa Parade

Originally uploaded by paulhurley76.
The Santa Parade took place on Sunday afternoon. It felt a bit like St. Patricks day, except for all the bands playing Christmas music, and the guy in the red suit.

It felt a bit strange in the sunshine, and everyone lashing on the sun cream.

The parade is sponsored by one of the super market chains, and the city council start the cleanup operation withing 30 minutes of Santa finishing the parade route which was basically a lap of the CBD (central business district).

U2 Concert

Originally uploaded by paulhurley76.
U2 were playing 2 concerts at the Mt Smart stadium in Auckland this weekend, so along I went on Friday afternoon to see if I could get a ticket. No luck, and along comes a security guard to move people away from the stadium just before U2 went on stage. To make things worse, I missed the hourly train back to the centre by seconds, and spent an hour on the platform listening to the concert and chatting to a Maori security guard about the ins and outs of U2 concerts and building stadiums for the 2011 world cup.

Determined not to fail, I made the same trip on Saturday afternoon, but this time I waited outside a different gate. After only 30 minutes, a guy was going by asking if anyone needed a ticket. I jumped at the oportunity, but was a bit worried that it might be a fake. His mate couldn't make it, so he just wanted to get some of his money back. 80 dollars was his asking price for a reserved seat ticket worth 199 dollars. I bought the ticket and in I went. The view was partly blocked by a speaker/camera pylon, but at least I was in the stadium. What a show U2 put on. Bono really interacted with the crowd, and even made a monty python joke. When dedicating a song to the Irish peace process & any other peace process he said "blessed indeed are the cheese makers". Half the stadium laughed, the other half didn't get it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Week 3 - Skyjump

As it is my birthday this Friday, I treated myself to a skyjump off the Auckland skytower. 192m of pure adrenaline rush in about 20 seconds. There's just something not right about stepping off the side of a building and all you can make out on the ground is the big bulls-eye where you are going to land. I can't recommend this highly enough. Even when the guy was giving me the count down, I thought I would back out but when he got to 1 I just let go. Ironically, there were 2 other guys jumping aswell, an Englishman and a Scotsman. I went first because the punchline always comes last.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Week 2 - Getting to know Auckland

Took a ferry trip to Devonport accross the harbour, including a trip to the Naval museum, 2 volvanos and Devonport beach looking accross to Rangitoto Island (another volvano). Impressive view of Auckland from the top of Mt Victoria.

Went to the North Harbour Stadium in Albany, for NZ Knights V Queensland ROAR. 2650 people saw the bottom of the table Knights beat 2nd place ROAR 1-0. The standard is quite poor, even the once great Andy Packer couldn't salvage anything for ROAR.

Took the free Stray bus tour of Auckland, and saw the Sky tower, harbour bridge, viaduct harbour, bastion point, K’ road, Ponsonby. A great free way to get to know the city and some of its suburbs.

Headed out to Mission Bay, Okahu Bay, Hobson Bay on the bus.

The weather hasn't been great. We even had a minor tropical storm with 150kph winds and heavy rain. Pretty windy most days anyway.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Week 1 - Travelling

Due to fog at Cork Aiport the night before, the Aerlingus plane couldn't take off. Ended up with a charter flight to replace the Aerlingus plane which meant a 2 hour delay.
Made the connection at Amsterdam just about, but couldn't really get any sleep on the 13 hour flight to Singapore. Arrived just before dawn, and spent the whole day there. Went on the 2 hour tour of the city from the airport.

Got the over night flight to Auckland, and arrived 11.30 am & cleared customs no bother, got the shuttle bus to the hostel in the city centre, got a bed and slept for the afternoon.
Spent the next day getting to know the place a bit.