Cricket, Chinese, volcanoes & the phone book

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

February in New Zealand was the "hottest month" and was dominated by hot sunny days and random heavy showers over Auckland. The sports news became dominated with the arrival of the barmy army (the English cricked supporter's) and the England cricket team, for a six week tour, to play local teams and the kiwi national team, the Black Caps.
Eden Park is New Zealand largest sports stadium, and England was playing an evening 20/20 game against the black caps so I went with Tony, Patrick and Nic, three English flatmates to watch a game of cricket in fast forward. There is no match report here, as I don't know my yorker from my zooter what off-side leg stump actually means, suffice to say it was a fantastic four hours spent in a great stadium, bantering with kiwi supporters, drinking rough, expensive beer from plastic bottles, watching England beat the kiwis, with the sun going down over an extinct volcano next to the stadium.
Over the next weekend the large Chinese minority in Auckland staged a lantern festival in a local park. Our experience of Chinese culture never went further than the local Chinese dragon takeaway at the bottom of the road so we went along to see and hear about all things Chinese. The lanterns were excellent; some were huge scenes of people fighting or giant insects playing together in a band, there were some hung in the trees to light the paths. At one end of the park there was a stage with Chinese bands playing some pretty bad music.  A demonstration from the Japanese samurai sword team was fantastically lame, see video, to watch a respectable old man with a huge samurai sword, solemnly cut a tiny twig in half.
Auckland is a coastal city, with a large portion of the North, East and South parts of the city getting some stunning sea views. You can walk from the Viaduct harbour in the North, across the city and finish at Onehunga bay on the South shore. Along the way you walk through parks and climb over small volcanoes. We climbed up two extinct volcanoes; Auckland is built on top of 52 volcanoes. TVNZ regularly run those TV adverts in which a serious guy walks down the street and asks you mysteriously 'where will you be if something happens' and 'what will you do you when it happens', without actually saying what could happen. This surprise event always seems to be accompanied with instructions to collect ten bottles of water, two torches and five cans of baked beans.
Finally here is an example of the Kiwi psyche. The late great Sir Edmund Hilary sadly passed away in January. He is without a doubt New Zealand's most famous character. In the media he is most famous for being the first person to summit Everest in 1953. However he is a real hero because of his later humanitarian work in Nepal, where he organised and funded the building of numerous school and hospitals in one the poorest countries in the world. Aid agencies take note, he used to personally fly to Nepal with a suitcase full of money to ensure the money was properly spent. However inside the Auckland phone book you will find Sir Ed's name, address and home number. Kiwi's don't appear to get very celebrity obsessed, which means people who are world famous can still keep their name and number in the local phone book. 

Cooper Out

Love Dan & Kat
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