'Kin Texi Drivers' and the 'Big Game'
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The harbour bridge bungy was all set for this afternoon. I'd got butterflies too - not felt them for a while. I was expecting a call from Nate around 3pm to confirm whether spectators could come up or not as a few of the guys at Base wanted to come along. The jump was booked at 4.15pm - last jump of the day.
I'd been discussing the jump with Micky and Esther over a chinese at lunchtime, and was considering what to wear. It was freezing outside and raining (that fine rain that soaks you through). Nate had already told me to bring a change of clothes as there's a possibility that you may get plunged underwater depending on whether they get the tension of bungy right or not. I'm not even going to try and express how I felt about that at the time cos' I can't.
So, spoke to Nate after 3pm. The guys couldn't come and watch as you have to get right up and do a 'half bridge climb' to get to see anything. He told me he was going to pick me up with his mate at around 4pm. At 3.55pm, he calls back up and says 'Nighmare bro, car not starting, don't aaask - you need to git yerself in a texi and down to 'Westhaven Mariner' ander the bridge right now. I'm gettin a texi too and I'll see you there in twinny. We caan't be late so get going dude, later bro'. So after a couple of well wishes and final farewell's I shot straight outside and climbed in to the taxi at the front of the taxi queue, asked the driver if he could take me to 'Westhaven Mariner' as I was doing a harbour bridge jump. He responded with something along the
lines of 'Ah Westahaven yes - we go motorway, up here yes'. I got talking to him on the way. He was from Fiji and had been here for a couple of years, had just changed jobs and was telling me how 'difficult' the training was to get to be a taxi driver, you know with all the documentation, approvals and local area knowledge etc? In return I had told him of my intended jump and he seemed very confused as to why I would want to throw myself from a bridge. I could see his point.
About fifteen minutes in to the journey Nate calls: - 'Hey where are ya bro?',
'Hey mate, yeah just on the motorway now, can see the harbour already',
'Motorway! Haaaba! What Haaaba?!' After a short mutual moment of silence he said
'Pattim on mate - taxi dude, pattim on'. I handed the phone to the driver and sat back and watched as he quickly became 'wide-eyed' and even more confused as Nate shouted sporadically into his ear.
So over the next forty minutes, three phone calls and four 'pull-overs' to stop and check a glove compartment full of local Auckland city maps, I sat more or less in silence staring out of the passenger window while the driver muttered constantly to himself all the way back to the city. Sick.
Eventually we arrived. Nate came bounding over to the taxi. I opened the door:- 'Hey bro no warries aye? We've missed the jamp bat I've menaged to git you in tomorrow at two-thirty dude - you're lacky, real lacky! Not your fault bro - What the HELL heppened!' This time he was talking to the taxi driver. I got out of the taxi while he and Nate shouted a few comments back and forth. Cutting a long story short it turns out that the driver had started to take me on a long journey to a place called 'West Harbour' right on the West side of Auckland. After Nate had finished explaining that there was only one 'Westhaven Mariner' in Auckland and not two, the driver then questioned me about his fare. He pressed the button that bleeped. Over one hundred bucks! Nate started again, shaking his head from side to side: 'Dodge-'E' mate - dodge-'E'! It's a seven buck fare buddy! Dodge-'E'! Now, I was prepared to pay what it would cost from Base to here as that was only fair and the guy looked horrified as if he was going to lose all his takings for the day and stressed that he thought I had said West 'Haaaba'. He said it was only fair if I gave him twenty dollars as he had used all his petrol, etc.. I looked at Nate who was cursing and kicking a few stones around the car park: 'Its app to you to bro - dodg-'E'! It's a SEVEN BUCK RIDE!', he aimed that one at the driver again. I gave the driver ten bucks and we headed across the car park. As I looked back, he was turning the car round, his little face was staring through the window back at us. Nate and I started the half hour walk in the fine rain back to Base. Nate muttered 'Kin texi drivers mate' about seven or eight times all the way back.
So I'd not done it! After all that adrenaline build up I still hadn't done it. I'd also ran out of credit on my phone so couldn't let the guys back at Base know how I'd got on. We were also now late. Tonight, a bus load of us were going to a proper rugby game between the North Harbour and Otago. It was a bit of a special night put on by Tonto at the bar for thirty bucks including drinks, food, transport, and entry to the stadium. I'd still got to get back and showered it was now after 5pm. The bus was leaving at 6.30 and everyone had been up in the base bar from 4.30 having a few beers before the big game!
We got back and walked straight up into the bar, where a small crowd round the pool table were waiting looking puzzled as they'd not heard anything for over two hours. Micky came running over looking as if I'd had an accident, thrust a beer in to my hand and asked what the hell had happened. So after explaining the situation four more times as more and more people came over asking how the jump had gone, I was even more pushed for time. So, I ran upstairs, quick shower, back down for a beer and more explanations, then we were downstairs, outside and on to the bus.
I sat behind MadSimon on the way (BB member from Warsaw, Poland). He was very very excited about going to the game and had really started come 'out of his shell' anyway over the last week. He was loving his new life. On the way to the stadium I noticed he had written something in to the condensation on the window beside him. It reminded me a little of coach trips to Alton Towers when I was younger, where you could read 'who-loved-who forever'. He had written 'Kurwa!' in big bold letters and then sat down quite proud and comfortably to enjoy the rest of the journey chanting along enthusiastically with some of the rowdy English lads sat at the back. (I won't go in to it too much but this was exactly what I was trying to get away from back home. Nevertheless, it was kept quite controlled and never actually escalated into anything that would spoil the evening so it didn't matter.) Anyway as I was curious, I leaned forward to Mad Simon and enquired as to what his word meant - 'In Inglish the must direct tranzlation wud meen F**K. In the strongest possible terms. It is meant very very strongly',
'Ah okay' I said, 'Good, good'. I sat back down. I chuckled to myself as to how excitably happy he was to be here.
The rugby game was great. It was good to get an insight in to a local game at a local stadium. The 'fine rain' was still very fine and the game was most enjoyable and eventful with cheerleaders between intervals and plenty of refreshments on offer. There was a group of us who had gathered up on the top of the stand to look out on to the pitch. Before long we had got our free face-painting done and were enthusiastically cheering for the same team that everyone around us was cheering for. Mad Simon was particularly animated, jumping around dancing and screaming to the rugby activites below. After the game we all headed back to Base for a couple of complimentary beers that were provided as part of the deal.
It was a great end to what should have been a successful day, but nevertheless I shall be up early and psyching myself up for 2.30 tomorrow!