I've not meant to be so useless with updates but it's actually ridiculous to think just how much we've done in the last week which makes the lack of blogging pretty damn fair!
We're in Wellington now, basejumping (as they call it- nothing remotely as dramatic as it sounds- the hostel chain are base and we've stayed in them all over north island... the jumping!) and we'll be catching up with an old schoolteacher of ours Will (Jesus?) Struthers over a couple of beers.
It's gonna be our third night in Wellington and on Monday we'll pack off to the South Island and onwards towards Queenstown, Christchurch and the like.
Yesterday was a pretty chilled out one after a gin & juice-fueled last night out with the group on our Kiwi bus and our first night back with Katz. We got up late, no surprise there, and after sampling Trisha's pies (claiming to be the best in Wellington- agreed!) we wandered off to watch Katz's rugby team in a league match. Conditions were dire and the Old Boys (team Katz) ran out losers. There was however some real talent on show and Katz enjoyed telling us about some players tipped to be future All Blacks. A little cameo act was played by a much less tipped and a lot more current All Black Tialata who propped against Wales in the recent tests- needless to say he was massive even from the stands (yes, we wussed out and watched undercovers!) A little shocked, we were quickly informed that for maybe a couple of games a season, when club or country commitments don't clash, pro players of all levels often come back to represent the club where they started out. Katz loved our reaction not the fact that this had meant he had played alongside Conrad Smith while out here, a local hero in Windy Welly, and even used him as a decoy runner to slip under the posts himself!
We had tickets to the evening's Tri-Nations game at the Westpac stadium and headed to soak up the atmosphere after a couple of jugs of beer at the Cambridge hotel. We were pretty psyched for the match (and happy that I hadn't taken a chunk out I our travelling budgets after Dad treated us to the tickets - LEGEND!) and we found ourselves with pretty awesome seats just a few rows up and level with the 5m line. Needless to say it was a special moment to see the Haka and hear the national anthem sung by thousands of passionate Kiwis. The match itself was really lively with a try and a yellowcard all in the first 10 minutes as the Blackness put The Bokkes' poor discipline to the sword. Katz & I were admittedly a little disappointed at the opening score (despite its class!) since we had both bet on his mate Conrad Smith scoring the first try! The Blacks were brilliant, even if their performance wasn't as complete as the week before and they won convincingly. It was just an amazing experience: I cannot imagine just how electric the atmosphere will be for the
World cup matches next year.
We were buzzing but for some reason (knackered) we weren't really feeling a big night out. Knowing this was a ridiculous attitude, we went straight back to the Cambridge and sunk some more jugs in an attempt to wake up! It was great to meet Katz's rugby lads but we were nowhere near as drunk as them when we got there and but the time we had even vaguely reached their level we wanted to move on to Courtenay Place - a street lined with practically ALL the bars in Welly. Doing this via McDonalds ended up a great shout, but we had just delayed the reality that we weren't in a clubbing mood and the night fizzled out in the early hours of this morning.
Looking forward to tonight and then a new island and a new bus (which means making friends again - effort!) tomorrow as we take on South Island.
Dan / Burge