Kia Ora Bro's,
Greetings from New Zealand. After a week of builidng excitement the main event kicks off tonight and we're shortly heading down to the harbour for Auckland's Opening Ceremony, meeting up with some friends and cousins for what promises to be a massive party.
The official program includes...
4:00 PM - Te Herenga Waka - fleet arrival
5:00 PM - Mass haka and kaihoe procession - Eastern Viaduct/Quay Street
5:45 PM - Mayoral welcome on Queens Wharf, followed by haka
7:30 PM - Opening Ceremony from Eden Park live on the waterfront big screens
7:55 PM - Sound and light show - Auckland's biggest and brightest fireworks and light show set to music composed specially for the occasion by Don McGlashan
8:15 PM - Opening Match from Eden Park live on the waterfront big screens
10:15 PM - Concert by New Zealand music icons on Queens Wharf, including Dane Rumble, Midnight Youth and Kora
2:00 AM - Queens Wharf closes
apparently the capacity at Queens Wharf is 12,000 with 50,000 expected, so there should be a fair amount of carnage, particularly as there's only one way in and out of Queens Wharf and its surrounded by water on 3 sides...
Our personal program will probably be more like
2:00 PM - planned arrival at harbour
5:00 PM - actual arrival at harbour (if you've ever been out with me and Becs you'll know this is true)
5:15 PM - queue for beer
7:00 PM - get beer
7:05 PM - finish beer, rejoin queue...
7:55 PM - minor firecracker show - NZ radio has been talking up the firework show all week as NZs biggest ever, it reminds me of the Calgary Stampede 'Big Show' a couple of years ago which was a 2 hr lame affair of singing and dancing - ironically I was asked to participate in audience feedback which involved me rotating a dial between 0-10 depending on how much I was enjoying the show. The dial spent most of its time around 1, but did make it up to 10 when some motorbike stunts were performed. For the privilege I was paid $50 which was at least some compensation. Back at our hotel we shared the lift with a Canadian guy who told us the show was 'so much more than I expected' and was genuinely awestruck, I struggled not to burst out laughing. For the record the rest of the Calgary Stampede was awesome (a bit like a mini Oktoberfest with Rodeo shows) and I'd definitely recommend a vist, but the 'Big Show' was lame... Anyway, we'll see if NZs biggest firework show is any better.
8:15 PM - cheer for Tonga but watch them get pounded by the All Blacks
9:00 PM - nothing recorded in the memory bank past this point
8:00 AM - wake up and wonder how I got home , find Dave sleeping on the couch minus a jacket and wallet
On the whole this week has been pretty quiet. We've spent most of this week sorting out my Visa application including an in depth medical, according to the Doc my health is 'picture perfect' and my blood tests showed I dont drink too much (and thats official). I am also negative for HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphillis (whats green and eats balls?) despite spending a lot of time with Smeez in the last few weeks in London.
We caught up with Shannon and Di for dinner one evening, other than that we've been staying home and playing cards in the evening (with me yet to win) and saving our precious pennies - not easy when the pound is trading around the 1.9 mark with the NZD.The weather here has been pretty good, similar to London when we left, mostly sunny and around 17 degrees although its supposed to take a turn for the worse from Sunday - just in time for us to start our touring of the north island visiting friends, family and watchin rugby (10th france v japan, 11th ireland v usa, 15th russia v usa, 16th nz v japan, 27th canada v japan, 1st england v scotland).
observations on Kiwis noted so far:
- they use the word 'gourmet' on their restaurant menus in a non ironic way
- they are less cynical than us Brits and are pleased for people when they do well at things (I dont think a Kiwi would ever have been as harsh on the poor Canadians and their 'Big Show')
- apparently yes means maybe, maybe means no, and no means p--s off
- they have absolutely no doubt that the AB's are going to win the world cup - this takes me back to a conversation I had with the Bro in law 4 yrs ago when we were walking out of the Millenium Stadium having just watched France knock NZ out of the last world cup:
Me 'the trouble with New Zealand is that you are overconfident and just expect to walk the world cup'
Johny 'yeah true, but we'll be at home next time so we'll definitely win it'
Reckless Rating 0
Excitement Rating 2 (on an upward trend)
Relaxation Rating 8
ps - this is amusing - Moose Fool: