Cheers from Tauranga!
Today was my first day of Bridge with Anna and although it didn't go so well, I really enjoy playing here! It's a nice atmosphere, there is free water and snacks between the rounds and if you go outside, you can see the sea :-)
As some of you may know, they don't have bidding boxes here in NZ, but write their bids down. As I haven't much experience in that - apart from our glorious tournament in Dunedin two years ago - it might have taken some of my concentration in the beginning. I learned that everybody here writes the 1 not this way but like that: I. So they always thought my 1 was a 4 - which is quite a difference when bidding ;-)
Tauranga is the fifth largest city in NZ (about 120.000 inhabitants) and a bit touristic at the moment. But very nice, as everything here :-)
Yesterday I had quite a long bus journey. After starting in Wellington at 7:45, the bus driver had to turn back after 10 minutes because he thought something might be wrong. There was actually a problem with the wheel which took 2, 5 hours to fix. Then we finally started again only to find out that the air conditioner disn't work. So we had to change the bus, were late, changed again etc. until I finally arrived in Hamilton nearly 12 hours later. The nice thing about it: I am in NZ and everybody was really easy going about it. So it wasn't that bad after all. And the even better thing: I was picked up by Anna, driven to her home (a farm close to Matamata - where Hobbinton was set), given fish &chips (yes, I also tried fish), icecream, tea, wine and a quite bedroom - things that seem quite natural at home, but feel like heaven when you are travelling. It's something I love about all that: You learn to appreciate all these small luxuries.
Today I got lots of nice food - scramled eggs for breakfast, lunch and snacks during the tournament and afterwards we had a dinner with Quiche, cheddar, salad, avocado and things like that - definitly worth being called "Neuseelandessen" (concerning the meat: there was some ham in the Quiche) - and I enjoyed it SO much. When I had a very very large bowl of cookies icecream for dessert, paradise felt close ;-)
So, it is absolutly great to be with Anna and her family and to get in touch with other bridge players. I have seldom been so happy about these connections. Well, maybe that's not true. But it's still really cool :-)
And I am going to visit Hobbinton next week :-)