I was in town last week for the purpose of professional development. Since I don’t go to Auckland often, due to lack of expandable cash, I was really looking forward to this trip. It was great walking more or less aimlessly through the central business district, meeting up with friends, staying in a hotel, meeting new people and got even caught up in moments of nostalgia.
Let’s start with one of these moments. The New Zealand chapter of my life started a bit more than 11 years ago. Back then, I was at the University of Auckland and walked through Albert Park to an Asian food-court for lunch. Sometimes dinner, but always through Albert Park. While that food court boasted and still boasts a huge variety of great, well-priced food, most of the times I ended up ordering squid on rice from the same food stall.
Well, I wasn’t surprised to see that nothing significant has changed.
10 bucks for squid, carrots, cabbage, sauce and rice, together with Miso soup and kimchi. I dragged many of my doctor-to-be friends into this food-court and you might share my nostalgia reading about this.
In Parnell, where my hotel and training was, I went to the local Countdown to buy food and was shocked to see that the prices are outrageous. Parnell is an expensive part of town and it comes perhaps to no surprise that the prices are steeper than in other parts of Auckland or the country for that matter.
Nevertheless, all I want to state is that the prices were shocking! I just made an online food order with Countdown and it was cheaper than purchasing the food in town.
Another shocking thing is that car operators do not seem to understand road signs. A Stop or Yield sign doesn’t state that you have to do so only for other cars!
In a funny twist of events, a BMW X5 cut my right of way as a pedestrian crossing a parking of an up-class apartment building. The strange thing was that the car operator didn’t even want to get into the parking, he just stopped beside me and went on his phone.
I had a look at the driver and feared for my safety a bit; decided that going around the back of the vehicle was my safest option. Of course, he put the reverse gear in…
So I hit on the back window with my open hand, then opened his left rear door. He was perplexed and started uttering something but I couldn’t understand him. I gave him a look and told him that I am politely inconveniencing him. Took him a while to get out of his car to shut the door, he was waiting for me to be far away…
In Albert Park, I climbed up a massive pohutukawa tree, the same I used to sit in and sip on a beer before heading home. Nothing has changed. The stuff you’ll observe when in a tree at night. It is just awesome.
I hiked through BENIsLAND and enjoy(ed) the fact that I’ve got space here. Yeah, there are some nice homes in town, but for the money it takes to buy one decent home with a backyard somewhere nice in town, you can buy three decent homes in New Zealand with ample, private land.
Relaxing in the bush and contemplating, I conclude that it’s great to be so close to town – I can even see it from my property – but figuratively so far away. Then again, Great Barrier Island is a part of Auckland. I live in Auckland after all.
I looked forward to watching TV while in town and state that nothing has changed. Flicking through the channels – it takes so long these days with the digital channels and smart TVs… – I momentarily watched a few sitcoms. Don’t know if I was surprised to see that they were repeats. It’s all the same the entire time anyway. Even on Discovery channel, they are still showing fishing for giant crabs in the Bering Sea. How old is that? Ten years?
NZ news were crappy as usual, but not even entertaining. So I got caught up watching Al Jazeera and well, even that was too repetitive after a few hours.
Back home, I enjoy the best TV programme; nature.