New Zealand Chapter
30 December 2000
Greetings from Auckland, New Zealand
Well, after a rather hectic six weeks in NZ we are finally starting to settle down. We spent 3 weeks touring the most beautiful country in the world. Around every bend in the road we came across more and more spectacular sites. South Island is supposed to be the more beautiful of the two but each Island has its own unique beauty. South Island has very alpine scenery with wonderful snow-capped mountains and forests. The North Island reminds me a lot of the Natal Midlands; rolling green pastures also with lovely rivers and lakes. I loved both Islands, quite amazing. Brad and Darren joined us from the UK and we had a great time. The weather was great, at times very hot.
We have found a house on the North shore of Auckland; about 15 minutes drive into Auckland central. If you have a map of NZ the place is called Torbay and is very close to Albany. We are very happy with the place as it is close to Evan’s school. By the way Evan has been accepted into the Corelli School of music and starts on the 30th January 2001. We are very proud of him. Torbay is one of the East Coast Bays of which there are plenty and also a favourite of ex-pat South Africans. If the truth be told when we go to the Browns Bay shopping centre (our local) it is like going shopping in Bloemfontein, one is bound to hear Afrikaans being spoken by a number of people. New Zealand is “vrot” with South Africans. Needless to say we feel right at home.
Our container arrived yesterday, hence the fax. We have spent the last two days unpacking and are only halfway through, shit job. We have, however set up the computers so are now able to send and RECEIVE e-mails and faxes, hint, hint. I trust you all had a good Christmas – we had a very nice, quiet day. The Auckland bus service ran the buses free, so after our Christmas lunch the three of us took a bus through to the city and had a couple of drinks and caught the bus back, very pleasant. During the two to three weeks leading up to Christmas, all the shops have been open until midnight every night, Saturdays and Sundays. This place is very jacked up, everyone is so friendly and helpful. Yesterday, while unpacking, our next door neighbour arrived on the doorstep with freshly baked apple muffins and this morning the neighbour from the other side arrived with a box of chocolates to welcome us to the neighbourhood. For all those of you who have toyed with the idea of coming to NZ, my advice is START PACKING; it really is a fantastic place.
Have a great New Year, we will be thinking of you.
Keep well, lots of love
Alf, Irene and Evan Wood
Christmas in Auckland. Well for starters the Buses were FOC because the powers that be did not want the citizens driving from relley (relative) to relley in a drunken state taking pressies (presents) for Chrissie (Christmas) – no kidding, those are the words they use. We took advantage, had our lunch, pulled crackers et al and jumped a bus to the city centre (about three quarters of an hour) and had a couple of drinks and took the bus back home. Fortunately the bus stop is just outside our house! A smattering of shops was actually open, so you could buy perfume, clothes, food etc. Bet that did not happen in England. We noticed last year when we were there that everything was closed…. Whisper I even think the fooking churches were closed.
The Kiwis love Christmas! I reckon it is the English influence. We live on a hill and can see for miles around. We can see lights in windows; lights’ hanging off roofs (like icicles) and a few Santa’s stuck in chimneys with their bodies hanging out from the waist down. These okes go all out. Buy false snow, false condensation, and spray glitter and plaster their street facing windows with whatever they think is Christmassy. All the shop assistants have Santa hats on and a few daring souls have huge antlers on their heads. Does not sod’s law dictate that these are always the largest ladies?
Carols! Carols! Ringing out from all over. Lots of Christmas fare in the supermarkets of course… stuff like you have never seen! I am still astounded at the fact that the smallest supermarket has a hefty stock of live mussels! Every so many seconds they get a little shower to make the poor sods think they are on the edge of the sea! Haven’t bought any.
Besides the heat I would say that Christmas here is very like the one in the UK.