Sunday, 17 March 2013

Week 44 - As time goes by, cricket comes to town & Wellington continues to be 'absolutely positively' wonderful!

Hi Everyone!
The 2nd Cricket Test between NZ and England looks like heading for a draw after day 4 (today) was pretty much washed out by the first proper rain we have had here for weeks! More to come on the cricket! This week has been just another reminder of what an awesome city Wellington is!

After the last big meet-up group adventure weekend away, my next activity was a little more local, but no less fun. The 'Wellington Wonders' group had organised a 'go-karting' session on the edge of town on Wednesday night. It was just what I need to de-stress after a busy week at work, and as most of you who know me well, I like a bit of friendly competition. I recognised a few faces on arrival and especially Andy - who I have met on a few adventure activities...
Me 7 Andy at Go-Karting!
The hairnets were compulsory! The track was pretty small and let about 6 of us on the track at once, as we had split in 6 teams, and each team had 3 drivers, and swapped after every ten laps... so we had 30 laps each per driver. We finished third in the team race, and might have been a touch higher if the race controller hadn't have given me some very questionable penalties for 'aggressive driving' - I accidentally bumped a couple of people on the tight corner, but I politely waved at them afterwards - as I passed them! ;) 

The week had been pretty busy with catching up with new friends in their place, and a few late nights at work, as it seems to be a busy time of year for us right now. I already the knew the weekend was going to be busy, with after work drinks on Friday with the team, and a gorgeous mexican meal. The night continued after the meal with an invite to Betty's Bar for Lizzie's birthday drinks. (I met Lizzie on the adventure weekend). I then spent a really nice hour or so with Lizzie and her lawyer friends learning about lots of legal stuff. 
(SATURDAY) - One of the best days I've had for a while (and that's saying something!), started out with a bit of frustration as I turned up at the Basin Reserve to watch the 3rd day of the Cricket match between England and NZ! The sign read 'Saturday sold out'! I couldn't believe it! Still, I have learned many things in my travels, especially that with a bit of good luck, positive attitude and patience, things can turn out better than you might expect. I waited around the main gate for 30 mins, and sure enough a a couple of people came out of the ground with spare tickets. The guy even gave me the ticket for face value - $30 (£15). After getting a hot dog and a couple of beers I headed over to the famous grass bank at the Basin Reserve ground, where I suddenly heard some familiar voices shouting my name! 
Basin Reserve Cricket Ground - England vz NZ
At the Basin Reserve grass bank!

England step out on the pitch!
The match was well underway and England were trying to bowl NZ out for less than 266, after making 465 runs, (to make NZ bat again - which they eventually did). The sun was shining and the crowd were in good voice, a perfect way to spend Saturday afternoon, before the highlight of the day's cricket = lunch! The reason that the lunch break was so great was because: quite unbelievably there is a tradition at lunch where the crowd are allowed to go on the pitch, (just not the important part), and basically walk around or have a play themselves! So not wanting to miss out I went for a walk around myself! 
Me on the Basin Reserve pitch at 'lunch'

On the pitch at 'lunch'
On the pitch at 'lunch'
The day continued and England finished the day well enough, as did Myself Steph and Derek who ate heartily and enjoyed sitting in the sun... 
Derek, Steph & Sarah
The sun comes out! 
The scoreboard day 3
The day's entertainment was not ending there, as after nipping home for a quick shower, I then went directly to meet my friend Loan, and headed over to the waterfront where the bi-annual South East Asian markets were in full swing, with numerous food stalls and some evening entertainment, it was pretty busy though! Wellington's array of festivals just never seems to end, and pretty much most of the stuff is free and accessible to everyone.
S.E Asian food markets!

SE Asian Markets...
The night was not due to end, as after eating some delicious spicy pork and pad thai food from one of the stalls, we headed to the TSB arena for the night's main event, the concert of Rodriguez - one of the most humble men you are ever likely to meet. The subject of the movie 'Searching for Sugarman' (the story of one man's music leading to an uprising in South Africa against apartheid - all unknown to the guy himself) - until he found out years later! The guy himself is pretty old now, and he needed help walking up the stairs onto the stage. Once he started playing his guitar and the music started, he came to life and his music filled the arena. I'd urge anyone to checkout the story to this guy's music as it makes it all the more remarkable! 
 Rodriguez in Concert
SUNDAY - To be honest, I pretty much slept most of the day as I woke up at 04:00 to watch Liverpool get beat, then see England rugby team get thrashed by Wales to lose the whole championship in the last game! It was a nightmare start to Sunday, which didn't really get much better, as the rain came and the only people happy about that were the NZ farmers! 
Vietnam is just over a week away - and after 10 months of working with just one week off, and moving my life to the other side of the world, I am ready for a break!
Regards from New Zealand!

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