Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Auckland - New Year's Eve

[Kyle]We started New Year’s Eve with a visit to the Maritime Museum. New Zealand has more boats per capita than any country in the world and their museum pretty much reflects that. After two hours, we had seen most of the first floor. An announcement came saying there would be a tour starting soon, which we were not about to miss. When someone asked the guide how long the tour would be, he responded by saying, “It can take an hour and a half. With me, it will probably be three.”

New Zealand has a lot to be proud of regarding its sailing culture from the traditional polynesian to the ultra modern America's Cup

He didn’t make it. It was three and a half. There’s a lot of stuff in that museum. When he was done, we had just enough time to rush back to a couple of the sections he had glossed over for a more detailed examination before they closed on us. That’s okay, I was pretty much done with all of the standing and walking.

We headed back to the boat for a quick dinner and to ready Begonia for sailing the following morning. We had a fantasy that we would be able to sneak in a nap afterwards to help us stay awake until midnight. That was foiled when we heard Polynesian drumming coming from the barge. I LOVE Polynesian drumming! I couldn’t sleep feeling like I was missing out!

So off we went towards the sound of the drums. We got there just in time to see the last dance of the Cook Island group. It was like a mini Heiva. It was wonderful. We were immediately back in the tropics under swaying palm trees…

Despite having a prime viewing location from the boat we took a walk about to soak in the party atmosphere around the harbour and on Federal Street

We left the barge and wandered through the various street parties that had been set up. On Federal St, they had music going and a few fan dancers posing for pictures with the crowd. They seemed to be on loan from some of the local, ahem, clubs. I was happy to keep walking, but Maryanne, the free spirit, shoved me in for a pic. I endured it bravely.

Like most cruisers, we sleep when it’s dark and get up when it gets light out. Staying up until midnight would have been a challenge, but Maryanne solved that by booking us front row seats at a play. Yay, her!

We saw City of 100 Lovers, which is the best play I’ve seen in New Zealand. That is only because it is the only play I’ve seen in New Zealand. I generally like live theater, but why do I keep falling for being told at the last minute that I’m actually going to be going to a musical?

Groan... I think I know what the concept was that they were going for. They wanted to showcase the lovable quirkiness of New Zealand’s culture to a mostly tourist crowd. Well, they had really nice sets. The rest was hokey, stereotypical and self indulgent, which was a shame, because it was clear the cast had worked really hard. {Maryanne: I LOVED it, I thought it was fun and interesting... Kyle has never been a fan of Musicals sigh}

The show bombed. The audience slightly outnumbered the cast, but when the rest of the crew were counted, we were in the minority. I have to say, it was embarrassing to be there sitting in the front row. The jokes were stupid and offensive and the singing was over the top, but every time the stage lights pointed even slightly our way, I felt bad for not applauding. Those poor people were working so hard. The house was empty and it was all the fault of the jackass who came up with the concept. The simultaneously saddest and funniest moment came in one of the early dances when they made the worn out joke about New Zealand being mostly sheep. We got to see ballet dancers who had trained their whole lives in their beautiful and difficult art doing it dressed up as fat sheep. Sad. Also, a little bit funny, but mostly sad.

When that train wreck finally came to a merciful end, we had just enough time to walk back to Begonia for the big event. We set ourselves up on the trampoline with a box of wine and watched the laser projection count down to midnight. At one minute to go, cheering could be heard as everyone stopped whatever else they were doing. Then it was a countdown from ten and Sky Tower erupted in fireworks as Earth’s first time zone welcomed the New Year. The saucer-shaped decks on the tower looked like a 1950s alien ship repelling an attack. Pretty cool, and we were right there to see it. The harbour bridge was also putting on a laser/led light show in sync with the tower display - and we had prime viewing for that also.

The Sky Tower show

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