First I must say this: I love Auckland! It's such a vibrant clean city--I hasten to add I'm not talking about some hookers outside my high rise apartment room--there's so much happening! I was there when backpackers from around the world lavishly splashed their dollars in the many bars downtown ... and in the bars within the hostels. Furthermore you could feel Christmas is in the air with the gigantic Santa and his reindeer! Hi, Ruldolf, the red nose reindeer ... gimme me a ride to the North Pole--I miss some fluffy snow!
Strolling up and down Queen Street was a fantastic experience! Lots of people walking everywhere and window shopping was fun! There was so much food everywhere--from hotdogs to kebabs... food, glorious food! How could I miss out the colorful folk along the street, illegally (?) expressing themselves for a dime or two! Sometimes there was a French magician making coins disappearing and reappearing in odd places; a wizarded old Maori strumming a guitar, belting out--get this--"Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna..." and then I stumbled across one of these John Lennon-type Krishna fellas handing out fliers about his religion!
One memorable incident had a small element of intrigue on Queen Street. I was with a long hair hippy-looking English fella whom I had met on our bus ride to Ellerslie to purchase a vehicle and we decided to drop by the International Hostel just to check out the accomodation rates. My bearded pal wanted to find out about employment as well. While waiting for the counsellor, we saw a youthful Caucasian Kiwi stroll over to a microphone on the registration counter. He started announcing that there were drinks like beer and food such as burgers and fries and exhorted everyone to purchase them and I was so impressed with his advertising skills that I turned to my British pal and said,"Ah, that's very enterprising!"
Sam* nodded his head in agreement, "It is, isn't it?"
I was startled when a sneering loud glutteral voice contemptiously interrupted us.
"You think that's clever? It's all *&^%$%&!!!" and a further string of vulgarities flew from his mouth. I was shocked... and concerned 'cos he seemed to have an Arnold Schwernegger physique and a tanned Germanic look with crew cut hair. He was clutching a beer in one hand.
Both Sam and I just grinned in a friendly manner at him and hastily walked away. I whispered jokingly to Sam, "He's gotta be a German mercenary or hitman!"
Sam looked at me and mumbled, "You think so? Nah, he's likely South African, an Afrikaneer." He added, "I've been there before."
That was an unpleasant incident.
Earlier that day, Sam and I had a good experience of Auckland hospitality. It was really a bad stroke of luck when we were dumped somewhere far from the Ellerslie Race Course by the Maori bus driver. We had told him all along we wanted to get to Ellerslie and yet he finally got us to drop off pointing to a direction which he said would lead us to the place. I was uneasy as he seemed to have a smirk on his face. As we walked along the road, we saw no sign of the course (I had been there a year ago and I felt we were not heading in the right direction). We even saw a Chinese Buddhist temple amongst all the houses! I decided then to stop walking and looked around and saw a Caucasian with a youth loading some bags into his white sports car outside his house.
Quickly I walked over to him and asked for road directions to Ellerslie Race Course. He was surprised and amused we were where we were as it was far away in the opposite direction! What happened next was incredible. The nice gent said he was actually going somewhere close to the place and we could squeeze in if we didn't mind! Pheew! How relieved we were! Readily, we scrambled in and soon we were speeding away! It must have been over a mile away! The friendly fella struck up a conversation with us and told us he and his family had been to many places, from England to Malaysia, to attend sport car races, sometimes driving cars themselves.
Now that was the most hospitable act I have ever experienced in my travels everywhere! Unfortunately, I can't remember his name. I do recall he was clean shaven, slim built and tall and wore short or long-sighted glasses.
Thanks a million, mate!