Sunday, 22 January 2017

A visitor

My friend Ben (he’s been featured previously here, when he met me for a quick South roadtrip) lives in Sydney and we have been trying to arrange a Sydney meet up for a while now.  Each date we’ve suggested hasn’t worked out, to the point that it’s become predictable! So imagine my surprise when last week he says ‘sorry, my parents are out then so I have to entertain them. But how about I come to Auckland this weekend?’.  This weekend being 4 days away!

I had no other plans so said yes and started planning what we could do for 3 days.

Ben’s the kind of person who’s really good to have as a friend – not only is he very easy going and hilarious, he is up for anything!  So I texted him a variety of activities we could do on the weekend, and he said yes to them all – woohoo!

So first off, we got up and headed to Tawharanui to hire some surfboards and shred some waves. That makes me sound so cool – if only you could see me try and surf and you’d realise very soon I’m not very cool at all.  Unfortunately the waves were mostly non existent, so my attempt at practicing what I’d learnt in my lesson a few weeks previously wasn’t great.  However, we had just as much fun by trying to do yoga positions on the boards!!! This was very fun and very hard and we spent more time in the water than on the board, but we both managed to do a high plank to low plank to cobra to downward facing dog before falling in.  Proud!

We spent the afternoon faffing on the beach, bumped into Amy and Colin who were christening their brand new kayak (ewww not that sort of christening) before heading home for dinner and predrinking - readying ourselves for the thing I was most excited about ever – Fat Freddy’s Drop!!!! They are one of my favourite bands and it had been my intention to see them whilst I am in New Zealand (they’re a kiwi band so fitting to see them here).  Tickets had been on sale for ages but I wasn’t sure if I was going to go because a) they were expensive and b) no one would come with me because they were expensive.  So remember when I said Ben was up for anything….he agreed to come see Fat Freddy’s with me even though he hadn’t really heard of them. What a LEGEND.

Anyway so we predrunk some wine which got me pretty tipsy, and jumped into an Uber to take us to Villa Maria winery where the gig was held.  This is such a random spot – it’s a winery right next to the airport and surrounded by industrial estates.  But you walk through the gates and are surrounded by vineyards and lush green grass and bushes and you totally forget you’re next to an airport in a rubbish part of Auckland.

We arrived just before they got on stage and I was so ridiculously excited.  Ben was such a great person to go to the gig with – you know when you go to gigs with people and they’re not really sure or keen on the music and so are a bit self conscious so you feel like you can’t really enjoy it either – well Ben was the total opposite of that and we were bopping away all night.  I even got to sit on his shoulders which was sooooo good because you can see so much from up there!  

It was such an awesome gig - the vibe, the venue, the people, the band - I was on cloud 9 for the entire thing.  We both needed a wee but didn't want to stop dancing it was that good. 

I would have loved for the night to go on forever but sadly all good things have to come to an end, and we bumped into my friend from work at a very well timed place on our way out of the gates - he offered us a lift home and we all squeezed into his car.  They dropped us off at a chinese restaurant on Dominion road so we walked the rest of the way back, stopping in at the Scientology place on the way as it was still open at 1am and we were drunk and curious.  Apparently too drunk for the free personality test they advertise, but the bloke in there was good natured and told us that the body is a vessel for your spirit and we're all capable of unlocking our super powers. I can see why people get sucked in.

The next day we had a cruisy tourist day.  Ben (other Ben, now called Benji for the sake of this blog post, the one who lives here) was doing a bungee jump off the Auckland harbour bridge and wanted some moral support, so we went and watched him.  We got hooked up on a harness and wore helmets for health and safety, and walked along underneath the bridge to a little pod where everyone jumps from.  It took ages as there was about 15 people jumping but we didn't mind as it's really interesting watching the emotions everyone goes through - some people just jump and don't hesitate and others freak out and need a lot of coaxing (I expect I would be the latter).  Benji was the former and was pretty hyped before and after and said it was the most fun thing he'd ever done! 

Afterwards we had some lunch at a random Thai place in town, then climbed some trees in Albert Park.  We walked up Queen Street to show Ben Auckland's version of Oxford St (it's not really any comparison) then popped into the Civic Theatre at Benji's suggestion as neither of us had been in - we were a bit naughty and kept walking as no one stopped us and ended up on stage as there was a sort of tour on that we snuck on the end of.  It was cool! 

Benji left to go home and me and Ben drove to Amy and Colin's place to play board games and dinner, before driving back home and collasping into bed as we were pretty tired from all of our shenanigans.

On Ben's last day we drove out to the Waitakeres and did a walk around Bethell's Lake - silly me forgot my shoes (who does that!) and had to do the walk barefoot which was mostly fine but some of the path was gravel which was a bit sore.  It's a cool walk to show people as the first 25 mins is walking through a stream to the lake, then you walk round the lake which is pretty then you can go either back over black sand dunes or through the lake again - we chose the lake as the sand dunes were boiling hot.

We stopped for a late lunch at an awesome cafe called Elevation - so called as it has a wicked view across the Waitaks across to Auckland CBD, then we drove to the airport where I promised to come to Sydney (assuming we can find working dates!)

It was a very last minute spontaneous trip and made for an awesome weekend!

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