Monday, 25 October 2010

The Big Smoke

Auckland, I take it back. I've always said I'd never want to live in the Big Smoke, but after the lovely long weekend we just spent up there I might consider it.
The weather was beautiful, it was a delight to see our friends and family, and for a change driving wasn't a nightmare.

Fish and chips at Mission Bay with Daniel, Jenny, Jess and Paul.

Traffic is, as every New Zealander knows, Auckland's worst feature. Fueled by Kiwis' dreams of a quarter-acre section, Auckland sprawls enormously. Because for decades urban planning just consisted of building more roads, the city's public transport (though recently improved) is woefully inadequate. Therefore you usually have to do a heck of a lot of driving to get around. Fortunately, on Labour Weekend many Aucklanders were off to the coast to enjoy the sun so traffic was light. We still managed to go the wrong way several times, but that's par for the course for yokels from south of the Bombay Hills.

It wasn't just Auckland that was great, the whole North Island turned it on for our road trip - the volcanos in particular
Having not had a proper visit to Auckland since going overseas, several things struck me as we were driving from Laingholm to Mt Eden to Mangere Bridge to Mt Wellington to the North Shore. Firstly, the place is riddled with volcanos. Once you start looking for them, you see them everywhere. They give it a lot of character, as do the pohutukawa trees. Because I'm red-green colour blind I can't appreciate the beauty of pohutukawas when their red flowers blossom, but despite that I still think they're fantastic. Add them to Auckland's many gorgeous bays and you have one of the world's best urban coastlines.

Mission Bay on what felt like the first weekend of summer: pohutukawas, volcanic Rangitoto and many, many happy people.

So, while we have no plans to be JAFAs any time soon, I'd no longer prefer to live in Kabul.

No comments: