Like thousands of other Aucklanders yesterday, i had gotten myself into the Rugby World Cup mood. I had been down to the waterfront earlier in the week and the atmosphere, the foreign languages, the weather, and even just being the only one down there in a USA Eagles cap, and laughing at how ugly that cap is, made me happy. The excitement was contagious, even to someone who doesn't like rugby or even understand the rules of the game.
So, i decided to take Jorgia and two of her friends into town yesterday to catch some of that fever. I was excited when i signed them out of school early - at lunch time. Even just signing my name and giving a reason why they were leaving school early on that sheet in the school office was exciting. There were dozens of parents who had done the same thing. The excuses on that sheet were funny. Doctor's appointment, personal, funeral, and some parents had even just been honest and written big RWC next to their signatures. I did the same. It was fun. My mood was lifted even more when i was trying to drive out of the school parking lot, and a teacher waved me down, thinking that i was a student leaving the school with friends - without a parent! Ok ok so when he got close to me he realised his mistake but STILL...i didn't need much more to put me in a great mood.
At 3pm we headed off. We had decided to drive to Ellerslie and catch the train from there. I guess that was mistake number one. I don't know where the trains start. How far South had they started picking up passengers? I have no idea...but by the time they reached the Ellerslie train station, they were full and not letting any new passengers on. We stood there, watching all the happy people in their cars, with their flags flying all over the place, beeping their horns and waving as they sped past us on the motorway, while we stood still, waiting for the next train.
Everyone seemed happy though. The mood was still contagious. I commented to my friend that was with the girls and i, that everyone else was in the same boat as us...stuck there at the Ellerslie train station, but that none of them were unhappy or angry. They were all still enjoying themselves, and that perhaps we should attempt to just enjoy ourselves no matter what - like them.
Three trains came and went, without picking up any new passengers. The crowd kept growing, and no one was getting on any train, any time soon.
We got sick of waiting for a train, and watching the traffic on the motorway speed past us though, so we walked back to the car, and decided to attempt to drive closer to the city. We thought maybe we could get close enough to just walk to the waterfront.
There was no traffic. Well hardly any, anyway. It certainly did not resemble a normal Friday rush hour. We easily found a place to park in a little side street off Ponsonby Road. Sweet. That was easy. The twenty odd minute walk into the city was not a problem. Well it wouldn't have been a problem, if it had been worth it.
It wasn't worth it though. The only thing happening in town, was thousands of people wandering around with absolutely nothing to do. I guess 12 thousand lucky people managed to get into an area where there actually was some entertainment going on, but God only knows how many thousands of people were doing nothing more than wandering around aimlessly. There was no entertainment - i mean heck, even a few buskers to watch would have been SOMETHING. There were maybe half a dozen food stalls set up down one end of the viaduct, and that was it. So unless you were keen on standing in line for an hour in order spend 10 bucks on a
I kept following the girls, and my friend, just trying to push my way through crowds without losing anyone - for nothing. I kept thinking that somewhere, there must be something going on...something interesting to look at maybe? Or even just a nice place to sit down on some grass and people watch maybe?
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
We went through all that hassle to get in to town, to be part of apparently, the most exciting thing to ever happen to New Zealand, and all we ended up with was sore feet from getting pushed and shoved through crowds of people that were also doing nothing more than getting sore feet from getting pushed and shoved through crowds of people.
Bonkers. Absolutely nuts.
Unless you are a drinker, there was nothing to do down there. I felt sorry for the people with prams and small children who had made the effort. The only thing that i could think of, that could have possibly made that evening worse -was having a pram or small children.
What a let down. I was so happy to get back to the car, without having to rely on public transport, and get back home. Sore feet and all.
Never again. No more Rugby World Cup fever for me. I am well and truly cured.