Friday, September 9, 2011

Waka Waka Waka!

I finally have proof that clouds get stuck on our building!  See I am not crazy:

Clouds Behaving

Apocalypse Cloud!

Try living with that for 8 hours.  Scary stuff people.
There was a lot of action going on in Auckland City this weekend, and we were determined not to miss any of it.
First, we went to the grand opening of the Auckland Art Gallery.  (Ok, so we could have missed the first hour because the mayor was like “Blah, blah, blah” for awhile.  And then we had to do the Auckland rain dance while we waited for the gallery to open: 
(You put your umbrella up, 
You put your umbrella down, 
You put your umbrella up, & you shake it all around.)  
Because the weather couldn’t make up its mind.
But the wait was worth it because they’ve built themselves a nice, little gallery here in Auckland.  Well more of a nice, medium gallery.  There is a decent mix of old and modern, some Picassos, a Cezanne, a Dali, and this beauty that could keep me entertained for hours (Flower Chandelier, Choi Jeong Hwa). It's like a crib mobile for adults!

Next we stopped by the official All Blacks (New Zealand team) welcome ceremony for the Rugby World Cup.  The All Blacks are a pretty big deal here.  Probably because rugby is a pretty big deal here.  Ever seen the All Blacks do the haka?  Pretty intimidating stuff.

Apparently there have been “flash mob hakas” cropping up all over downtown this week which is kind of awesome (skip to about 1 minute in the video).

(You may be wondering why the flash mob people are in the middle of the intersection.  That’s because Auckland is cool like that, and you can cross the street however you want.  You can cross up, down, diagonal, or backwards.  Heck you could probably even fly.  As long as you are across before the little walking man turns red.)
Hmm now you may be questioning “Why the haka?”.
Ready for some New Zealand cultural history?
Haka = Traditional Maori dance
Ok now you may be wondering, “Well who are the Maori?”.
Maori = Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand 
(Their language can be a little difficult to pronounce.  This leads to problems when I am trying buy a train/ bus ticket and the suburb/ street is a Maori word.  Like Orakei. That is pronounced “Oreckey”.  Good to know.  And Whangarei. That one is “Fawngerey”.  Yeah, weren’t expecting that one were you?  Me neither.)
Waka (not to be confused with haka) = Maori canoe.  They will be paddling a fleet of wakas into the Auckland harbour for the opening night of the Rugby World Cup.
On Sunday to round out our cultural weekend, we had lunch at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple.  It was a calming, zen experience, and the kind of place where you instantly feel your blood pressure go down.  Probably due to the hushed voices, smell of incense wafting through the air, and the quiet courtyard garden.

Cue Buddhist chanting.

And they have awesome sculptures.

Why yes, I am the cutest garden statue ever.

Their tea room has some good dumplings, wonton soup, steamed bbq buns, and Laksa noodle soup.  And I learned something.  I thought I knew how to use chopsticks well.  I can pick up rice and sushi and meats and usually noodles.  But I learned that when you put noodles in soup, I fail miserably.  I spilled soup on myself.  Twice.  Epic fail (but good soup).

- Meredith


  1. At the Shelton reunion, your mom gave me the link to your blog. Sorry I'm just now getting to comment. How very cool that you have this experience! Living in another country and culture is an amazing thing as I can personally attest to since I lived in Germany for 4 years. Looks like you two are taking full advantage of your opportunity. I especially liked the haka clips from YouTube. Ya gotta love the internet!

    Your cousin (2nd or maybe 1st twice removed, I'm not sure ~grin~),


  2. Hi Marilyn,
    Thanks so much for reading and for commenting! It has been a great experience so far, and we feel very lucky. It's wonderful that you got to have the expat experience as well, and I bet Germany was a great place to live too!
    Hope that all is well :)