We celebrated Anzac Day last week by getting up early to walk over the the War Memorial for the annual Dawn Parade. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but when we walked out at ten after 5 in the morning, our street was full of people who had to park further away than our house.
We arrived to the sound of bagpipes, and the crowd was so large that we ended up watching the whole thing on the big screen. It was a very moving ceremony, about an hour long.
After the main event was over we went to the field of crosses marking all New Zealand’s WW 1 dead. On a per capita basis, the impact was enormous here… the total population was only about a million people at the time. Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was laying some additional wreaths, and we were able to essentially walk right up to her.
This was the big one, televised, etc., but these happen all over the country, with quite a lot of participation from young and old.
Many people pull out their old uniforms or even make historically accurate costumes. These nurses, both military veterans AND served in humanitarian efforts overseas, were 100% legit. And both still practicing.
And then the entire country goes out to brunch. This over-the-top French toast was the best ever.
Google honors Waitangi Day, which is pretty cool in itself. A Tuesday holiday makes for another short week here in Kiwiville, which is also cool.And we’re celebrating the holiday with a trip to the beach on our new tandem bike, which is probably the coolest!
We had great seats for last weekend’s Anniversary Day concert by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra featuring the Lady Killers. They did a summer on the wharf pops repertoire, which the conductor did his best to sound happy about. But I think he might been more comfortable with Mahler’s ‘Planets’ than with Freddie Mercury.
But the orchestra totally rocked Bohemian Rhapsody anyway… the Lady Killers are all women of a certain age, but at least one of them still has all the high range she needs. Then, the lasers came on and were amazing and so were the fireworks.
As part of the Anniversary Day celebrations, the Harbour Bridge was illuminated, joining lots of other bridges in the latest civic-attractiveness arms race (remember when everybody had to have a needle?). Auckland’s bridge lights are supposedly the green-est, solar-est such installation in the world.
We were out on the wharf to witness the show… the lights really are amazing, as is the computerized choreography. There was some mixup with the audio streaming so we didn’t hear the specially commissioned music, but still cool.
We are too old and boring to stay up until midnight most New Year’s Eve evenings, including this one, and definitely not up for being part of the giant crowd out on the square. The fireworks shot from the Sky Tower look wonderful on the video, and maybe even better than they would have looked in person… it seems like one of those things that would have looked great from a drone’s perspective.
But we’re still fond of the idea of ringing in the New Year, so we decided that we will celebrate with Vermont, which occurs at a very civilized 6 PM January 1 for us…. just about an hour from now.
So, to everybody in the 802 and elsewhere in Eastern Standard Time……… Happy New Year!!! We miss you a ton (but not your winter weather). May your 2018 be safe and healthy, and chock full of love, joy, and new adventures!
Pirates live in this cute gingerbread cottage down the road from us.