On top of Mt. Eden

We got out on the tandem on Anzac Day and rode up to the top of Mt. Eden. Actually we had to walk up the last part.

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for Prince William’s appearance at the big ceremony later. We rode by the venue, which was heavily guarded, at least by NZ standards, in the wake of the Christchurch attacks. Weird to see the relatively scruffy and usually friendly NZ police with rifles in a ready position. Probably even weirder for the cops.

Rebirth

On Easter weekend the Holy Trinity Cathedral added a French flag to show solidarity with Notre Dame. I suppose the world of cathedrals is small, but these are linked at least through Notre Dame organist Olivier Latry, whom I saw play here last year.

Sydney!

Got to go to Sydney a couple weeks ago for an HL7 meeting. Here’s a few shots. It seems like I always get to make a scenic approach over the Harbour.

The meeting was held in the very rarefied air of the KPMG offices.

Random morning run pictures. It was very beautiful. There are some parts of business travel I miss, for sure.

But 48 hours later… home again. And I stop missing those parts.

Play Misty For Me

A week after getting the landlord’s OK to have a cat, we met Misty on our second trip to the SPCA. Since Misty happens to be one of my clarinet tunes, it seemed like fate.

She’s about two but when she got home she acted like she was 12… friendly and cuddly but really listless.

Besides being stressed from all the upheavals in her life, it turned out she a cold or something. After 10 days and some antibiotics she has completely come around.

Yay!!!

HealthLink 25th Anniversary

I was selected to be the emcee for the big anniversary gala celebration we held a few weeks ago. My qualifications included my sexy American accent and the perception that I could hold my liquor responsibly enough to get all the speakers up and down in order and on time. Success, but I’m not giving up my day job. There are some professional photos and videos on the HealthLink LinkedIn page if you care to look.

Some of my team looking sharp. Our normal dress code is pretty relaxed so it was great to see them all dolled up. There are five countries represented in this shot, but if we had a tug of war, India would win.

The event was held in the grand lobby of the Auckland Museum, and every detail was planned by our marketing team… amazingly well done. We had a powhiri and haka done by the museum’s in-house Māori group.

The party was also a farewell for founder and former CEO Tom Bowden, who has become a great friend to us.

But it was also a coming-out party for new CEO Michelle Creighton, who was an inspired choice to lead the firm into a new era that will see greater competition and a need for lots of diplomacy.

Tom’s partner Isabella, his daughter Catherine, and Lee. It’s possible that one or two drinks had been served by this point, meaning that getting all three to focus on the camera was a challenge.

It was a great evening, I was proud to be part of it.

Rent

As we get ready to start our third year in Auckland, it’s time to think about whether we might want to move or not.

Buying is probably unwise at this time for various reasons, and besides we really couldn’t afford anything we’d want to live in. So, renters we remain.

Our place was an amazingly lucky find… it could be a little bigger, maybe on a quieter street, but it checks almost all the boxes for us. Of course, lower rent would be great… and we really miss our kitties and would love to have one here.

So when the landlord sent us the lease for next year, with “only” a $25 per week increase, we had a tough choice.

We looked at a lot of ads. Pet-friendly is the hard one… landlords can be picky on that front without it being considered illegal discrimination. We finally found a house that seemed like a real possibility, and got a nice walk-through, shown above. There were some quirks, but it seemed like a real possibility. The ad said “pets negotiable” but it turned out that meant “no pets”, so “no deal”.

So, back to our own landlord… we offered to stay another year if we could have a cat. He agreed!

Stay tuned…

Back home again

16 days, four countries and seven different sleeping places including a plane. Glad to be back. We saw a lot of cool stuff, ate and drank and shopped and massaged pretty much all we wanted. But the really good memories are the visits with Chuck and the Provs, both of whom we miss a lot.

Since there wasn’t anything in the fridge, we headed out for dinner. Good to know that things haven’t changed… people still dump their broken umbrellas on the street.

At Non Solo Pizza, one of our go-to places in the neighborhood, we had a lovely dinner under the watchful gaze of a light fixture that clearly descended from another planet.

Singapore Gardens by the Bay

We had a nice tour of Singapore’s giant garden domes. I think they have to keep the plants indoors because it’s too hot outside.

Giant indoor waterfall

Cherry blossoms

Flowers

All the pictures above are things you’d expect to find in a botanical garden.

More surprising … downright surreal in fact… was the All-Stars of Cosplay convention.

I am a little uncomfortable around a lot of this cosplay stuff, to be honest. But this family of tourists was all in and didn’t share my queasiness, and it was cool to watch mom and kid having such a good time.

Metaphysical help 5¢

I’ve done my share of consulting engagements where the deliverables were poorly defined, but this shop seems like it might be operating at a whole different level.

Supertrees light show

Adding to the feeling that Singapore is actually Disneyland, twice every night you can watch a fantastic music and light show at the giant tree sculptures. Just like Fireworks on Main Street USA.

It was amazing… maybe not breaking any new artistic ground with the classics themes and the flashing lights… but still, wow!

Singapore Planning Museum

Worth a second visit for me, and a first for Lee who has always had a thing for scale models.

In addition to the big models, they had a lot of interesting propaganda/exhibits about all the clever things they’ve done to make Singapore as cool as it is.

Buddha Tooth Relic and Museum

The Buddha’s Tooth Temple was far and away the most sumptuous temple we saw, or maybe have ever seen. Spectacular and also mystifying. How do you keep up with the hundreds of interconnected deities and practices and offerings? And why?

Fish ball noodles, satay sticks, halo-halo, and Singapore slings

We ate and drank really well in Singapore. The giant food halls are the most exciting, with dozens of tiny stalls and communal seating. I love eating that way and would grow fat and hypertensive if I lived there.

I had a bowl of fish ball noodles soup for breakfast, an experience I don’t regret but wouldn’t necessarily repeat.

After seeing this guy tuck into a giant bowl of shaved ice, fruit, and custard goo, I ordered my own. Just right for a 95-degree day.

The famous Raffles Hotel bar is closed for renovations, so we settled for Singapore Slings at a waterfront tourist place… tasty but not the same.

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