Puna Kai Festival

On Saturday we joined Astrid and went down to the Viaduct to see the Puna Kai food truck gathering. By the time we got there about 3pm things were slowing down, but we got some good pork belly and dumplings anyway.

The promo for the event made it sound a lot more Maori than it was in fact, indicating that this was somehow related to the ongoing Matariki Festival (basically Maori New Year). There were some nice posters about Maori food traditions, and some vaguely local touches to the foods, but mostly it was just a food truck roundup.

After lunch we walked around the waterfront for a while and ogled some of the sights…

The skyline is not actually falling in on itself, but this wide panorama showed the limits of my iPhone lens.

Working boats like the San Hikurangi sit cheek by jowl with super yachts like the Encore.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the ditch

We saw this billboard in the parking lot at a self-storage place. We think NZ is sort of an Elysium, but lots of people who grew up here see Australia as even better. There’s just more there there, salaries are often higher, kangaroos, and so on.

And so there’s a bit of a brain drain here as people leave one of the physically and environmentally greenest places you can imagine to head across the ditch (aka the Tasman Sea) in search of financial and cultural ‘green’.

Lost in Translation— the Family Dinner Edition

Yesterday we found ourselves in the kind of furniture store where stuff imported from who knows where is displayed by people from some different but equally far flung set of places.

Few if any of the folks in this supply chain call English their first language, so spellings are expected to be a bit variable.

When I first saw this sign I assumed it was just a new way to spell Pasadena, haha, done. But then I thought a bit more… dining table, -dina… maybe this is quite a sophisticated pun! You could have an all-night eatery called the Pasa-Diner!

Maybe the person who typed this up loves the Rose Parade, or studied at PCC before coming to NZ, and couldn’t resist the chance to get this joke into the world.

I hope so.

All Blacks

A guy at work got us tickets to last week’s rugby game: the famous NZ All Blacks vs France. Below, they are doing the pregame haka (a ceremonial challenge in Māori culture) while a dedicated French supporter offers a baguette salute.

The game itself was pretty close through halftime, but then the All Blacks got down to business and won by 40 points (normal scores are about like a football game… 40 points is a blowout).

We watched a bunch of Intro to Rugby videos, and the guy we went with is actually a rugby referee on the weekends (which is why we got tickets), so we were both able to follow along. Amazingly, we both enjoyed ourselves.

The whole experience was really smooth… even train fare is included in the ticket price, so no need to worry about parking. The fans were fun to watch, especially the small minority of French supporters, many of whom dressed up silly for the occasion. There were two streakers on the field, which apparently is still a thing. But I’m obviously getting old… at the bag search on the way in, the guy just waved us through even though I had my backpack unzipped and ready for him. He said, You look like you’re past the days of trying to smuggle shit into the game, mate. Sigh… but fair call, I am in fact past those days.

Even at our advanced age, we’re going to another game in August!

Seven Days

A couple of weeks ago we got to attend the taping of Seven Days, which is probably our favorite TV show at the moment.

For NPR listeners, it’s a lot like Wait, Wait… only it’s TV and they’re allowed to say “fuck”, or if they’re talking about an orange-haired dictator they’re allowed to say “fuckwit.”

We got seats right in the front row. The studio is a lot smaller in person than it looks on TV.

The performing arts community is small, and most of the panelists have other jobs, which makes it even better when they let loose on this show. The guy on the far left is called Paul Ego, and he is also the (obnoxious) voice of a grocery store mascot. In front of the desk is tonight’s political guest Phil Twyford, Minister for Housing and Transport (sample question in the mock interview: as Minister for Transport just how many trans people have you gotten interested in sports so far?). He was recently busted for using his cell phone on a plane… awkward in his position (so is your new favorite mode of transport “airplane mode”?). In the center is host Jeremy Corbett, who hosts at least one other talk show. And at right in the picture is Dai Henwood, who also hosts the local editions of Family Feud AND Dancing With The Stars. There are other panelists out of the frame, but those are the big three.

It was super cool to be in the audience on Thursday and then get to watch the show on Friday. Would totally like be to do it again!!