The City & the Random

After my return from the South Island, I thought it would be suitable to have another post of random bits and bobs I’ve accumulated which don’t fit anywhere else. Although I gather these from all over, I want to focus specifically on Auckland City. Like China Miéville’s The City & The City, Auckland takes on almost the role of another character in the story of my life. And though I left down South, the city waits patiently like a faithful lover for the eventual return. And Auckland in many ways is my muse; even tonight before writing this post I took a short 20-minute walk around the Viaduct Harbour. The energy, the lights, the passions and stories; all the trappings of city life fill me with a desire to create, to write, to be. When I started writing in this space, I wondered if I would have the dedication to keep it up. Here, now, working on my 90th post, I feel it’s because of the energy I draw from the city that I can tell my story.

Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist “You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love…the love that speaks the Language of the World.” But he also wrote “Men dream more about coming home than about leaving”. We go away not because we don’t love but because we must; we return because we love.

I took this photo tonight on my walk. Paris may be the City of Light, but I hereby name Auckland the City of Colors. Cynics will say that we’re depleting the Earth’s resources to produce light pollution. I say we’ve created beauty.

The Many Colors of the Sky Tower

Our iconic landmark continues to delight by changing colors on a nigh-monthly basis. It’s currently a boring white, but here’s a look at what it’s been up to recently.

Looking quite smart in red and gold. I don’t know if this signifies anything or if it’s just a random choice, but I quite like it. I managed to get some red traffic lights and yellow-tinged streetlights in the shot for a mise-en-scene that probably only I think is cool.

Green for St. Patty’s Day.

The red spire looks ominous, especially on a misty night.

City Summer

Silo Park in Wynyard Quarter hosted what we Americans would call a food truck rodeo nearly every weekend over the summer. I recommend Dixie Barbecue, run by some very passionate kiwis who really understand barbecue.

Summer in Auckland means cruise ships! In Spares by Michael Marshall Smith, one of the cool locations (and Michael Smith novels always include some pretty interesting locations) is a flying cruise ship that got beached and became a city. These ships aren’t quite that big, but they’re basically floating hotels. In January and February, multiple times per day you’ll hear the resonant honk of a departing cruise ship’s horn.

The American Football season works out well for Southerly countries, because Super Bowl in the Summer is just better. Yeah, we watched it. I of course had to cheer for the Carolina Panthers, who unfortunately biffed it. Which is just as well; I and some friends left at halftime to go to the beach. As I said, Super Bowl in the Summer is just better.

The footbridge over the Viaduct is a drawbridge, and I happened to be taking a walk and found it open. I like cool machinery and decided to film it coming down. I especially love the applause at the end.

Random Things to Amuse & Delight

Frida Spotting on K’Road. I asked the storekeeper why the obsession with Frida Kahlo, and she said “because she created beauty”. I note that there are no pictures Mary Cassatt or Henri Matisse hanging in the shop, though, so either she has a very specific standard for beauty or there’s something else going on. A friend suggested that it’s because Kahlo cultivated a specific “look” that was a part of her persona, but if that was the case I’d expect to see a picture of Salvador Dali as well. Whatever; at least I get to use my Frida Kahlo tag again.

She also has a Latin restaurant on the waterfront named after her. The logo is, and there is no delicate way to put this, a unibrow. Shine on you crazy diamond.

I can think of no more appropriate name for a bar at a bungee jumping venue than this.

Go home, light pole. You’re drunk. (I wonder if the light pole is mocking the red Sky Tower spire in the background).

Getting a custom license plate in New Zealand is not cheap, and you only get six characters to work with. It still seems to be popular, and many people will also get custom license plate holders. I wonder how Ayn Rand would feel about this reference to Atlas Shrugged. Since it’s Ayn Rand, she’d probably just be offended that this plate appears on a Holden Viva and not say a Rolls Royce Phantom.

People who know me also probably know that I love weird and gourmet sodas. This random convenience store (or dairy, for kiwis) sells Shaq-branded sodas which combine the two unfortunate characteristics of being unnecessarily large and not particularly good. Comparisons with the subject matter are left as an exercise to the reader.

I use a tempered glass screen protector for my Nexus 5. I recently ordered another one, because the one I had been using had…seen some things. After replacing it, I had to photograph the old one. I will say, this guy took it like a champ and the screen on my phone is pristine.

Here’s Your Sign

Warning! You should be reading a book right now!

(For Americans: abseiling = rappelling). Yeah, let’s not do that right now.

Ironically, you cannot observe the creek because of all the foliage.

I wanted to steal this sign and put it on the bridge over Observation Creek. But, y’know, video surveillance. Exercise vague caution.

(For Americans: star jumps = jumping jacks). I love whomever wrote this sign. Especially that third bullet point.

‘Til Next Time

Thanks for indulging my occasional desire for rambling and randomness (OK, so my desire for rambling is less occasional and more constant. Guilty.). Next post will return you to our regularly scheduled adventures :)

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