Terence's trip to Wellington

A while back I got invited to a corporate box at the Springboks vs All Blacks rugby game in Wellington last weekend through my work. Of course I was happy to attend and represent my company, and my boss was happy to fly me down to Wellington from Auckland for a day of meetings on the Friday and I'd stay over for the rugby on the Saturday. I made all my arrangements long ago, before we even left Wellington.

So Friday I woke up at 4.45 am - I had heard on the TV the day before that the truck drivers were going to block all the motorways around the city because they were protesting the sudden increase in road user charges, so I wanted to leave enough time to make sure I got to the airport, which is way in the south of Auckland, and we are way in the north. I was going to take a taxi to the bus station, then ride the bus into the city and take the airport bus from there, but on Friday none of the buses were going into the city - they were dropping passengers off on the outskirts. So I had to take a taxi. At that time of the morning the roads were pretty quiet, and we made it to the airport with hours to spare - better that than 5 minutes late!

I took the airport bus when I got to Wellington as it drives to the train station which is 1 block away from my work there. But of course we got to the train station / parliament area just as the truckies were coming past there. There were lots of people outside parliament supporting them, and they were happy to give the kids a merry tootle on their air horns.

I got to work just in time for a farewell morning tea for one of the lads who was leaving. He had worked there for nine and a half years, and had decided to go off on his own and do something like eco tourism, but with motor bikes. This was a good start to my morning. After that I jumped from meeting to meeting, catching up with people I hadn't seen in person for at least 3 weeks. At 4pm most of the people in our department popped down to the Backbencher pub for a farewell drink or two with the departing workmate. This was valuable bonding time with my colleagues that I won't be able to do much anymore.

The next day (Saturday) I had to do a software upgrade at work during the day, and I also had to sneak off into the city to buy a pair of pants - the invite for the rugby game didn't specify dress style and all I had was a pair of jeans with me, but the tickets that I received on Friday said smart casual! When I went out at 2.30pm it was a great day for rugby - not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind. When I got to the stadium at 5.10 with Sarah (one of my work mates who was going with me) dark clouds covered the sky and it was windy, raining and icy cold. That's Wellington for you!

At 5.30 promptly the gates opened and we could take our cold wet selves inside. We were happy the corporate lounge we were going to was fully enclosed and dry and warm. There were lots of tables set up - it was a big area inside with lots of people invited. There were starters already at our table, and small loaves of bread and 4 opened bottles of wine.
We didn't know others at the table, but we introduced ourselves and sat next to guys from the Fire Services's technical department, and then we got social.Main course was a buffet with beef, chicken, prawns and pork, as well as the usual vegetables. Afterwards there were some cutesy desserts to remind us why we were there.
Yes, there are fern leaves and springboks on the little round cakes.

We moved to chairs by the big glass windows for the game. I wasn't happy with the first half, there were too many mistakes and too much kicking because of the rain and possibly the cold. The second half was better because the rain stopped, but still not great as the ground was pretty soaked already, and it was still cold. I really enjoyed the event though, the corporate lounge was a great place to go to watch from.

The next day I went into work and packed my last remaining books and stuff into a box - I had only come with hand luggage so I could take another box with as baggage and this was a good chance to get some of the stuff I wanted to keep up to Auckland. Moving is always such a pain! Afterwards I had time to burn before my late afternoon flight, so I went for lunch, and spent some time looking for a present for Bianca and Caitlyn. I couldn't find anything, and I was hampered by hauling a big heavy box around with me as well as my backpack.

Eventually I decided to give up and go to the airport and check in. The airport bus drove past the Warehouse in Lyall Bay, which gave me an idea. After I checked my box in I had about 2 hours left before my flight started boarding, so I took the departing airport bus one stop down from the airport to the Warehouse and managed to find something for Bianca and Caitlyn, then stood outside for half an hour and caught the next bus back to the airport. I timed it to perfection - and my flight was delayed by 15 minutes, so no worries there.

On my way back to Auckland I found out why the country is so cold.

Bianca's camp had finished and she was dropped off about 15 minutes from the airport about an hour before I was due in. I told Lea to wait in the area and meet me at the airport - it was good to see the whole family again. Bianca liked her camp - she was talking about it in the car on the way home. But that is the subject for another blog entry ...

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