We were both ageing duffers with time on our hands, and sunlight on our faces. We had met, as commuters do, at the bus stop, sighing almost simultaneously after just missing the bus into town.
Category archive: Encounters
When you ride on an Auckland bus, there’s no such thing as a typical ride – not if you’re looking.
The entertainment is not so much in the city’s sport – that never-ending version of upmarket stock cars. A U-turn perhaps – just in front of the car speeding towards them? No worries. Drivers career backwards out of driveways into busy traffic lanes, or exit out of entrance ways to shopping centres. Quite a few fancy they can beat traffic lights too, often with predictable results. It’s Auckland.
He arrived at the wrong address at the right time and his pride was ruffled slightly when we told him as much. A middle-aged Indian, he had come for some maintenance on our house and loosened up when he realised his office had given him the wrong address.
As he worked, we began to chat and I asked why he had made the trek from India to New Zealand.
Little Auckland has some of the problems its truly large cousins suffer from.
Sometimes it’s a comic opera of irritations and at others, flashpoints which could turn nasty. Road rage for example. Or more curiously – supermarket trolley rage. Come on, I hear you say. That’s silly – but not if you’re elderly, routinely civil and at the receiving end.
We are in the great hall of Auckland Grammar, tip-toeing up the stairs to the balcony overlooking the stage and the ground floor. In the belly of the domed hall, some 2,000 students wriggle in tightly organised rows, their collective chatter sounding like some human beehive.
There they were – a family straight out of one of those irritating television advertisements. Sitting together on a park bench – handsome dad, attractive mum, two photogenic kids.
When I looked again the kids had gone – playing with wild abandon on the nearby swings and slides, Then something caught my eye.
What happens if you’re in the middle of Auckland with its 60-plus ethnicities and want just a sip, not a bottle of water?
Linguistic confusion. It’s born out of the locals taking their lingo for granted – and new arrivals interpreting what they say, just a little too literally.