Rugby World Cup Celebrations

The 2011 Rugby World Cup comes to a close. Auckland will certainly be a bit quieter here on out. It was quite sad to see the huge rugby ball on Quay St being deflated!

The All Blacks celebrated their win with a ticker tape parade down Queen St and will continue to show off the cup in Wellington and then Christchurch. Well done!

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New Zealand All Blacks Win the Rugby World Cup 2011!!

The All Blacks head to Eden Park to win the cup!

The night the country had been waiting for, a well-deserved victory for New Zealand rugby players and fans alike! I was fortunate to arrive at the hotel in time to see the team bus and the motorcade of motorcycles and security heading out to Eden Park.

The France supporters take refuge at the French restaurant on the corner!

A met up with friends at Glen’s apartment on K Rd and worked my way through throngs of rugby fans making their way to Eden Park for the final game of the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Fans making their way down K Rd towards Eden Park, flooding both sides of the street

I headed down Queen St and through Aotea Square, where the tiny band of Occupy Queen St protesters were stationed. The postered area seemed quiet, as I’m sure most of the activists were more interested in the rugby.

Occupy Queen St... after the Rugby

The entirety of lower Queen St was closed off in anticipation of the festivities. The New Zealand flag flew proudly between the buildings in Auckland’s CBD as hundreds of decorated and face-painted fans hooted and hollered in support of their team and their country!

New Zealand's Flag Reins over Queen St

The entire city felt like a massive all night party. I can’t imagine mardi gras being larger than an event like this! The excitement and unity of the people of this nation, the ex-patriots, the visitors and tourists is why I came to New Zealand during the world cup.

One huge party in the streets of Auckland!

The match was nerve-wrackingly close! It was anyone’s game until the whistle was blown. We all believed the All Blacks would win, but at this moment it was for certain. New Zealand beat France 8-7.

Joining the biggest party of my life!

We won we won we won!!! Go New Zealand!!!

Casual Thursday in Auckland

I always love swimming laps, especially in the same pool as the All Blacks. Just a casual Thursday evening… not a bad consolation for not being able to go on vacation this week. The car broke down, my leg broke down, and there was an oil spill off the coast of our destination earlier this week… but staying in Auckland has never been more fun.

Tonight I made Indian-spice lentil soup with fresh coriander and veggies. Last night it was veggie quinoa with white fish. I can feel my body healing and regulating nicely after a week of home-cooked meals. The street vendor Indian food at the festival on Sunday was delightful and exotic but eating out has taken its toll on my body.

Today began with an onslaught of rain which began to clear after my morning stretches. What do overly athletic people do in the rain? We go shopping at sporting goods stores. Kathmandu on Queen St is having a huge sale, 50% off on most biking and hiking items, and I was tempted to purchase biking gloves and some very comfortable hiking shoes, but decided against it until my body is well enough to use them! I decided on a fold-up backpack, a plastic drink bottle with a cute New Zealand logo to replace my Sundance nalgene bottle that was lost at the airport, and a small quick-dry towel that was on clearance for only $3. I’m also tempted to hook myself up with a sleeping bag for $100 and a self-inflating pad for $50, giving me a whole sleeping setup for $150NZD!

My culinary life has taken a turn for the better, especially after exploring the Asian supermarket across the street, which has a supply of Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and other specialty food staples, frozen goods, spices, drinks and treats. I also tried what I now call the “All Black Special” for my afternoon tea. Since the team is unable to drink alcohol they spend their time in the hotel lobby enjoying green tea with honey and milk. If it’s good enough for world-class athletes it’s good enough for me, especially as a tea-lover!