Gathan Beaga

sailing away

Auckland always leaves me with the same sense of dislocation as any other Australian city. Superficially similar to New Zealand cities, but somehow… different. I feel like I’m in Sydney or Melbourne rather than here in New Zealand.

I don’t actually dislike the place – even though as a good Wellingtonian it is my duty never to have a good word to say about Auckland – it’s really not that bad. It’s just that I don’t feel comfortable there: it’s too big; the terrain confuses the hell out of me; and the traffic is aggravating. Maybe I’d get used to it if I ever had to live there. Maybe I’m just a South Island provincial boy still, distrustful of the big city. Maybe.

And also… don’t laugh… I don’t like Auckland weather. Too damp. [But then I like cold weather (to a point), and for every howling Wellington southerly there’s a clear day with air so pure it’d make you cry. Or maybe that’s the ice in the wind. No matter.]

So I was pretty relieved when we had a dream run to the airport (28 minutes!) this afternoon and I could catch a flight home a whole hour earlier – in fact, early enough that Becky and the girls could come and pick me up from the airport.

And what a reception: I was no sooner down the tunnel and out than jumping into my arms were Bella and Rosa. “Here are some flowers for you Dad!” said Bella, pressing a bunch of slightly wilted jonquils into my hand. “They smell pooey”, stated Rosa, clamped to my side as we rode the escalator down towards the carpark.

And on the way to the fish and chip shop, the recriminations. Why didn’t you take purple heart bear? asked the elder. “You could squeeze him down in your bag where he would stay warm” said the younger. They look aggrieved, the little totem they gave me remaining at home when it should have come with me to Auckland.

Sorry. It, uh, won’t happen again.

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