Auckland, New Zealand
So when you’re done eating ridiculously good food and celebrating the holidays by watching explosives detonate over the main business district for New Years or just strolling around and being overtly assaulted by the beautiful scenery and cornucopia of pleasant scents …what do you do for fun in Auckland? What would an Aucklander do if they were bored and looking for something to do on, oh say, a given Thursday evening?
First off there’s lawn bowling. We first read about this sport in the Cook Islands but were unable to participate because their club green was getting renovated. Here in Auckland though we got our chance. It’s played very similarly to the Italian game of bocce ball. Apparently the British looked upon the Italians and said to themselves, “Posh, we can make this game far more aggravating and difficult for no apparent reason!”
…and they did. (hint – the ball has SIDES!)
Then they passed this special form of masochism on to their far-flung empire:
And yes, that was a 10 year old kid teaching us how to play.
If standing and walking strikes you as too much effort for your evening entertainment then perhaps sitting and answering insanely difficult trivia questions while killing the very brain cells you are using with copious amounts of alcohol is more your thing? Ah yes, pub quiz people! We got to go to a real Irish pub and got drafted onto a real pub quiz team. Not for a one-off thing either, this pub quiz is a weekly event and is a major draw for the place.
Quiz night was some serious stuff. People were cut from teams for not pulling their weight and the prize (a $50 bar tab) was the weekly achievement of a dynasty 4 man team that beat back the braying wolves of the other 8 teams by just the narrowest of margins. We did not give them a run for their money though both Tiffany and Greg were useful. Greg knew who “Weird Al” Yankovic was and Tiffany got the year for the attack on Pearl Harbor correct.
…and no, you’re not supposed to use your smartphone to google the answers. Such things are frowned upon and will cause immediate forfeit. These people were playing to win.
Before moving on we should explore the institution of the New Zealand Irish pub. Though we find ourselves in a country 11,600 miles from the emerald isle it seemed like every neighborhood in Auckland had a pub, the ridiculous majority of them were Irish pubs and all of them had people from Ireland tending bar! We asked some of our Kiwi friends about this and they told us that many of the pubs actively recruit young Irish travelers to come to New Zealand for the express purpose of making their Irish pub appear more, well, Irish. We’re told this makes the beer taste better somehow.
…Just makes you wish we Americans had kept a better lock down on that whole McDonalds thing. Then we would get recruited to fly around the world and talk to customers in funny accents too.
Finally, if you’re really bored you could just look up a brothel in the classifieds of the newspaper and order yourself a prostitute cuz that’s 100% legal here!
“So what” you say? That’s legal in Las Vegas too. Well, technically it isn’t. Clark County (where Vegas is) banned prostitution a few years back. What’s fascinating is that while Vegas was banning prostitution, New Zealand was legalizing it! In 2003, as in recent, modern, not a hold over from some older time that just hasn’t been taken off the books yet, the government of New Zealand federally legalized prostitution by a narrow margin in their Parliament. Why, how? We have no idea but it’s sure an interesting fact…perhaps a good pub quiz question…
This was, in fact, not the first pub we’ve encountered on our journeys. To find out about the interesting residents of our favorite British pub in Mexico (yes, you read that right) click on “Walking on the Wild Side”
About the authors
Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures. If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!