Tag Archives: Auckland

Flight from Auckland, NZ to Honolulu, USA

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After waking up at 4:30 and driving through crushingly thick fog to get back into Auckland, I was ready and waiting for the AirBus to pick me up and whisk me away to the airport. I had checked the times, double-checked the route, and was sitting and waiting for the bus a good 10min before it was set to arrive – though frustratingly I had seen one bus pass me by while I walked the 15min to the stop.

As I waited I took a final look around the city of Auckland, trying to take in everything that I could in these last few minutes that I’d be able to see the city outside of the airport… but I actually started to get bored looking around at the amazing skyline. I was a bit worried that I was jaded, until I looked at my watch and realized that I had been staring at said skyline for nearly 25minutes… 15min past when the bus was slated to arrive. I waited another 10minutes before I started to get a bit worried… I asked around and people said that the AirBus does usually stop there, but that they hadn’t seen any that morning aside from the one that passed me by. This worried me, and after another 10minutes of waiting, I realized that I had to call a shuttle or a cab at this point, since waiting any longer would be quite detrimental to actually catching my flight.

As it was, the shuttle company laughed at me when I called, saying “Man, there is no way that you’re catching you plane at this point. Hah, good luck!”. This of course didn’t really help my mental state at the time, but thankfully I had another ace up my sleeve – the Auckland Taxi company and their insane ability to tear through traffic, or at least so the rumors went. I called, got a quote ($60 instead of the expected $15 for the bus), and called the cabby in. Just before he arrived an AirBus did finally come by… but it declined to stop for me, the driver simply waved to me and kept driving as I tried to flag him down. I don’t like Auckland I think.

After that… interesting… incident with the bus, the cabby did arrive and we tossed my bags into the car and I jumped in, barely a second before he melted rubber and started flying towards the airport. Soon enough we were trapped in traffic, (Ed Note: See the “People I’ve met on or near my Flights” for our topic of conversation on the drive into the airport) but thankfully the skills of Auckland’s cab drivers had not been overstated, and he was able to find his way through the gridlock and dropped me off at the airport in record time, easily early enough for me to check my bags in, swish through security, and have a bit of time extra to charge up my iPod and Kindle before the flight.

Capoeira in Auckland

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Since I was in Auckland for a while, I decided to meet up with one of the Capoeira groups in town and get an idea of how other schools of Capoeira do it. I wasn’t actually sure what “it” was, but I figured that every school would have some subtle differences in how they trained and in what moves they primarily used, and so I was really excited about getting a chance to meet up with some new people. Mostly, I was looking forward to seeing how well I could play against these new people, and seeing whether or not Pontual’s training regime really is the hardest in the area.

What I learned instead, was… interesting, but a bit confusing and intimidating. The school that I ended up choosing to go to (via Google-search results) was focused on Capoeira Anguala, or the “original” form of Capoeira (Ed Note: See Ben’s earlier post about Capoeira for reference links). The main difference, as far as most people will see between Anguala and Regonal, the style that I had mostly learned in, is the tempo of the game. In Anguala the Capoeiristas move much slower, and thus stay much lower to the ground, thus requiring a huge amount of core and upper body strength to hold yourself up… and this left me sweating and panting as we moved through the training exercises.

I loved it, but playing the game itself as Anguala was difficult for me, and the format of the class itself was a bit alien to me as well, as they incorporated a huge amount of music into the lesson. With Pontual, we would usually have a simple iPod setup playing music in the background while we trained – both to help us keep focused, and to give us a tempo to move to. However, the Auckland group made significant use of live music, having each of us rotate between training and playing the background music. It was actually quite difficult for me, since I’m still quite new and not very good at playing and singing at the same time. But it did give a bit of a different energy to the circle and the training, knowing that there was someone watching and playing the music for us.

My biggest challenge came when we actually formed up the roda at the end of class, and started playing against each other. Instead of the normal unstructured single roda that Pontual would start up, we instead set up two rodas, with one person playing a Pandeiro in between. This wouldn’t be too bad in and of itself if the class was large, and had enough people to really support two circles, but unfortunately the class was only five people – meaning that the roda only consisted of the people playing against each other. And that meant that no one really got a break for playing; which, combined with the fact that I wasn’t used to such slow and muscular movements, meant that I was huffing and puffing quite quickly.

I did learn that, as you would imagine, many of the people who played anguala didn’t really know too many of the higher kicks or more dynamic movements. Many of the students didn’t even seem to know Keshada, my best kick, and so I was able to hold them back pretty well by putting that into my game every so often.

Overall I really enjoyed this little peak into the world of another group, but I think it just reinforced how much I do like Capoeira Regonal over Capoeira Anguala – I still think that everyone should train both to an extent, but I find Regonal to be a bit more applicable to my life thanks to the speed and fluidity of the movements.

Exploring Auckland – Urban Artwork

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As I wandered around Auckland, I noticed a huge number of amazing pieces of spray art all over Kingsland.  The artwork wasn’t as openly positioned as what I saw in Wellington, but it had a stronger sense of urgency to it, if that makes any sense.  Here are a few pictures of what I found on my walks: