Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The 'pull and push,' that is Auckland.

Yesterday I spent the day in Auckland. To avoid stress, I planned to avoid the crazy traffic, that has  returned to the Auckland norm, now that the working year has begun and schools are reopening.'

I left Thames in time to coincide with the opening hours of the 'doggie care' facility, as I did not want to leave Perdy in the hot car, whilst I pursued the goals for my visit. I had planed to be at my first appointment by 9.30.

All went well, until I hit the Southern Motorway near Papakura, then it was down to a stop, start, crawl. My inner thoughts until that time were relatively subdued and calm, but once the leisurely drive became a game of 'survival of the fittest,' I could feel a certain 'meanness' taking over---for myself and other lane-jumpers!' I quite reasonably accused the other drivers of being selfish, because they had not caught public transport, leaving the roadway clear for me and my little I20.

I arrived at my sister's house with little time to spare before we had to drop the car off for it's 'maintenance schedule' with Hyundai in Greenlane, then over to Dilworth hearing, to have my hearing aid checked as part of the agreement. By this time we were in the 'eye of the storm,' that short time of the day in Auckland, when traffic almost becomes bearable.

We were able to find parking in New Market, where we wandered around looking at shops, that simply don't exist in the smaller towns of New Zealand, but then again, my ability to purchase the 'goods on offer,' is also somewhat diminished these days, so I guess it all balances out.

After a tasty lunch  made cheaper by 'loyalty points,' we decided to 'Tiki Tour,' around some of the eastern suburbs of the 'City of Sails,' taking us to places I had not visited for many years. The growth of the city in the intervening years, left me with the feeling that Auckland is like a huge blanket, rippling ever more towards the regions, to where I escaped nine months ago. I was also reminded of the sheer beauty of some of the vistas, especially those emanating from the beautiful Gulf with its myriad of islands, some large, other mere 'rocks in the stream.'

Reality dawned as the time to collect my car approached; reality in the form of the fact that I was not going to be able to pick it up until after five. Oh no! The 'window of sanity,' re the traffic would well and truly be over. I said goodbye to my sister and after picking up my car----'Auckland rammed me in the gut!'

I crawled into the lanes, in my newly cleaned car (part of the service) that had been beautifully serviced---a fact that did little to calm my increasingly anxious nerves, as I attempted to attain motorway status. Yes,----it took 30 minutes to travel 1.5kls--just to get on the latter!

Even when I managed to achieve the stupidity of the motorway, I still took another 30 minutes to reach the point where I could leave the bedlam, well short of the southernmost suburbs. I decided to get off and travel via the Clevedon Coast. After another twenty minutes, sanity returned and the glimpse of the Firth of Thames, the brown/green fields and hills, were once again the main vistas.

I could feel a calmness descending over me, one that I celebrated by ordering fish and chips at an iconic little village on the Firth at Kaiaua. That I had to wait another thirty minutes was but a small price to pay for the 'escape from madness.'

I loved my little sojourn to Auckland. I enjoyed the energy, the diversity and the company of family, but I doubt I could ever handle that craziness of the traffic on a regular basis again. That part of my life has well and truly been consigned to----history!