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Published: September 10th 2011
Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision. - Muhammad Ali, American Boxer
After so many months of waiting, over a 30 hour period of travel, my luggage finally arriving and eventually putting on the kilt to go to the Fan Zone for the opening ceremony, after queing for 3 hours patiently in line, getting sunburnt and full of excitment, the police came down the line and told us that the venue was full and the doors were closed :-(
In my dorm of 8 were two Canadians - Kaylee and Krystin Ross, an Englishman (boo) - Steve Corps, A Frenchman - Jean Bernard and the 3 crazy Irishmen, Eoin, Mike and Mark Smith. You're either lucky or not with whom you get lotteried with in Backpackers, this time I had jackpotted, crazy Irish.
The general consensus was that we should all go to the Fan Zone early down at the water front as there were expected twice the capacity of the venues maximum. I had called my cousin Laura Drummond and met for a beer while waiting for the very hung
over and probably still drunk Irish. After a few beers in the sun and making friends with every nation who wanted a photo with a Scotsman in his kilt, we joined the que, about 400 meters long and an hour before the doors opened. Unfortunatly, and despite four years of planning and preperation, some bright spark in the organising comittee over looked how to get 15,000 people to que orderly to get into narrow gates. Where the better part of us qued, unkown to us at the time it was chaos at the gates and people were just streaming in off the street and not bothering with the line. No barriers and about 10 policemen, it was what turned out to bo only one of a bunch of critical errors on the night by the event organisers. I heard the next day that trains got stuck on lines and couldnt get in or out of the city centre. Thousands, and without exaduration, literally thousands of people were massivley upset, angry and disapointed....
So, reluctantly dragging my massivly swollen and sour faced bottom lip out of the line, we all tried to find a bar. I led us to the
Occidental on Vulcan Lane where I decided that the only remedy for my brattish mood was a round of Jager bombs, remedy successful. We then went down the lane to Fort st sports bar and settled in for the night. With boos prices being so high, Laura and I went to the bottle shop 20 meters away and proceeded to scrum our way inside. No joke, it was a free for all ruck with so sense of order, complete chaos of elbows and fighting to get to the front door. After about a half hour of a multinational scrum against the one poor chinese fellow behind the glass doors (how they didnt break and then proceed the looting that happened recently in England I dont know), some poor old man fought his way out only to have some stupid loud mouthed kiwi girl try and grab it out of his hands. At that point I managed to get in, poor Laura still being swallowed up by the crowd, I had no choice but to leave her behind to fight for herself!
Eventually we joined the lads at the outside section of the bar and hid our carry out under
the table. Highlights were every Tongan in the world in down town Auckland, The Harry Christners starting a street rave, some ridiculously drunk man walking backwards in circles, the fireworks and a Haka being done ontop of a bus shelter. As we were all laughing at the poor backcrabbing drunk lad, we were rumbled with our carry out, and had to leave the bar, half an hour later, after the firewroks and the 1st game of NZ Vs Tonga had begun, we casually walked right back into the same bar and carried on, meeting up with our Canadian roomates too. And that was pretty much the opening night. It was similar to a New Year celebration in Edinburgh with clear skies, warmth, better firworks, happier people from over 20 different countries, madness, bedlam, chaos and great fun. Harry Christner street rave - youtube link Drunken Kiwi - youtube link
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