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Published: October 9th 2011
Liza and Matt in their Canada-best.
Mentioned in this post: Caryn (Liza's Christchurch roommate and Nelson co-habitant); Derek, Chris, Ashley (University of Canterbury classmates)
Our time in Nelson has come to an end, and on Saturday morning (October 1) we were on our way to Wellington to see Canada take on the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup. In true Nelson fashion, the taxi driver stopped to let us pick up Caryn and run an errand on the way to the airport while he turned off the meter and waited patiently for five minutes. To top it off, once at the airport we checked our bags, walked out the door onto the tarmac, and into the plane with no security or screening in sight. Thankfully no one hijacked the plane. After a 25 minute flight and a friendly shuttle into town we found ourselves exploring Wellington.
The city was buzzing with World Cup fever so we wandered along the harbourfront and ended up in the Wellington World Cup Fan Zone. It was a beautiful afternoon so we found a great spot on the ground to sit down in front of the big screen and enjoyed a few pints while watching the Australia/Russia match.. the
We can't imagine anything more intimidating.
first of three Saturday games. There we met up briefly with fellow classmates and Canadians (and a Frenchman) as they passed through on their way to the France/Tonga match. It would not prove to be a good afternoon for our French friend.
We checked into our hostel after the match ended and waited for Chris and Ashley to arrive. We then proceeded to a local sports bar to watch the France/Tonga match followed by the Scotland/England match. As the night progressed, friends continued to pour in culminating with our full group of twelve. The highlight of the night was the impromptu appearance of a piper band that played as they toured the bar. The beers ran late into the night as Matt was introduced to each of Liza's friends that had also come up from Christchurch for the weekend. The remainder of the night is blurry, but we can attest that it properly prepared us for what was to come the next day.
Sunday morning we woke up raring to go and amped to prepare ourselves for the Canada/New Zealand match that afternoon. The morning revolved around tracking down the alcohol and the costumes required to make the
Run-in with Kleeburger
Waiting outside the bar with Kleeburger. Not sure why Derek isn't clothed.
most of the experience. As far as the costumes go, the pictures speak for themselves. So does the booze. We departed the hostel an hour-and-a-half before the game for our 40 min walk to the stadium, however getting a group as large as we had around town was like herding kittens... drunk kittens. We arrived at the stadium minutes before kickoff. Luckily, we did not miss seeing the All Blacks perform the Haka which was an experience in and of itself. Although Canada failed to pull off the most improbable win in World Cup history, they battled hard and made us proud. The stadium was gorgeous and the New Zealand crowd was incredibly welcoming and appeared to consider the jubilant Canadian following (which was quite large) to be part of their game experience as well. Following the game the Canadian team made a tour around the pitch to sign autographs and take pictures. Given our incredible seats, and a couple of our die-hard rugby fan friends, we took full advantage of being able to interact with the players and let them know how proud we were of their effort. Derek got his face signed by many, many players. Ask him
The 17A Athol ladies in their finest attire.
As enjoyable as the game experience was, our day was far from finished. We partied our way back to the hostel before embarking back out to the bars. We had caught wind of where the rugby teams might be partying that evening and after stopping in at a couple of pubs to party with fellow Canadian and other World Cup fans we made our way there. Due to inappropriate footwear (girls..... Liza and her flip flops) we were unable to enter the bar.. however we were graced with the presence of Canadian rugby icon Adam Kleeburger while waiting in the line.. which was impressive considering that he was unconscious on the field only hours earlier. We made our drunken way back to the hostel and shut our eyes on a wonderful weekend in Wellington.
Next stop: North island road trip.
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