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Friday, December 30, 2011

An update from ABC's Auckland bureau

After two weeks in Fiji of two channels of TV, we've enjoyed our first day or so in Auckland of checking out the local television offerings here, both at our apartment at at some of the restaurants and bars.  Our place is located about five blocks from the main street through downtown Auckland, Queen Street.

It was raining pretty steadily when we decided to leave our place, and fortunately Annie had us all outfitted with blue Coleman rain ponchos, which we donned and hit the streets looking like losers at an audition for the Blue Man Group.  Auckland is a very modern city and extremely clean for a city of its' size.  Many US-based fast food restaurants have a visible presence here, we've seen probably a half-dozen McDonalds and at least that many Subway restaurants, with the occasional Wendys and Burger King as well.  The city has a diverse population with a strong Asian element.  Hunger led us to a restaurant called O'Carroll's just off Queen Street.

It great food, as Annie and I split a duck sandwich, while Ben got some tasty chicken wings and Marley downed some bruschetta and we devoured some potato wedges with bacon and sour cream.  Luckily we're doing a good deal of walking, otherwise with the way we've been eating, we might qualify for the next family edition of Biggest Loser.  Cricket is on the TV almost constantly, which I still don't quite understand, but hopefully by the time we leave Australia at the end of February, I'll be able to host a cricket team's pre-game program.  We were also scouting out places that might have the Bengals/Ravens game available, which will be around lunchtime here on Monday.  I went into a couple of spots that looked promising and found one that has individual TVs in some of the booths, and happened to be showing a Notre Dame football game in one of them.  Another inquiry led us to chatting with a Cleveland native who's in the military and living in Korea.  He was traveling alone and looking to hit a casino.  He was wearing a Sigur Ros shirt, so we chatted about music some before we decided to head for the iconic Sky Tower, just to check it out.

It's the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 1,076 feet tall, and has a variety of shops and restaurants in Sky City at it's base.  It also has a casino where our acquaintance from Cleveland was probably going to wind up.  On our walk back to our place, we walked by an Occupy Auckland encampment, which I figured would give me a good chance to do a test interview as I will be filing some reports on this trip for ABC Radio News.

I talked with one of the three guys there, he was named Alex Hardiman, a 23-year old from Wellington who had come to Auckland to join the cause.  In radio, sound is everything and I always loved using interviews with people with accents, and Alex filled that requirement.  I edited down the sound I got, put it in a package on the laptop back at our apartment and filed it with ABC, and will be filing more tonight after the arrival of 2012.

Hopefully the weather will co-operate for the fireworks show here in a few hours, as the stormy weather in Wellington has canceled the celebration there.  We've got some low clouds that will hopefully clear out in time for us to see the acclaimed show from the Sky Tower.  We'll let you know how it turns out and hopefully have some nice photos to share.

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