Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our weekend diversion

On Anzac Day we visited family in Hamilton. Not unusual by itself, but we haven’t been there in quite awhile.

Anzac Day (April 25) is a Public Holiday in New Zealand (well, the morning is…), and like a lot of New Zealanders, we too the Friday off, too. So We headed off to Hamilton to stay the night—dogs, too. We were staying with Nigel’s cousin, who we’d never visited in her new house.

First, though, we were meeting up with family for lunch at the mall in Hamilton called Te Awa (bad phone camera photo above) at The Base. The site itself is a former NZ Defence Force base that was no longer needed, so the land was handed back to the local iwi, Tainui. Sensibly, they’ve redeveloped the land, and it is now a major shopping destination for Hamilton and the Waikato Region.

The last time we were there, we were living in Paeroa and the mall hadn’t been built: It’s very different. Now, after many years back in Auckland, two things struck me about the mall. First, the clientele was much browner than the malls I usually go to (just a fact, not a value judgement), and second a value judgement: The younger men were particularly attractive. Sure, we get both in our local malls, but not with such density.

I probably didn’t see as much of the mall itself as I could have, but I have to say that one other impression overshadowed everything else: The American-ness of the way in which the carparking area was very pedestrian unfriendly. Just like American shopping centre areas, it would have been easier—and safer—to drive than to walk. I thought this was really weird, and really—really—bad planning. Maybe one day they’ll fix it.

Still, the lunch was very nice, the time with family even better, and we enjoyed our time with them and at Nigel’s cousin’s house. The dogs seemed to like the trip, too.

We went home on Friday, and still had a whole weekend ahead of us—now THAT is what I call a good holiday weekend!

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