Sunday, July 13, 2014

Frown turned upside down

Okay, so yesterday was pretty awful: Constant rain, most of it heavy. It was a miserable winter day that made me grumpy, especially because it rained the whole way from Auckland to Hamilton, and well into that night.

Today, however, was a much better day.

Yesterday afternoon, we helped finish the move for my mother-in-law—in that rain—and then helped her get some things organised in the new place. That evening, we all assembled for dinner at my sister-in-law’s house in another part of Hamilton, which was nice. We were even in bed a little after ten—surprisingly early, really.

This morning was bright and sunny, and while it looked like raining a couple times, it never did (except a few times on the drive home…). Today’s mission was to take Nigel’s Mum shopping for a few things for her new place. After a finding many bargains, and as we were starting to head back to her new place, Nigel’s Mum said to Nigel and me, “So: When are you two moving to Hamilton?”

The short answer is, “who knows?”, but the longer answer isn’t much different: We have no idea when, or if, we’ll move there. Nigel’s always liked Hamilton, but I’ve never been keen on it, mainly because it can get bloody cold in the winter, and it’s often foggy on winter mornings—and the city just didn't seem to have much to offer, not as compared to Auckland, anyway.

However, we have several relatives living there now (along with around 148,200 or so other people), and Hamilton is slowly becoming more, um, cosmopolitan. It’s still very National Party there, in part because the area around the city is mostly farm country, but Labour has held electorate seats there and will eventually do so again. Party voting behaviour isn’t a perfect measure of a place, of course, and half of the city’s population is under 30, and, since younger people tend to be more progressive, this bodes well for the city’s future. Besides, where we live right now has been held by National for most the years I’ve been in New Zealand.

No, what I think is a better indicator of the place is all the construction: New houses are being built all over the city (and heating/air conditioning is now commonly included), and a lot of new shopping is going in, too. The shopping at The Base, including the mall Te Awa, which I wrote about last year, is getting better all the time—you can get nearly everything you need at that one place—or, if not there, nearby.

The New World supermarket at Te Rapa is the best grocery store I’ve been to in New Zealand—it may be the best I’ve been to, anywhere. Actually, New World Rototuna is pretty good, too.

State Highway One, the main road that runs the length of New Zealand, is the way to get from Auckland to Hamilton. Over the past ten years or so, a lot of work has been done to improve the highway, and much of it is now motorway. It’s not only reduced the amount of time it takes to drive between Auckland and Hamilton, it’s made it a much nicer—and safer—journey.

The point is, there’s a lot to like about Hamilton, even just for a visit. But move there? The jury’s still out on that. I guess it’ll take a few more visits.

Hopefully, it won’t be raining for our next visit.

Update 15 July: Above, I said that one reason I dislike Hamilton is that "it's often foggy on winter mornings." Well, Monday morning dawned foggy in Aucklandvery foggy. Today, Tuesday, the morning is clearer, but also cold, with temperatures around 6 degrees or so at our house (around 43F). The difference is, both are somewhat less common in Auckland than in Hamilton.


rogerogreen said...

Moving when it's raining sucks! I've done it.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I have, too, though not often. Moving in an Illinois winter is also not fun…