Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing in Northcote

The Auckland region is a diverse region. Just north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge is North Shore City, where we live. Perhaps the most diverse area in the city is Northcote—part Asian, part Maori and Pacific Island and part Pakeha.

At the heart of Northcote is the main shopping area, Northcote Town Centre, probably the largest, most open shopping area in that part of North Shore City. When I moved to New Zealand in 1995, the area was mostly “old” New Zealand—mostly European in terms of businesses, especially. It’s now mostly Asian, especially Chinese. But the shopping area has become a vibrant area with people of all races and cultures mixing and mingling. Plus, there’s some good Asian food to be had there.

So, with such a large concentration of Chinese there, it was probably an obvious choice of location for a large screen for watching the Olympics, sponsored by North Shore City. They’ve held large public events there in the past, usually related to something in Asian culture.

Today I was over there to pick up some Thai takeaway food for lunch. While they prepared it, I wandered out and snapped the photo above. The place was mostly deserted, partly because there was nothing being broadcast at the time, and also because of the Auckland winter weather—rain, in other words.

The photo below is of some people sensibly under cover (the chairs are for people to use out in the open, when it wasn’t raining…). I left before the coverage of the Olympics resumed, so I have no idea whether more people turned out to watch.

The weird part for me was that I was walking from the car and heard some music: “The Star-Spangled Banner” was blaring over that (mostly empty) plaza. Apparently a medal ceremony was in progress. So even there, in the midst of a mostly Asian shopping area in New Zealand, as a I walked to get some Thai food I heard my homeland’s national anthem.

I love living here.


Scotty H said...

wow; looks pretty realistic, except it's missing something...

hm, what is it?
is it the armed military standing around?

is it the lack of fat old men with their singlets rolled up over their gut?

is it the bloodied bodies of Falong Gung (sp?) missing from the sidewalk?

ah ha! I know. It's the fact that you can see more than 300 metres through the CLEAN air.

Arthur Schenck said...

Those things are just missing because it was basically a rainy day. (yes, I'm being sarcastic...)