Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day quiet

Today is Boxing Day, traditionally one of the busiest shopping days in New Zealand, if not the busiest. We didn’t go shopping—we went home.

As I said yesterday morning, we went to Hamilton for Christmas this year, and only overnight. We came home today and arrived about 28 hours after we left, giving us the rest of the day as a nice, relaxing afternoon at home.

There are, of course, good deals to be had in the Boxing Day Sales, but there’s nothing we particularly need or want at the moment, certainly not badly enough to brave the crowds and traffic. There’s already been a massive result for NZ retailers this Christmas season, with early reports today of clogged roads leading to malls. As we headed home, we saw an electronic sign warning us of massive delays at Mt. Wellington Highway, where the Sylvia Park shopping centre is. Fortunately, we weren’t getting off there, so that wasn’t a problem for us.

We had a good, if short, trip. We had good fun catching up with family, plus lots (too much) good food and drink. And, with an early start to the day and the festivities, Nigel and I were in bed by around 10pm.

Aside from all that, there were some other things that caught my attention this year. They were:
  • The newly opened stretch of the Waikato Expressway bypassing Ngaruawahia is fantastic. In fact, it’s one of the best stretches of motorway I’ve been on in New Zealand. There are two lanes in both directions, and they’re widely separated. The road is reasonably flat with great visibility. Mind you, it’s possible my positive impression may be because there wasn’t much traffic (I don’t think most people going to or from Auckland knew it opened on December 16).
  • I noticed that in Hamilton my mobile was connected to Vodafone’s 4G network (I recently signed up for a new plan that includes 4G, which my iPhone supports). I’ve never yet been connected to 4G here in Auckland. What’s that again about Hamilton being “behind”?
  • On the whole, drivers were pretty well behaved this year. We were in our local shopping centre on Christmas Eve and I noticed that the people there seemed to have taken leave of their senses—apparently unable to even make their way around a grocery store. Fortunately, they seemed to have regained some of their senses when they got back in their cars.
  • The weather outside was frightful yesterday, including some drenching downpours and also some strong winds—as well as some hot, sunny periods. But when you’re having a good time with family, it just doesn’t seem to matter.
  • Our dogs are the best in the world. They’re no trouble to travel with, and they even seem to enjoy it as much as people enjoy having them around. Can’t ask for better than that!
So, it was a good Christmas this year, the first in five years that we weren’t at home (I had to look that up—thank goodness I have a blog to record these things…). Now, it’s on to New Year’s Eve!

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