Monday, 4 January 2010

Christmas, The Wedding Of The Year & A White New Year In The Big Apple

Well, looking back over the last three weeks it seems we’ve crammed an awful lot in. Christmas, Packing boxes for shipping, The Wedding of the Year, New York for New Year and San Fran. All in 17 days. Needless to say that although we’ve quite literally stopped in San Fran we’re both pretty shattered.

Anyone reading this will know how much we enjoyed Christmas – it was amazing to see you all. Feel free to start planning the return fixture to New Zealand. We’d love to see you.

The highlight of the trip back was no doubt the wedding of Lucy and Matthew. An amazing day and we were truly privileged to be a part of. Aside from the wedding itself the highlights were as follows:
- Matt and Lucy’s beautiful first dance- Silky moves people!
- J being referred to as “Jasmine” in the father of the brides speech
- Beaker’s sambuca induced dancing
- Seeing that Paul from Uni hasn’t changed an ounce
- Surviving the Best Man’s speech tumbleweed.
- Everyone being constantly confused between Matt and his doppelganger
- Having time with our best friends to catch up and talk rubbish.

For New Year we hit New York – here are some of the highlights:
To explore a city there is no better way than a bar crawl, that’s my stance and I’m sticking to it! Rather the standard research and crawl approach we decided to try something a bit different. The concept was simple – Pick the first bar and a general direction and then ask the server in each bar where they’d recommend we hit next on the crawl (within a reasonable walking distance). Now, the idea was a good one – by asking “randoms” for recommendations we should find some bars we’d never have found on our own. The crawl began well but was abandoned after the fourth bar. it failed due to the lack of creativity of our servers. Each server in turn recommended generic Irish themed rubbish; mock wood, mock Guinness, mock Irishmen and tons of second hand crap from the ceiling. The crawl was abandoned although the concept has not been - Mr Green / Mr Hopkins we will be trying this when I see you next in NZ!

Johnnies Bar was an exceptional find on our crawl (note – only found by accident and not via recommendation). A tiny place probably only 20 foot by 7 foot but with one of the best juke boxes ever (known by Zac the bar tender as the “crack-box” as all of his wages went into the thing). We sat at the bar and I was invited by Zac to a game of chess – If I won the round was on him. Promptly beating Zac and boasting to the assembled few that I was trained in India (note - alcohol induced garbage) I was asked by a regular at the bar if I’d mind playing him. He looked like a cross between Rocky Balboa (see Rocky III where he really gets a hammering) and the black chap out of From Dusk Til Dawn (post vamp turning). Confidence high it was fine to bet a couple of rounds on the game. It was only when he started name dropping people like Hikaru Nakamura, Ray Robson and Yuri Shulman that I got worried. No ..... I didn’t know the names either – that was what concerned me. I do now – they’re USA chess masters and it turns out they’re his friends. Apparently, my new buddy is a chess pro and competes /wins in nationwide competitions. All very well humoured entertainment and he even let me off buying the drinks!

As always when we’re in NYC it’s hard to keep Janine out of the Consignment Shops. Thanks to Mum (Anne), Nicola & Dave, John & Gill, Mum (Brenda) & Dad, Al and Jean for the Christmas dollars you gave us. They were “invested” as follows:

Me – A Paul Smith Suit and an Armani coat
J – 3, yes that’s right .... 3 pairs of Manolo Blanik Shoes, a Banana Republic raincoat, Marc Jacobs skirt and a Vera Wang dress.

On New Years and in a white NYC we went for a nice meal (note – J is never allowed to order the house special again – apparently “black truffle pasta” is extortionately expensive!!!). After the meal we went to our new favourite NYC bar – Nurse Betty. Again a small bar and considering it was New Years Eve it was dead – probably not great for the owner but excellent news for us. We got to meet some lovely people and have befriended a lovely New Yorker, Jen. Jen if you’re reading this we hope to see you at some point in Auckland!

A trip to NYC wouldn’t be the same without watching some English Football in Nevada Smiths. We met some fantastic people – Jack & John thanks for a very enjoyable morning! We also had the fortune to meet a guy called Jerry – Jerry has Attention Deficit Disorder & Tourettes but even with this manages to hold down a pretty senior job at one of the New York investment banks (perhaps these conditions are advantageous for such employment?). The Football was very frustrating (see Boro loss and Pool playing like they belong in the Championship) but people wise we’ve added a few more to our “must see next time we’re back” list. John / Jack – please do keep in touch.

We’re now in San Fran awaiting our flight back to Auckland. What a holiday – thanks to everyone for making Christmas 09 & New Year 09-10 so special.