Last Friday, the Rugby World Cup 2011 finally started. And since the opening ceremony was in our new home town of Auckland, Rita and I went down to the Central Business District on Friday afternoon to get a feel for the atmosphere. We were far too late to get onto Queen’s Wharf, so we just strolled down Queen’s Street from Wellesley Street to the waterfront. I had expected that a few people would make an effort to go out and celebrate, but I had not expected the 100,000 people who were estimated to be there, in addition to the 60,000 who were at Eden Park.
Of course it would have been a lot more colourful if the home team weren’t the All Blacks, with their fans dressed accordingly. It looked like a bizarrely boisterous funeral. It was left to the Tongan supporters to add some colour to the occasion, and they were great fun. The bus driver that took us home was from Tonga and he was getting into the spirit of things – blowing his horn every time he passed any of his flag-waving countrymen. A great atmosphere. And we were fortunate not to be affected by the transport problems that some people faced.
Here’s a sense of what it was like:
And the rugby has been pretty good, with some great games. I do feel for the Welsh, who were desperately unlucky (and hard done by?) in their loss to South Africa. I can’t wait for Wednesday’s games!