Yesterday was probably one of the best days I’ve had so far in New Zealand, full of surprises that is.
I woke up around noon with my friend’s text that reminded me of the rugby game in the afternoon between Auckland University and Engineers. Interestingly enough, my flatmate Frankie was playing for University while my Thermodynamics classmate Lucca was playing for Engineering Team. We were quite confused as to which team to support since both of them had one of our friends each. The winner was going to receive 500 dollars worth of beer at a bar. We were poised to be treated no matter which team won. We weren’t worried.
The day begun with a free bus ride from the university to Rugby stadium. And that included a free awesome T-shirt with an iconic New Zealand map imprinted on the front, a cougar mascot on the left arm and Tui logo at the back. We were all so happy to receive such an awesome T-shirt for free. On arrival, there was free hot dogs and vege patties for us. Just before the game began, we found out that we could receive free booze on showing the T-shirt we got for free on the free bus. We couldn’t ask for more. The game was very exciting. The final score was 20-19, with Engineers beating the University team by a small margin. We got to watch an exciting rugby game for free while drinking free booze, sporting a free T-shirt and not having to worry about how to get back since a free bus ride was waiting at the end of the game.
|New Zealand’s map on the front of free T-shirt that we got. Photo: Digital Subway|
|Tui logo and see the Cougar icon on the left arm. Photo: Digital Subway|
|My friend Vikram jumping on the trampoline during Rugby game. Photo: Digital Subway|
I wasn’t prepared to call it a day yet. My IFSA-Butler friend Mathieu had told me about the All Whites vs Honduras football game during the evening to be held in Auckland. For those of you who missed Fifa world cup games, let me remind you that All Whites is New Zealand’s football (or soccer depending on which continent you are reading this) team that played against Honduras during the actual world cup 2010. It was a shame that I could not go to South Africa to watch world cup football but I wasn’t going to miss this. No, the tickets were not free, but the transportation was. It was freaking one hour away by bus.
The game was an absolute bang for the buck, $42 (NZD) that we paid. It was more interesting than the world cup game itself. The fact that we had amazing seats with an amazing view added to the experience. And it was special for me because it was my first game at a stadium with more than 18,000 other spectators. All Whites had tall and strong built players while Honduras had swift, not-so-tall but skilled players. The game was competitive. The linesmen made a couple errors, benefiting All Whites, drawing cheers from supporters at home ground. The score was tied at 1-1 with one heading goals each. And then All Whites received a penalty at closing 90th minute. The stadium was bustling with energy with everyone standing, awaiting for the penalty to be converted into a goal. The ball hit the bar, bounced and was punched away by the goalie but was kicked back by an All whites player, sending it a little above the bar. All Whites maintained their unbeaten streak with the game ending in a draw.
|All Whites vs Honduras at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland. Photo: Digital Subway|
When I had woken up with the text in the afternoon, I had no idea my day was going be full of surprises and sporting excitement. I guess it’s all part of studying abroad that entails a lot of fun, relaxation, surprises and excitement when you expect it the least.