So I went after all.
Contemplating between watching the Rugby World Cup (RWC) opening ceremony at Eden Park being telecast live on TV at home or at the Queen’s Wharf near Viaduct with thousands and thousands of others on a super big screen, I chose the former and said “No” to my friend Serene as she asks for the last time if I wanted to join her before she leaves the office……..I ended up changing my mind 20 minutes after that and called up Serene to meet in town.
I thought the fact that I happen to be in Auckland during such a major sports event is a good enough reason to not miss the fever.
A very crowded Queen Street
This is my first time attending a mass party since years ago when I went to Kuala Lumpur city centre for the 2003 New Year’s countdown party and fireworks.
I could already feel the excitement as I walked with hundreds and hundreds of Rugby fans making their way down Queen Street to the waterfront. Many of them with flags, face paint, wigs, costumes and really really loud cheers. It was only 4.00pm.
By 5.00pm, my friends and I were standing in the middle of thousands, packed like sardines in front of a big screen waiting for the live telecast at 7.30pm. The crowd was still growing.
Police chased off people from the roof of a nearby hut. They ignored the police and kept waving their flags! Many fans were screaming out country names. Then other fans screamed out their own country names in retaliation. The screaming continued for a while. We snapped pictures of ourselves. A woman flashed her titties from the balcony of another building. We stood there in the middle of all the craziness for hours and starving!
The police chasing people off the roof
(I do realise that I am writing about a major event and I have only 3 pictures from my mobile phone to post. Some blogger I am!)
After a few songs by the live band and a Haka dance performance, it was time for the opening ceremony! All eyes were locked on the screen.
It was beautifully done. I thought the Maori culture and history was woven nicely into the ceremony. I especially loved the rich and lively projection on the floor, the dance formations and of course the powerful Haka performance. More cheers and screams from people.
Here’s the video (in 4 parts):
I thought the RWC anthem wasn’t strong enough to match the energy of the ceremony. The loud music was drowning out the local singer’s voice. But overall it was a spectacular affair.
Then there were fireworks from where we were standing. They were everywhere, I literally didn’t know where to look. Two men were marching down vertically from the building in front of my eyes. On wires of course! Choir singing from the balcony. Performances in different places around Auckland. More fireworks. It was all very grand!
I took zero pictures or videos of fireworks because I know I can find better ones on You Tube. And the best one is of course from TVNZ
After all was done, we braved through the crowds back onto Queen Street to find food!
Fortunately for us, we got out quick enough. There were reports of the crowd getting a little crazy towards the end with people falling and getting stepped on! I saw at least 5 ambulances throughout the course of that night. I hope no one was seriously hurt.
Anyhow, I am glad I went. And later that night, the All Blacks won their first RWC match against Tonga.
Go All Blacks!