28 October 2007
The last week has been one of the most significant in my life. Last Sunday, Anthony and I exchanged vows, entering into a Civil Union in Auckland, New Zealand. This postcard describes the events surrounding the ceremony.
Friday, 19 October: Pre-Departure Dinner
The Cove Indian Restaurant, Attadale, Western Australia
Since, thanks to John Howard, a ceremony at home wasn't an option, this dinner was our way of sharing our special event with the family and friends who couldn't be there. It was a beautiful evening with good food and good company before our airport run. Dawn, a good friend of Heather's, made us a truly amazing cake, and as we left the restaurant we were given a guard of honour with arms raised into an arch for our exit.
Saturday, 20 October: In Transit
The next day was devoted to shopping and exploration of the harbour city en-route to Auckland. Our travel party numbered six: Myself and Anthony, of course, Mum and Heather, and Anne-Louise and Yolande. Yolande's brother-in-law, Ben, also joined us for our assault on Sydney retail.
Our flight to Auckland started with a bang. Literally. As the plane reversed from the gate, after a loud bang, it lost all power and appeared to "coast" backwards gradually slowing on its former trajectory. After they towed us back to the gate and spent some time with engineers investigating and working on things, they explained that basically they were going to jump start the plane. Very confidence inspiring!
Sunday, 21 October: Union
Albert Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Our original plan was to exchange vows on Kare Kare beach, on the west coast near Auckland, where Jane Campion shot the moodily haunting "The Piano". Upon reconnaissance out to Kare Kare on Sunday morning however, it was immediately obvious that unless we were keen on grit in our teeth, this west coast beach would be a completely impractical location on a day when the weather forecast described "disturbed westerlies". Scouting for locations on the way back into town, we were out of luck until, looking more closely at the park across from our hotel, we found a beautiful spot where the branches of two trees curved up into an arch.
At 5pm, we exchanged our vows under this protective arch before a flurry of photos in the fleeting sunlight. Later, we enjoyed a beautiful dinner at the Stamford Plaza.
Auckland, New Zealand
After a relaxed breakfast on Monday, we scoped out Auckland from atop the Skytower before heading down to the airport from where Anthony, Anne-Louise and Yolande headed back to Perth. With another day before my departure for London, I had Mum and Heather to myself. We went back to the Skytower and ate the most amazing meal of roast beef on a bed of kumara mash. For those who don't know, kumara is a local New Zealand sweet potato with an amazing flavour. Not only was the food amazing though, the view was even more enjoyable from the relaxed restaurant than it had been earlier in the day from the viewing platform.
On Tuesday, we sought out tourist info and ate a good breakfast at the Westfield Downtown before I took the girls across the harbour bridge in advance of our airport run.
QF 25 Auckland-Los Angeles / BA 278 Los Angeles-London
Contrary to all likelihood since I never sleep on planes, I managed to catch an hour or two on the Auckland-Los Angeles leg. However, regardless of my exhaustion and even after the ridiculous two hours to clear customs in LA for what was only a transit stop (I shouldn't have needed to leave the international terminal), I wasn't able to sleep on the Britsh Airways leg to London; This, in spite of snagging a complete row of four seats upon which I stretched out very comfortably. I lay there, listening to the goings on in the cabin, to the cabin service, to the buzz and chatter, but not sleeping.
Two hours into the flight, my dozing was rudely disturbed when I found myself being thrown around in my seat in the most violent turbulence I've ever encountered on a plane. Indeed, it was the first time I've ever heard an in-flight announcement that "there's nothing to worry about"! What I found completely amazing was that upon checking our flight path, we were right over La Crosse, Wisconsin. It was like the gods of aviation were trying to alert me to Todd's (aka Treebreeze) proximity and to let me know I should wave! At the time, however, it felt like I'd soon be sitting in Todd's lap. Now that I'm safely on British soil however, that just seems like a fanciful imagining!
So now here I am staying in Acton, London with Gordo, Mark and Chris. Thanks guys for having me to stay! I'm feeling really very much at home, though I'm looking forward to Anthony's arrival next month, if only I can arrange a notarised copy of my visa!