Wow, what a mad day! In London, on the closest Saturday to Waitangi Day the New Zealand expat community celebrates by going on a pub crawl around the Circle Line. You start at Paddington at 10am and end up on the Parliament lawn at Westminster at 4. You are supposed to have a half pint at each stop, if you can get into a pub that is. Most people hit the off-licences beforehand and on the way and drink out on the street, especially if the weather is as fantastic as it was yesterday! There are other rules like don’t hang on on the tube, and don’t spill or you have to finish everything in your vessel, etc, with loud BOOs for everyone who breaks the rules (and do not walk past in Aussie gear, but token Aussies in Kiwi gear are welcomed!). Most people were just going with the flow though, in typical Kiwi laid-back style.
I was up bright and early yesterday morning and got myself down to Paddington station just after 10am. There were loads of people milling around outside the station, and I was amazed at the effort some people had gone to getting tshirts printed and making costumes:
(my absolute favourite – how good are those costumes??)
I met up with Claire and her Green Party buddies and hung around with them while they went around stickering people (“I only date guys/girls who vote Green”). It was interesting to get a feel for the political feeling among the ex-pats. Party politics isn’t my thing so much as political psychology, so it was a good exercise.
After they were done with that and we’d had enough of the pub crawl for a while me, Claire and Rob piked and went for lunch down Portobello Road. By then it was time to get to Westminster, where I met up with Jason, Kalman, Dion (token Aussie) and my friend Raj from work (token Brit). We totally missed the haka, it was off in the distance through the crowd somewhere. The crowd was massive and I think Raj had a real “cultural experience”! I’m still waiting for the Westminster photos to upload but if you click on either of the photos above it will take you to my flickr account where you can see loads of pictures from the day and see the kind of numbers I am talking about – I think there were probably around 10,000 people there.
We bumped into Ali, who I haven’t seen since before he came here several years ago, and then Davina joined us and we ended up near Trafalgar Square for a drink. Then it was on to Leicester Square for dinner, and finally home after being out for over 12 hours.
I feel like I’ve had my fill of Kiwiana for the whole year and I can cross another thing off the list of things to do in London!