AIS Positon

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - Opening Ceremony

Auckland, New Zealand


So I met Sean, and about 200,000 other people in downtown Auckland Friday night for the opening ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They had originally expected about 50,000 people to show up downtown, updated it friday mid-day to 100,000 and best estimates are over 200,000 showed up so it got pretty crazy. I waited about 45 mins for a bus in Albany and arrived in the city at about 4:45. It took me the next hour and 15 minutes to travel the 1.5 blocks to find Sean. I think he was in the hardest spot possible to get to and I nearly crushed this little old asian lady against a wall when the crowd started pushing pretty heavily. Took all my strength to give her enough space to hide between me and the wall.

Finally caught up with Sean and had a great time watching the haka's and Maori parade till about 6. We then headed up into town to grab a few drinks, and a little food. Met a nice group of kiwi's who thought Sean looked like actor Kevin James, even taking photos with him...quite funny.

We returned to Quay street for the opening ceremony and fireworks....quite spectacular with 4 sets of the same show over the harbour, plus another shot from the sky tower. Then it was back to the same bar for the game as Quay street was just TOO crazy, so after another 30-40 mins of severe pushing and some near tramplings we were out of the pack and on our way. All Blacks killed Tonga so I headed home at halftime. A great time though I was VERY glad to be a big strong guy as the crowds were HUGE and there was basically no crowd control in place.