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World on a Shoestring A beginnger's guide to traveling around the world...as written by beginners...

OK in AK '07

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 19 March 2007 | Views [1969]

Fortune smiles upon us once again, and we've spent our last two weeks in Auckland during a festival celebrating culture, music, dance, art, and cinema worldwide. 

Choose a day at random and walk the streets of Auckland and you'll come across people from every inhabited corner of the world.  But, if that random day you've chosen happens to fall in the middle of the annual Auckland Festival, you'll find that the normal number of tourists and travelers has doubled.  Each year, shows, acts, performers, bands, comedians, filmmakers, dancers, magicians alike gather in Red Square, facing the pier, and put on, literally, a world class show.  As luck would have it, Gen and I decided to spend the last two weeks of our time in New Zealand in Auckland during this extravaganza, catching performances that cover the entire spectrum of spectator experiences:  we laughed, we cried, we gasped, we gawked, we clapped, we danced, we sang, we ate, we drank, we were merry, we were inspired, we were shocked, we were confused, but mostly, we were entertained.

Other than showcasing unique acts around the globe, there's no real theme to the festival, although we regularly found ourselves shocked, so perhaps the theme this year could have been "Auckland Festival, 2007, we'll make your eyes bulge like an enema..."

Our introduction to the fair was a humble boat show displaying some of the grandest personal yachts our four bespectacled eyes have ever strained to focus on.  With price tags in the hundreds of thousands, even the millions, Gen and I walked the Auckland harbor, mouths agape, catching flies.  The opulence with which some of these boats are constructed is awe-inspiring, and it makes you yearn to have a rich uncle in the oil business...

Compared to the rest of the festival, this boat show was a mild introduction to the lasciviousness that lay in our unseen future.  Innocently and naively we approached the festival assuming it was a fun, family oriented.  With what little money we had left, we felt nothing less than obligation to spend our final funds on festival follies.  Alliteration aside, we based our decisions on which shows to attend on nothing more than the recommendations of the girls selling tickets.  It just so happens that the girls selling the tickets were pushing for the two headlining acts of the festival.  So, unknowingly, we purchased tickets for two shows that were going to blow our minds.

So now we have to sum up everything that we've seen.  So here goes...

First, we saw the Brazilian dance show (more like spectacle).  We were expecting milk and got vodka.  Hoping to see traditional costumes, instruments and dancing, what we got was booty shaking and a couple guys riffing on the drums.  It was entertaining for a bit, but then Gen caught me staring and the fun was over.

     

Next came La Clique, in The Famous Spiegeltent, our favorite.  Seana, all your wildest dreams come true in La Clique.  In fact, this show might even give Hunter S. Thompson a bit of shock.  I'll give you the short and the long of it, literally.  The short is the belly dancing Indian midget(no lie, she came up about an inch above my knee) doin' it like Jesse Spano in Showgirls.  The long of it were the six inch, white patent leather, platform pumps holding up the naked woman with the pearl necklace flagellating herself to Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".  There's more, but this is a PG blog, so we'll keep it simple:  comedians, acrobats, contortionists, singers, magicians, musicians, and a sword swallower.  But this isn't your grandparents Cirque De Soleil...this is strictly adults only.

Next we saw a band called Celenod, a band from New Caledonia.  They were entertaining to watch and listen to.  They're music was fun, and they put on a good stage show.  We'd consider the music to be a cross between tribal and fun.  But it was only an introduction to the debauchery that was to follow. 

Our next show was Eddie Perfect, an young Aussie entertainer who's made his living poking fun at modern trends, celebrities and most of all, capitalism.  All we can say is, it was quite a thing.

A few of the other activities that were available were free outdoor, live music, as well as short films from around the world. 

We really enjoyed the festival, though we were surprised at how minimally attended it was.  But, you snooze you loose, and we definitely did not snooze.

Tags: People

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