Days 1,111-1,112: The Mandster Cometh

Mon 16.01.12 – Tue 17.01.12:

Mandy, my long suffering girlfriend, had arranged to fly over and meet me in Auckland around 4pm today. By that time I had just about shrugged off my hangover from the night before and was almost looking human. I went to the airport to meet her (the airport being located a thousand miles away from the city, as always, but then who wants to live under a flight path?) and after two months of trundling around the Pacific on my own, it was wonderful to back in the arms of my beloved, even if it was only going to be for the next 10 days.

We had NEW ZEALAND to explore and PETER JACKSON to stalk!! But being Graham and Mandy, we decided to spend our first evening going to the cinema to watch the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Funny that – when Mand came to meet me in Egypt in January 2010, we went to see the first Sherlock Holmes movie. Maybe we should make this some sort of tradition.

The next day we jumped on a ferry to explore Devonport on the other side of the bay, mounted Mount Victoria, a rather nice extinct volcano with a lovely view out over Auckland city, and then, for no other reason than it was being shown the oldest purpose-built cinema in the Southern Hemisphere, we went to see Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia at the Victoria Theatre. Urk. I hate Lars Von Trier at the best of times: a misogynistic goon whose idea of a film is to have horrible people do horrible things to each other for two hours and then for everyone to die at the end. Why you would want to waste your time watching this garbage is not for me to judge, but I’m nothing if not a well-informed critic: I don’t dis films I haven’t bothered to watch. With the exception of anything to do with Glee.

That night Mand and I stormed the pub quiz at Father Ted’s, coming one question away from beating quite literally everybody else in the pub. No prize for second place, unfortunately, but we managed to make the most of it before launching ourselves HEADFIRST into the sing-where-you’re-seated karaoke. Our rather unique version of Proud Mary (was that originally Credence or am I dreaming?) actually had people dancing. I even got asked to sing another song by a punter. A bit of a coup for Monsieur Tone Deaf here, maybe I should have been a rockstar after all.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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