Manic Morning, and a Museum

Our initial intention was to go to Waiheke Island today, but after a farcical morning we ran out of time and settled for the Auckland War Memorial Museum instead.

We slept in. Then I discovered there was no bodywash since I had left it in the (communal) shower the day before. If I have done this once, I’ve done it a thousand times. In fact I can scarcely remember finishing a bottle of the stuff (a bit like Jack Daniels in that respect). For this reason, I try to purchase as small a bottle as possible; I’ve even contemplated using block soap, my thinking being if I forget it in the shower no one would steal that. But how could I be sure someone didn’t use it? Would it matter? Is soap self cleansing?

I rushed down to the Chinese supermarket and grabbed the first thing I could find.

When I returned, all showers were occupied. I waited. Cursed. Waited some more. Finally a cubicle became free and I leapt in. I was greeted by a tepid, broken line of water, reminiscent of a stream of pee (from a somewhat depleted bladder, I might add). I attempted to lather up, but couldn’t. Closer inspection of the bottle revealed why: “Perfumed Body Lotion for Women”. And perfumed it was. I still smell like a flower shop, one frequented by ladies of the night.

Anyway, we made it to the museum a couple of hours later and had a great time. I’m not going to harp on about what you can see there. There must be few things more pointless than writing or reading about the contents of museums, an exception being the taking of pictures in said museums. The lighting is generally terrible for such activity, and was particularly so in this case. But of course museums are there to be visited in person, not to be read about.

However, in case you are in two minds whether it’s worth a look when in Auckland, let me give you a brief outline of what to expect.

The ground floor, which I was particularly interested in, relates to New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, as well as the Polynesian navigators of the Pacific. Here you will find lots of artwork (mainly in the form of humanoid figures with grotesquely misproportioned body parts), religious ‘houses’, and a fantastically elaborate ornate canoe. There is also information on the early European pioneers and the conflict between those two cultures.

The first floor deals with natural history. The first thing that greeted us was a skeleton of the extinct Moa bird; I thought it was a dinosaur before I read the plaque. No wonder they’re extinct: they would have fed a tribe, no doubt. There’s other great stuff here too, with a particular focus on geology and volcanoes. A simulator of an Auckland lounge with a view of Rangitoto through its patio doors provides an experience of what it might be like if that volcano was to become active. I, and the other children, really enjoyed it, although they seemed strangely unperturbed at the crescendo. I nearly soiled my trousers.

The second floor has a sobering effect. There are two marble walls of remembrance for the war dead of both global conflicts. The sheer number is staggering, especially given that they record the names of fallen soldiers from the Auckland region alone. There is also a library, an armoury displaying weapons of various eras, and a quaint little street portraying Auckland in 1866.

As far as museums go, Auckland Museum isn’t very large: we were able to peruse it to our satisfaction in around three hours. In a way that’s no bad thing because you don’t leave with an uneasy suspicion that you’ve missed something special. It also means you can fit another activity into the day, if you are so inclined.

All in all, it was a good day. It started badly, and I was berated and hen-pecked (in my humble opinion) by my girlfriend for losing ‘our’ soap. But the museum was really interesting and a lot of fun, which pleased her no end.

You could say, I came out smelling of roses… (Ahem).


Anybody else have this problem with bodywash / shampoo / toiletries whilst travelling? Or any other irritating bathroom related issues? Feel free to comment. One of the many banes of my life.