I’ve just finished ‘tearing’ up over the Russian National Anthem and now the Australian National Anthem’s playing and I’m blubbering and I’m not even Australian, for heaven’s sake. This is happening as we’re standing outside the Nelson stadium in the ‘cheap seats’ with views to the massive screen inside. “Let’s go into town” Michael announced this morning. So off we trotted to Olive’s Cafe, a place I love. Why? Because it serves Tapas and plays divine Spanish middle eastern-type music. One of my pet peeves is dining in an ethnic restaurant with music-by-numbers western music…somehow the plaintive strains of Dolly Parton doesn’t quite fit the likes of say a Thai Restaurant. I want a more authentic experience – to immerse myself in a little Asian, Mediterrean or like this afternoon, Spanish – just for while, to dream…and it always helps that the wait staff have killer accents.
So the intention was to head back in a straight line to our hillside rental, bellies full of Chocolate Cake. Only we kinda deviate from the path and find ourselves caught up in a throng of excited rugby fans, faces painted in the colours of their respective countries – predominantly Australians and Russians. Yep is the Russians against the Aussies today. We pass a few Australians looking already slightly worse for wear and I’m glad that ‘hug-an-Australian-day’ was yesterday. We’re standing outside the stadium straining to catch a glimpse of the players and then we hear the National Anthems. . The harmonies of the Rugby World Cup Choir are achingly beautiful. I’m reluctant to leave. Just need to be among my fellow man for a while to wallow in the prevailing passion and happiness. The officials are smiling and the cops almost jumping with glee as they confiscate liquor from the backpacks of hopeful punters. Ahhh, this Kiwi Bird is feeling the love.