I'm an Auckland girl through and through, but I have to take my hat off to Wellington - the Windy City really did show us a good time this weekend.
Six of us "girls" (three mums, three cheerleading daughters) packed our bags and took off in a rainstorm, with a bit of trepidation (i.e. "if the weather's this bad in Auckland, how will we ever land in Wellington???") heading for the National cheerleading competition in our nation's capital.
Imagine our surprise when we touched down and - no wind. No rain. Eek, is that the sun??? Imagine!
They reckon you can't beat Wellington on a good day, and they may just be right. We had an absolute blast, even though I was drugged up to the eyeballs with flu medicine, nurofen, throat lozenges and anything else I could get my hands on, thanks to a nasty virus I came down with the night before. But dammit, I was going to Wellington no matter what!
Here we are getting the girls all gussied up ready for their cheerleading competition. I know it looks scary, but you get used to it. Even the bows and makeup...
Let me just clear up a few misconceptions: THERE ARE NO POMPOMS! Forget what you've seen of cheerleading in American high school movies: this aint that. It's waaaaaay cooler.
Cheerleading is a team sport with a high-energy mix of dance, stunting and gymnastics. Boy oh boy are those girls fit and FLEXIBLE! Our girls are in an Elite team, which means they train 4.5 hours per week - and this is just level one.
Our girls' team (the Galaxy Starlites) got silver in our division. We were very proud mamas, even though our girlies were hoping for gold, to qualify for world champs in Hawaii next year. We've still got another shot, next comp. (And we beat the team that usually wins = bonus).
In between competing and winning medals and fighting off flu bugs, we hit the town,,,
My friend Justine had all the bright ideas (as well as generous friends who let us stay in their gorgeous apartment right in the city)...
We hit the Cuba Street night markets, Ombra, Fidels, the Moore Wilson super-deli, Drexels for pancakes and waffles, the waterfront for a spot of waterside cheer practise, Te Papa museum, the lot.
LOVED the night markets. Food carts of all kinds, buskers and al fresco dining (Auckland, take notes).
My own personal cheerleader, never one to shy away from a challenge, laid down her jacket in Cuba Street Mall and put on a one-girl cheerleading show for the crowds. Earned herself a hearty round of applause and a bit of loose change...
WELLINGTON WE LOVED YOU!
The girls didn't want to leave.
I think *somebody* in our family now thinks WELLINGTON is cooler than Auckland.
(Auckland, get some night markets, already!)
Ah well, hometime.
And just as we left it started raining...