Drift Shifting into a Coca-Cola Christmas

The start lineEarlier this week Andrew and I saw a sign by the local park for a Red Bull Drift Shifting competition. A car drifting around a sensorNever heard of it, right? Basically, this New Zealand driver had an idea to set up a race car pin ball course in city streets and got Auckland to agree and Red Bull to sponsor it. The course was only 200m or an eighth of a mile long. There were sensors set up around the course. From sensors on the course wall and buoys to a sensor hanging over the course to sensors underneath a semi truck on the course. The drivers had to navigate the course in under a minute collecting as many points as possible by getting close to the proximity switches. The closer you got, the more points you got and there were bonuses for certain sequences or repetitions of sensors. Pretty neat, huh?

Picking up some speed on the courseHuge crowds lined the streetsWhen the competition started we were still at home and we heard the squealing of tires and could see the cars at the far end of the course from our balcony. Not realizing how cool this was, we thought the cars were just turning around at the end of the course and it was a short one at that! But we went to the grocery store not a block away from the competition and then walked past the course on our way home. We caught the the semi-final round and saw Mike Whedditt who’s idea it was for the course, as well as, as I found out later, the ultimate drift shifter winner, USA’s own Matt Powers attempts on the course. Fun activity and a great way to kick off the day.

Later in the afternoon Andrew and I met up with some of our friends to hit up the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. It is a variety show put on at the Auckland Domain (big park by the Museum) with Christmas music and a bunch of semi-famous New Zealand artists. Needless to say, we didn’t know any of them. We were told that the boy band, Titanium was pretty big nationally, and saw the young tween girls running up to the stage when they performed.The gang

It was an outdoor event, BYOB and they had lots of vendors and such around the park. Wine to goEarlier in the day at the grocery store Andrew and I picked up some wine to go. The oddest little plastic cups of wine ever! But they were fun, resealable and unbreakable! (Yes, we tried. We did bend them though.) Christmas Tree to the left, stage to the rightThe wine was sub-par, but hey, we were interested in the novelty, not the taste. I met some local high schoolers smoking pot openly behind our crew, and learned a little bit more about the New Zealand culture. At first the kid lied to me and told me he was 18 as they were all drinking (legal drinking age is 18 in New Zealand) but once he realized I had no desire to bust him and his friends, I was just interested in what life was like for a New Zealand high schooler, we got along. Andrew and I learned that the US was bad. And by bad they meant cool. And I learned that high schoolers act pretty much the same everywhere. Two high school girls were sitting next to us for a while too, and there were plenty of groups of kids, some behaving, others acting like toddlers all over the park.

To wrap up the evening, we saw a bit of the fire works show, picked up some churros on Queen Street and then called it a night. While the whole day may have been one big sponsorship, it was still fun.