Friday, January 16, 2009

Wheels: The Great Outdoors: Boats

Auckland is known as the city of sails. Some claim that there are more boats per population here than any where else. There are a lot of motor boats. You drive along Tamaki Drive, and you will see many Marinas. Some people moor their boats in the marinas, others tow them home.

One friend jokes that people have money to buy the boat, but can't afford to run the boat.

The wheels here are the wheels that tow the boat.

This is our personal experience, the closest we got to a boat.

It was 1980, we were living in Mt Eden, and we drove an old Ford Escort. We lived in the first upstairs of a row of terrace flats. That Friday evening, we came home and parked the car by the road side. It was a quiet road as we were almost at the end of a cul-de-sac. On saturday morning, the water engineer said the car was missing. I thought he was joking with me and parked the car elsewhere.

According to the police, while we were sleeping, a gang of street kids had hot wired the Ford Escort and driven it across the Auckland harbour bridge. They were more ambitious than just taking our car for a joy ride. They were going to take a boat for a joy ride. I guess that was why they took our car, because we had a tow bar.

They found a big boat and went ahead connecting the boat to our car. Unfortunately they mis-calculated our power of our little car. They made a big racket, and the boat won't move. The noise woke the boat owners and the neighbours. By then, they had burned the motor of our car. So they quickly took of.

The police found in the car, an envelope sent to me by Sister Elizabeth to my old address. In the morning, they went to the address, but my ex flatmates didn't have our address and we didn't have a telephone. So they waited for us to report our missing car. 

The car had to be towed to a garage to be fixed. Luckily, we were insured. The street kids got some small change. What was upsetting was they had taken away the Bible that was used during our wedding. This was an intangible loss. I spoke to Claire Hart, the wife of Roland, the pastor who married me. She consoled me that may be one of these kids will come to know the Lord after reading it.

I fictionalised this story in my book: Mail Order Bride. When I tell this to friends, they laugh and think I made it up.

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