Auckland, New Zealand, 23 January 2009

My family and I were on the penultimate day of a camper van holiday. Throughout the trips we have had to NZ, we had always noticed how, well, just plain nice, Kiwis were. What happened next was therefore a bit of a shock. Approaching our overnight stop in Auckland, the traffic became gridlocked. And I mean gridlocked – it took us 2 hours to cover the last couple of kilometers. The reason relates to Aucklanders’ absolute love of and dependence on the freeways that bisect their beautiful city. You can see what I mean here – six lanes, zero cars:

All of the six lanes normally on the freeway had been diverted to the single lane road parallel to it, where we were driving our huge rented campervan, hence the massive, paralyzing traffic jam. I found out later that the cause was the police pursuit of a stolen car after it had been used in an earlier robbery. The suspect got the stolen Skyline onto the freeway, creating traffic havoc with the chase, and eventually  jumped out of his car, attempting to bolt after much gunfire during a shootout with the constabulary. Unfortunately a passer by was killed during the exchange. The freeway was closed for forensic examination.

The stolen car complete with bullet holes in the rear window – at the start of the blog – was eventually loaded onto a tow truck which we came very close to, and I had perhaps eight or ten seconds to grab this shot before the truck was driven off – see the bullet hole in the back window.

The grab shots were taken with a Nikon P5100 P&S – a compact camera that I had no end of trouble with. The Nikon-specific USB port on the camera failed, so it went back under warranty. The optical viewfinder stopped zooming, so it want back again. And then a third trip back saw it having the scratches that Nikon’s service people had put on the LCD screen. Despite a fashionably massive 14 megapixel resolution, it was slow, unresponsive and often failed to find a focus point, ruining many shots. The only good thing about it was that it slipped easily into a pocket as it was tiny:

Oh, and it was made of metal, and black. Very sexy, but still rubbish. This camera began my real hatred of P&S cameras as I have ranted about previously.


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