Monday, May 05, 2008

A visit from the parking fairies

My weekend has been interesting. So interesting I can hardly bring myself write to write about it.

The fun and games began on Saturday. I dropped friends, up from Dunedin for the Foofighters concert, to their hotel in the city and parked at the astronomically overpriced carpark next to the building. Next thing you know, some random French guy walks up to me and gives me his parking receipt - free parking till midnight. Sweet. We dropped luggage, got everyone settled and then I went to a family barbecue. So far so good.

Later on that night I came back to the hotel, picked everyone up again and headed to Skycity. The idea was that I would park there and we would all go to dinner in the Observatory up the tower.

What happened was this: I spent 20 minutes trying to find a non-existent spot in the Skycity carpark, dropped everyone off because they were, at this stage, late for their dinner reservations, and headed for the exit - sweating and with a cronking headache. I was pleased that the parking attendant didn't even try to make me pay for the priviledge of spending a fruitless half-hour wasting gas. His unhappy frown indicated that the stream of cars I could see leaving without being able to find a spot is probably a common occurrence.

I circled the adjacent blocks, impeded by pedestrians and other cars (giant SUVs primarily) and finally found a narrow parallel park on the right hand side of a one way. I was just shoe-horning myself in when a valet from the Heritage Hotel came out and volunteered to help. I was doubtful that the car would fit - it's a long-bodied liftback - but I decided to trust him. Five minutes later I was leaving my number having cracked the radiator grill on a GTO, and kicking myself.

And it just got worse. I unhappily relocated to the most expensive parking building known to man, and managed to stagger up to the Observatory - but only after driving into a pillar and damaging my own car. By the time I got to my cold entree I wanted to shoot someone. I managed to make some sort of conversation during the rest of the meal but it wasn't my best effort.

And yet - the next day I parked up at the overpriced park next to the hotel again, so I could head in and play some cards and drink some beers. And no sooner had I stepped outside the car than a woman walked up to me and gave me a parking receipt - free parking till midnight.

The GTO driver hasn't called. Yet.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great description of a night out. Did you know that the Federal St car park is operated by SkyCity also. It is never full, and is just across the road from the Sky Tower. Also, if you get your ticket validated when you pay for your meal, you will get huge discounts on parking there, so it is not the most expensive car park in town.

Lyn said...

If ONLY I had known, when I parked in the Federal St Carpark, what you've just told me. Gutted.

l_d said...

Having worked in a car park for 2 years I can almost guarantee that there were parks available, but you just lucked out. Rule of thumb is never leave thinking there are no parks. Just do the laps a few times and you'll find one. I used to get angry people asking why we had let them in when there were no parks. I had to tell them that there were more parks available than there were cars in the car park, but just timing can make it appear otherwise.

Other piece of advice is if traveling in next time take a Link to the hotel, and then catch the Link again from the hotel to sky city, or else the free bus and the walk up the hill. There's great public transport Lyn and if you use it you'll find your traffic woes melt away.

Lyn said...

l_d - under normal circs I'd agree but this was insane. I've never seen anything like it. I mean I drove the whole park up and down every level twice and so did a number of other vehicles and quite a few of us were leaving at the same time. 25 minutes is too long. If you can't find a park in that time you may as well not bother. Admittedly I could have used the Link and got my out of town guests to walk or do likewise - but I wanted to be a good host and make things easier for them and negotiating public transport isn't the best in a new town. My strategy didn't work of course, but my heart was in the right place.