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October 13, 2006

Auckland, New Zealand
Cause I Just Can't Keep My Dumb Mouth Shut

I haven’t gone anywhere thrilling since I got back from the trip in June, so I feel obligated to mention when I do. I’m on my way to Brisbane for a wedding and I took a couple days to see Auckland along the way.

I’ve visited New Zealand twice before and had countless stopovers in Auckland’s airport, but I’ve never actually poked around the city. This is me getting around to that, albeit briefly and with half an ass.

Auckland is quaint and cheery as cities go. I packed for northern Australia weather, so it’s a bit colder and windier than I was prepared for. There are volcanoes everywhere – about 40 in the immediate vicinity. Seems a bit like building a city in a minefield, geologically speaking, but I guess they weren’t planning too far ahead when they chose the site.

Despite its quaintity…umm…quainthood, Auckland does boast the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere: the Sky Tower.

Img_4152 Img_4162

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Of course, this being New Zealand, you can jump off the side.


No, really. Check out the little speck in the thumbnail below. That's a guy.


I didn’t bother with it this time, but I noticed it’s possible to affix a camera to the plummeting mechanism. If I ever make another dancing video, I figure that’d be a pretty interesting clip.

At ground level, the Sky Tower facilities include a large casino where I managed to idly blow $200 on blackjack. That’s the same as what it costs to jump off the tower – which would’ve been an equally sensible thing to do.

So I get a lot of emails requesting that I dance in the countries that weren’t included in my videos. They come in from all over the place. One day I’ll get a bunch from South Korea, then the next day it’s Sweden, then a sudden burst from France a week later.

I’ve made subfolders in my inbox for the countries I hear a lot from. I’m collecting them in case I ever do get around to those places. Might be fun to invite everyone to come dance with me.

Here are the tallies of requests I've gotten from some of the more vocal nationalities:

Ireland – 24
Portugal – 28
South Korea – 37
Spain – 50
Canada – 75

And in the lead, deadlocked for first place as of today:

Brazil – 82
Israel – 82

The Israeli emails have started pouring in very recently. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we?

"you alredy been in the midel east, and you don't came to see Jerusalem ???????? (ISRAEL) hope you correct this soon."

Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

"I couldn't help not noticing that you flew right over Israel (Egypt-Jordan). Is there a special reason?"

Yes. It is between Egypt and Jordan. Similarly, Switzerland is between Germany and France. I skipped them too.

"you have been in the middle east but never came to israel."

Ah. Thanks for clearing that up.

"When are you coming to Israel? it wasn't one of your destinations..."

Again, thank you for pointing that out.

"I'm surprised you were in Egypt and in Jordan, but didn't stop by in Israel, the country holy to the three monotheistic religions, and the one democracy in the middle east."

Are you sure you’re not confusing Israel with Iceland? Sounds to me like you’re describing Iceland. I get them mixed up a lot too.

"How come you were in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt and you never went to Israel."

I’m noticing a theme here.

"if you made it to Jordan and Egypt, why didn't you visit us in Israel to do your happy dance? You visit the oppressive Muslim countries, but not the one free democracy in the Middle East? Is it a political statement?"

Absolutely. I can’t stand democracies. They make me want to barf. Bring on the oppressive Islamic religious states!

I wish
Could be
Cal-i-phate reg-eeeeems

"U were in Jordan and didn't take fifteen minutes to step across the border to Israel - shame on you!  Your list will forever remain incomplete until you finally dance on the Holy Land."

Boy! What a warm invitation.

This brings up a key point: where does one dance in the Holy Land? Should I do my jig in front of the Temple Mount? Perhaps I could visit Golgotha, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and site of Christ’s crucifixion. How about I go to the Dome of the Rock and flail my limbs around? Cause I don’t get enough death threats from Guam…

I’m careful about dancing in religious sites for a number of reasons. A main one, of course, is that I don’t want to go out of my way to offend people. I also, personally, don’t happen to put much stock in organized religion. And pardon me for saying so – I’ll certainly understand if you disagree – but I’ve found that religion has a tendency to divide people. There’s enough of that around already.

To avoid this whole problem, some folks have suggested I dance in front of the Dead Sea. Ya wanna know why I haven’t danced in front of any large bodies of water? Cause they’re boring to look at.

Jordan has Petra and Egypt has a never-ending supply of enormous ancient things carved out of rock, but I couldn’t find any ideal dancing spots in Israel when I was planning my trip. That was a big factor.

"you missed the most beautiful place on earth! the most talked about country in the news and the most important place for all three major religions on the planet."

“Talked about.” What a wonderful euphemism. Also, on the major religions, you forgot about Buddhism and Hinduism. And if "major"-ness is measured by number of practitioners, then Judaism isn't quite as major as Scientology and it's only slightly major-er than Satan worship.

"I'm a bit surprised and disappointed that with several stops in the Middle East, you didn't come to Israel.  Any special reason for that?... Israel is a magnificent place, and not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be.  Though to be honest, it was a *little* scary a couple of months ago when Hezbullah was firing ketyusha rockets at us every day."


"How come you didn't dance in Israel?? I invite you personally (Don't belive in what you see in the news, it's nice and quiet here)"

I hear ya, Shlomit. I’ve found that many of the places I’ve visited aren’t nearly as dangerous as the public is led to believe. Nevertheless, I think it’s possible you and I might have slightly different definitions of the word “quiet.”

"you didnt come to dance in Israel. a bit offending."

I’m pleased you were able to read between the lines and see my deliberate insult for what it was. It is expressly implied that every place I didn't dance in must be a worthless dump.

"I must say I was quite puzzled by the fact you have chosen not to include Israel in your wide journey. Is that for any particular reason?"

I don’t know, but I get the feeling you’re implying something.

"It seems you traveled almost everywhere except one place!? Don't you want to visit the Holy-land, Jerusalem??
I hope its all because of technical issues or you just _______ (please finish the sentence)."

Hate Jews? Is that what you’re looking for?

Only when driving on the Pacific Coast Highway with an empty bottle of Tequila in my lap.

Look, folks, there was no conscious snubbing of Israel. It’s one of around 191 nations on this planet (depending on your definition). It took a lot of effort to get to the ones I did manage to hit. I didn’t dance my way past the immigration counters.

As it happens, and as I suspect a lot of you know, it can be difficult to travel around in the Muslim world with an Israeli stamp in my passport. With this in mind, I had to choose between leaving out Israel and leaving out a number of other places.

I would very much like to visit Israel someday. And if I make another video, I’d very much like to include it. I appreciate your invitations, but please understand that condescending reprimands don’t raise my interest level.

In the words of poet-philosopher-gay sex offender, George Michael, "I don't belong to you and you don't belong to me."

That said, I should point out that the vast majority of emails coming to me from Israel have been friendly, polite, and genuinely welcoming. I didn't include any of those in this entry because, well, where's the fun in that?

The world doesn't need to see my friendly and polite emails.

I appreciate all the invitations. I make sure to read what everyone has to say, and every once in a while -- based on my capricious whims -- I take the time to reply.

But I want to say this, and I know I have to say it carefully: if you watch the video and the only thing that occurs to you is that I left out wherever you live, do you think maybe you might have missed the point a little bit? When you write to tell me that your own country is the most beautiful place on earth, do you think you might have jumped the gun in that assessment? Cause I've seen a lot of beauty in a lot of different places, and it sounds a little silly to me. I get tired of myopia presented as native pride.

So in summary, here's a DO:

"Hey, if you ever come to my country, let me know. It would be fun to come and dance with you."

Here's a DON'T:

"Hey, you forgot about my country. It's the most beautiful place in the world. If you don't come dance here, you're an idiot."

And here's a holy-crap-this-is-the-coolest-thing-ever!:


Well, I guess I'm the first one to comment on this one.

I didn't actually reply to the e-mail you sent back to me, but I did appreciate it, thanks.

The guy wanted you to comment on his "humping" YouTube entry and you did. :)

I'm glad you clarified your sarcasm at the end. Sad as it is to people like me who revel in your sarcasm, and find added fun in having people miss it entirely,I think it was wise to clarify.

I would LOVE to Bungee off that tower. What a rush!

It's kind of sad to me that some people can be such losers about you not dancing there. Jeeze!

Just enjoy the damn video!

Anyway, I love the videos. They are perfect just how they are. Given any more thought about putting this travel blog on a DVD? I'm buying....

All the best,


Hey Matt.

These are quite good pictures from New Zealand you took there. Didn't you jump off the tower because you lost the 200$ in blackjack? That would have been great photos don't you think ;o)
Anyway. I hope someday you will come to Germany (please have a look at Hamburg and tell us before!!!).

With nice greetings from there,

Tonio :o)


Love the concept, the pics, the dancing and all the places you've been. When can we expect another dancing journey?


Hey Matt!

A friend just showed me your dancing video, and it is AWESOME!
I can understand you... traveling is one of the best things we can ever do! Im definatly goin in a rond-world trip as soon as i graduate.... Here in Brazil it is MORE than necessary... I hope you come to this incredible country and show us your dance, and learn our samba!
Take care!

"Seems a bit like building a city in a minefield, geologically speaking, but I guess they weren’t planning too far ahead when they chose the site."

Yeah NZ's a bit like that. Our Parliment building is straddling a plate boundry. Tho it's hard to find a "safe" piece of geography here.

Just wanted to say, good on ya! I've been reading your blog for a while now and was amazed to log in today and see you were in my home town (Auckland)this week.

Happy travels!

Hey Matt, if you ever come to Israel, send me an email and I'll help you look for a cool place to dance to. Other than that - take your time about it, the "holy-land" has got some shit to fix.

Matt, it's a great joy to see that you liked our video tribute. It was done by 97 admirers who will go nuts when seeing your comment on my blog and their video on yours. Thank you so much for inspiring people. Please, please, tell us before coming to dance to Spain, if you include it on your next trip. We will give you the warmest of welcomings and you will have hundreds of dancers behind you.

perhaps a conga dance?

Kenneth, excuse my english, I meant dancing in the background behind Matt ;), but a 500 yards long conga would be nice too.

Hi Matt,
Great blog.
Just one commnet on what you've wrote, as Israel is aware of the issue its stamp in the passport might cause, it allows for people not to get it stamped but rather have the stamp on a seperate piece of paper.
So I hope this will not be the reason for not visiting Israel, which would be a fun place for you.

Painting with a broad brush here...

I find it sad that apparently a significant percentage of Israelis and/or Jews tend to have the opinion that if you do not DEMONSTRATE affinity or agreement with all things Israeli or Jewish you are a racist antisemite. It's to the point that you can't debate Israeli or Jewish views or Middle East policy without wingnuts like the ones above unjustly labeling you.

Does the fact that I am not necessarily PRO-semite on all issues make all of who I am ANTI-semite? Apparently many jews would say yes.

The term anti-semite is especially interesting when you consider the origin of the word semite. To be semite literally means to be descendant from Noah's son Shem. Many of the muslims in Arab countries are also semites.

If you agree with either side of the Middle east issue you are concurrently pro and anti semitic.


Anyway, glad to see you bopping around still. I knew videos like the one above would eventually start popping up. You could make a portion of your site a repository for all these videos. You could continue to get a ton of traffic from people virally pushing their friends to your site to see buddies in a Matt Harding dancing video. Tag each video with the names of those who appear for easy searching on the site.

Woah man this is incredible, you say you are heading into Brisbane again? If you get time fire me an email (leadfootracer@gmail.com), I have to buy you a beer and shake your hand :P

Keep up the great dancing,

Hi Matt,

I've been enjoying your site since you were mentioned on Ellen last year...and the videos have always brought a smile to my face.

Seeing the video tribute from the Spanish guy Remo almost brought tears to my eyes. You've started a great thing... I'm already in the working world, but I'm going to try and get out to see more of the real world...

Thank you.

And if you're ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, let me know...you'll have a place to stay and a tour guide...

Take Care,

Hi Matt!

You are very special!! Please, visit Spain!!
Thank you so much!!

Mafalda - Vigo, Spain

Too bad I can't read spanish or whatever language that video was in, but it was so awesome!! It's so crazy how you have impacted people by simply doing what you love to do. I know everyone says this but everytime I watch your video, it makes me feel good inside. Too bad your dance with the bats in Austin didn't make the cut, even worse, I missed you dancing under the bridge.

I find it kind of humorous that people find it obligatory for you to visit their country, as if you are some sort of "country critic." Reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer becomes a food critic and then....you know.

Happy travelling!

I love your videos Matt.They make me laugh.Keep up the good work my friend!

nice shoes...

phi-li-ppines! phi-li-ppines! phi-li-ppines!

That video is outstanding. I think my favorite part was the "hemisphere jump".

Matt, I am one of the CPI dancers. Thank you for doing me to look like a fool in front of my girlfriend while se was recording my dance. Now, she thinks I am a crazy freak. CPI's (Remo's) idea was an adventure and here we are. We've got the advantage of the mass. All together can win you.


Greetings from Glasgow (Scotland), Matt--

Would be happy to show you around if you make your way to this part of the UK.


The Tower bungy is not a true bungy, there are guide wires and it's a controlled descent. Otherwise you'd slap in to the tower. Ouch! Do the Nevis Bungy near Queenstown. 145m and quite a rush!

Sad to see all theses people trying to get their country some internet street cred by having a dude dance near a famous monument. It's just a dancing idiot guys not a UN ambassador!
Isreali's have a reputation of being terrible to travel with. I've experienced both the rude and the polite. Some say it's because they are just our of the army and are all wound up. Seems some of them are like that at home too...

Keep dancing, safe travels.

Love the Sky Tower piccies, what is it about those floors that compels people to photograph their feet? I did the same thing, though I must admit it took me about 10 minutes to work up the courage to step on the plexiglas, must be some sort of atavistic self-preservation instinct.

Here are said feet:

And a bungee jumper left hanging outside the windows:

Hi Matt,
I like the dancing videos - so inspiring , it makes me wanna quit my routine life at once,and start a worldwide travel. Although i know it's just a daydream for me.Cause i don't have the Time and Money. U Take Care ! Greeting from Shanghai,China

This video rocks :) The best part is the "hemisphere jump" indeed :)

As you see, you have a lot of admirers in Spain. If you come here make sure you visit Madrid (even if people from other cities complain :) and drop me a mail to be there :)

Really, if you come to Spain make sure you have a lot of free days. There are plenty of cool -and completly different- places to visit and dance on. On the other hand you have fans all over the country :D

Best regards,
Juan @ Madrid, Spain

I liked the sense of humour you have shown in your responses to these message. This little detail speaks loud about you -taking something that could be even offensive with humour and not giving it too much importance.

It´s just my opinionthat people in Israel is under a huge pressure - and the history of this country led them to interpret almost everything from a political point of view. Almost everything is taking as a sign of support - o just the contrary. With me or without me. That´s the sad result of their difficult circumstances...


Hey Matt!

Man, I really admire the guts it took to travel the world. I can't even fathom what it would take to pull something like that off! How exactly do you plan something like that, what are things to consider and how much should you have in the bank to pull it off? I would love to travel before I go into med school. I'll make a video like yours, in your honor.

The tribute video is the best, and it, your original video(s) and the feeling that you've spread throughout the world are making me cry! Thank you to you and thank you to Remo and all his friends.

So, uh, Hey, if you ever come to Millburn, NJ, let me know. It would be fun to come and dance with you! (Cuz Isreal? It has nothing on Millburn. Heh.)

Matt, I've got to tell you that you are one of the most inspirational people alive! I take every chance to spread the word, especially to college students, to check out your web page and take your look on life to heart - our country SHOULD make world travel and life experience a VERY important of life - this school, work, and die attitude is ridiculous! I encourage my children to travel and "live life to the fullest". There is no job security in this country - loyalty does not mean you will always have a paycheck - but loyalty to one's self and one's dreams will always bring success! Thank you for the breath of fresh air you bring to this world! You truly LIVE LIFE! ~Sheila

Matt, I've got to tell you that you are one of the most inspirational people alive! (the video homage to you proves that) I take every chance to spread the word, especially to college students, to check out your web page and take your look on life to heart - our country SHOULD make world travel and life experience a VERY important of life - this school, work, and die attitude is ridiculous! I encourage my children to travel and "live life to the fullest". There is no job security in this country - loyalty does not mean you will always have a paycheck - but loyalty to one's self and one's dreams will always bring success! Thank you for the breath of fresh air you bring to this world! You truly LIVE LIFE! ~Sheila

bungee jumping off that tower would be so much fun.

erm yeah and love the dancing always.

hey but what you should do is just dance in a starbucks, then put that its every city in america/canada, then you wont have to worry about getting angry emails from americans or canadians.

Love Cara


Loved the compilation dancing video! When I first saw your dancing video several months ago, I was inspired by the locations that you have visited. After seeing the compilation of different people dancing in different parts of the world, I realized this is not about the places. This is about the people: exploring, enjoying, finding that child inside and truly living their lives if even for a brief moment.

Good on you, Matt!
Warm regards - Susanna

I'm not sure if my commit is great help now, but you never know.. anyway, if you want to visit Israel and to take a picture in some beautiful place try The Bahaim Gardens in Haifa, it's a very beautiful place of some very loving cult ("we love all the religions" kind of thing)....

and if you'll decide to pass on Israel on your next trip, well... Egypt is a cool place too... :-)

Futurama theme song? It's cute....but I think no matter what music it is- people dancing around the world always brings a smile to my face.

Hey mate. This concerns the possibility of your dancing in Israel and, if and when that happens, to kindly ask you not to legitimate Israel military occupation of Palestinian territory, at least the latest invasion of 1967. You were mentionning the Dome of the Rock, well, this is NOT Israel. It's been taken by force. Please don't dance in East Jerusalem that Israel occupies since 1967. You were mentioning the Dead Sea, well, the largest portion of its shore is OCCUPIED MILITARY by Israel. Same thing for the banks of the Jordan river. It's occupied by Israel which, by doing so, cut the West Bank from Jordan and enclave it within Israel, exactly like apartheid South Africa was doing with Banthoustans. How about coming to dance in Palestine ? Gaza is obviously off limits but I hereby invite you in Ramallah. Also don't worry about the israeli stamp on your passport, you can refuse it on entry and have it stamped on the immigration sheet

When in Spain? better, in the north of Spain!?

We're waiting for you in Galicia!.


I have to thank you for a good laugh reading your diary and other stuff.

I do have to say as well that i felt very proud of beeing Spanish when i whatched that video made by loads of spanish travelling and dancing... really funny!

Have a great time travelling!

by the way, my world trip starts on thursday going to Brasil... we have in mind at least 4 countries and then we will see...


"Are you sure you’re not confusing Israel with Iceland? Sounds to me like you’re describing Iceland. I get them mixed up a lot too."

Well... how 'bout coming to Iceland to dance, then?

You are amazing. I saw the dancing video a while back and I have finally gotten around to reading your journals (all day actually while I have been refinishing a wood floor). If you are ever in Boston and want to learn some new dance moves I teach ballroom dancing.

Hey matt

Iam a 12 year old kid.You may think i am a stupid kid and all but i really like how you dance.You have really inspired me.I really cant talk to u right now.But i dont want you to think i am a stupid kid.I am a very seriuos kid.Hey matt can u add me to your msn plz.I wont be a spammer.I will just talk to you when i can.I have a very good family though i have no father anymore...He died this year.plz add me.

and anytime you come over here to Panama its really pretty here but if you dont want to come its ok i understand you have to go to other places.but if you do come here to panama you may tell through msn and we will meet anyplace you will like and i can give you a tour.It would be very fun if you come here anytime.I wont blame you if you dont come. I am not those kind of annoying kids that are always pissing you off.Here we talk spanish but i also talk english.Here is hot and very cozy country i wish anytime you will come and we could dance together. Thank you if u are reading this.

Hello Kiddo and the guy with the stupid comment about israel and all the others that talking shit about israel.

we realy don't give a fuck if you'll dance here or not...
as some stupid guy here said, you may probably die while terror attack, or maybe the IDF will shoot you.

give us a break and don't come dance here
we really don't need you kiddo.

have fun.

lol good one.

Hey Matt,

I didn't watch your video, but I surmised that you didn't visit us in Texas. Why not? Are you some sort of liberal commie?

Also, I don't like the foreign accents in the comment section. They give me a headache.

Well, I've said my peace.

Dance at Little Israel. It's a theme park in Latrun with scale models of all the major monuments in the country.

Nice to see some shots of one of my old stomping grounds - I'm a Kiwi but living in Brooklyn, New York for the last 5 years, and missing home badly, but too broke to get back.

Should I say something about Israel too? Meh.

Uhm, yeah, Israel might be between Egypt and Jordan, but Switzerland is south of Germany and east of France. If anything then between France and Germany are the BeNeLux-states. Maybe you should take a look on the map before you embarrass yourself on your webpage once again (but that's ok, cause I kinda like your page). That must be typical to Americans, 'cause when I lived in Seattle I got asked a hundred times if I'm from Sweden because I'm Swiss.

I'm very late on this blog!

I apologise!

But the invitation is open, if you ever have the inclination to go to Niagara Falls (the Canadian side of course, our side is better and less obstructed by bolders and the like) absolutely drop me a line and I can show you the nicest parts of Niagara Falls if the actual *Falls* seem too obvious.

Personally, I live in Canada, I find it rather boring, I'd much rather see other countries than my own in your video.


If you come to Sevilla (Spain) make sure we get to know, and we can all dance with you!

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