Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Revival in the city

Everyone probably knows by now that I'm a city girl through and through. And yet, I still seem to be surprised by it myself occasionally. Since leaving Christchurch I've been in "cities" that have fewer than 10,000 people. Today, walking around Wellington, I felt revived and rejuvenated. (Guys, it's a city of less than 400,000. It doesn't take much for me, really, I just like when it's a proper city.) I had an extra spring in my step that had been missing the last few days. I was taking pictures for the first time since my glacier walk. While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and be cheesy about it, too: I was happy to be alive and walking around (yet another) brand new, never-before-seen-by-me city.

One of the reasons why I think I like it so much is because it reminds me a lot of Seattle, on a smaller scale of course. They have a cafe culture like you wouldn't believe - more coffee shops per capita than NYC which, I think, puts it at the top of the list. Like Seattle, Wellington is a city built on a hill. Here, take a look for yourself:

And, oh, I don't know, I guess those are the only two reasons why it reminds me of Seattle. Maybe because I was in such a good mood that I couldn't help but think of other places that make me happy and Seattle is a place that I like so much I'd move to in a heartbeat?

Anyway, I took a bus into town from the Marsh's house. I checked out the parliamentary buildings for awhile and then I met up with Lefki Marsh for coffee and a cheese scone because she works in the area. More wandering followed, into and out of shops, just kind of going where things looked interesting. (And, by the way, not getting lost at all even without the help of a map! I've come so far!) I had lunch at a kebab shop run by an Iraqi guy who was very intrigued by the idea of traveling by myself for so long ("why didn't you ask a friend to come with you?") and who was also a bit surprised when I thanked him in Arabic as I left. :-)

I wrapped up my wandering with stops in two museums. The first was a tattoo museum that I'd been very keen to visit because I wanted to find out more about moko, Maori tribal tattoos that are commonly inked on the face. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown because they've recently moved locations and are still in the process of putting everything back in place. It was kind of a hassle looking through everything, so I didn't end up spending much time there at all (but at least it was free!). I didn't arrive at the second museum, Te Papa (all about NZ history and culture), til about 4:30pm. I knew I wouldn't have enough time to look around before they closed, but I wanted to check out the museum shop and also get an idea of a game plan for my visit there tomorrow. Yes, a game plan is actually needed. There are six or seven levels and I've heard that a whole day can be spent on one level alone. I only have one day, so I have to be choosy about the exhibits I go to.

Afterwards I made my way back to my adopted-for-the-next-few-days home and well, hung out with the family. We had dinner, cleaned up the dinner mess, chatted, and watched television. A good, full, happy day and now I must sleep.


  1. ...moko, Maori tribal tattoos that are commonly inked on the face.

    NOT a good idea.

    Just sayin...

    Love ya,

  2. Cheese scone? Weird. Fruit or chocolate chips I get, but cheese? From your one pic, the city does look beautiful. I'm glad to hear you are not as directionally challenged as you used to be. Love ya!

  3. Dad - Really? No, I mean it. Really? Do you really think I'd get a tattoo on my face?! I'm interested in moko from a cultural perspective, not because I want one of my own, silly.

    ToadMama - You've never heard of savory scones before? They're more like biscuits than cookies and they're delish! I uploaded a few other Wellington city pics, btw.

    Love you both!

  4. Just sayin...

    NOT a good idea.

    It seems that I forgot to say that prior to your bird poo emulation - I'm just covering my bases here.


  5. The bungee jump was an 8 second free fall with a couple of minutes of gearing up and down on both sides.

    Tattoos last, well, quite a bit longer than that. Don't worry! I'm not getting my face tattooed!