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Every since getting here, we’d both had a sense of… not disappointment, but let’s just say thwarted expectations. It’s a long haul to New Zealand, and I always expect that the farther off your destination is, the more exotic it’s going to be. But the country wasn’t as different as I expected. It’s a former British colony; I live in a former British colony. And while it has its own brands and chains, it’s very English in influence. Of all the stops we’d had at this point, Wellington was the least exotic. It has a downtown like any major city, with walls pasted over with concert posters and buskers on the street—and one in every fifty people you see is a crazy. So it feels like home.

It’s a walkable port, so we strolled on down to Te Papa Tongarewa - the Museum of New Zealand. It’s free (bonus already) and a beautifully put together building. The main floor is all about geology and biology. Animals extinct and still in existence, the shifting of the continents over time, fault lines and how they’ve busted up New Zealand more than once. There was actually an earthquake simulator—which was slightly less cool then it sounds. You cram yourself into a rickety shack with a dozen other folks, the lights go out, the shack does a shimmy, then you leave. (Okay, slightly cooler than that, but still...) From there we went over to Bush City, which is an outdoor part of the museum near the harbour, filled with native plants, a ‘cave,’ and a simulated dig for moa bones. Then we jumped up to the top floor, dedicated to Maori history and culture. The highlight here is an enormous marae (meeting house). We’d seen a few smaller versions so far, but nothing quite like this. Words won’t quite do it justice; you’ll have to wait until I’m back and can post some photos. (Done and done.)

Museumed-out at this point, we did a small amount of shopping and then grabbed lunch at (I think) Molly Malone’s, an Irish pub. (Had a New Zealand-style pub presented itself, we would have eaten there, but it didn’t, so get off my back.) We tried Tui, a local beer, which was quite nice. Of local beers tried, I’d rank them like this: Red Lion, Speight’s, Tui, Monteith’s, Steinlager (had this back home), and Kiwihead (so, so terrible). I think Sarah would agree except for placing Speight’s in first place.

I want to say we spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, but I don’t really remember purchasing anything. Really it was just walking, walking, oh so much walking, and then back to the ship. Before I finish though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the dirty, barefoot hippie phenomenon. Well… I didn’t see enough instances for it to truly be considered a phenomenon, but I have to date seen at least nine instances of Kiwis walking around (in various downtown cores) in just their bare feet. So wrong. Such a bad idea. I’m trying very hard to get a photo, but I usually only notice at the last minute, and if I don’t pull it off in a casual way people are going to think that I’m some kind of pervy foot fetishist.


Kelly said…
Don't hide. There's nothing wrong with being some kind of pervy foot fetishist.

It's too bad we have these urges to go so far from home to find out that... it's not really all that different than home. 'Cept they talk kinda funny, like.

How's about you do some pervy ship spyings? That could be fun, and different from home!
Dave said…
I have a gallery of strangers' feet that I've been collecting over the years.

I'll show it to you later...

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