Wellington, New Zealand (January 29th – February 1st, 2018)

The ferry arrived in Wellington at about 6pm. I had to grab my big pack from the luggage transfer and then walked along the waterfront until I got to the Wellington YHA hostel. Checked in and went to my room to drop my packs. It felt like there was no HVAC system in the hostel at all. The room was roasting. The one window there was didn’t open very wide. There was a small fan in the room that the others had propped the door open with in order to get some air circulation. But that did very little.

Anyway, I was super hungry so I brought some of my groceries to the kitchen to cook dinner. Hostels ask you to label your food that you put in the fridge so that people know it’s yours and know if you forgot it. This was on the door of the fridge to demonstrate the labeling system. πŸ˜€

Hahahahaha πŸ˜€

January 30th

The next morning, I literally had no plan for the day except to walk the city. I didn’t have a route planned, or a real destination in mind… I was just going to walk and see where I ended up. I started off spending a few hours at the Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand). It’s a huge museum with different exhibits of New Zealand’s history. I took a few pictures and a video of some things I found the most interesting or impactful.

The size of a blue whale’s heart.Β  Notice the guy standing next to it.

Waitangi Treaty in the Maori language.

Waitangi Treaty in English.

I was impressed by this exhibit on refugees and immigration.

This was an interesting video-display showing pictures of many, many people who then formed a picture of one person… and on and on.

These few photos (this one and below) show just a small portion of the pictures that were actually part of the exhibit.Β Β 

Just a video scan of one side of this exhibit.

I left the Museum and decided to try to find the bottom (downtown) entrance to the Cable Car. So I started walking and found a street that was lined with awesome outdoor gear stores; a dangerous street for me to be on! Hahaha, I love outdoor gear shops – – I feel like a kid in a candy store that sells very expensive candy. πŸ˜€ I walked through with my budget in tact; I didn’t find anything that I couldn’t leave without thankfully.

I kept walking and walking, following my map of the city I got from the iSite office. So, either I’m blind, or the entrance to the cable car is not signed or indicated well at all! I couldn’t find it. So I just kept walking down that street and came to the House of Parliament for New Zealand. There was a rally going on; a small band was playing and singing religious songs. When the band was done playing, they thanked everyone for coming to the “Pray For New Zealand” gathering. Interesting.

After leaving the House of Parliament area, I walked down towards the waterfront. I wanted to walk by the train/bus station and find out exactly where my Intercity bus would be leaving first thing the morning of February 1st. That done, I went to the waterfront walkway and headed back to the hostel. I was a little tired and wanted to get some catching up done for my blog.

Working on my scrapbook.

The scrapbook is getting pretty full of awesome memories.

I couldn’t decide really what I wanted to do; blog or work on my journal/scrapbook. So, I brought everything to the dining area and set up shop at a table by a power outlet. While sitting there, a guy from NZ came over and asked if he could plug in his phone at the power outlet and of course I said sure! We ended up chatting for a bit. I told him I loved New Zealand and was sort of considering getting a long-term job here and he said yea you should, we need more Americans here. I replied “be careful what you wish for.”

January 31st

I was bound and determined to find the entrance to the Cable Car. I decided go for another long walk. But as I hopped on the elevator to go down, my parents video-called me. We talked for almost an hour. It had been a while since we had talked on the phone and it was really nice to hear and see them. πŸ™‚

First I walked up to the Mount Victoria Lookout. It was pretty overcast all day but that was fine with me because I didn’t really want to be fried by the sun. I do have suncream from NZ but it is so thick and I feel so greasy and sealed when I put it on that I don’t like putting it on very much. Anyway, up on the mount, it was really windy. It was a nice walk though.

This was really fun!Β  I did it twice without falling.

View overlooking Wellington downtown.

Back down from the mount, I wanted to walk to the botanical gardens. From my map I knew there was what had to be a pretty obvious entrance to the Cable Car. Thankfully there was or I would have started to think that this Cable Car didn’t exist! I decided not to ride it down however because I wanted to see the rose garden and it wasn’t really near the lower end of the cable car track. So, I just watched it for a few minutes.

View of downtown from the Botanical Gardens cable car station.

The botanical garden was very hilly and I was growing more and more tired. So I decided to just see the rose garden and then head back to the hostel.

Flowers that were near the rose garden.Β  Very attractive to the bees.

Back to the hostel, I made an early dinner and then worked on my blog some more. In the evening, I went and showered, packed almost everything with the exception of what I needed the next morning, and then went to bed.

February 1st

I was awake by about 5:45am. I wanted to get ready without needing to rush. I wanted to leave the hostel by 6:45 to give myself plenty of time to walk from the hostel to the bus station at a slower pace than normal walking because I would have both packs and a bag of groceries.

At the station, I only had to wait about 15 minutes until my bus to Taupo showed up and I could hop on board. So, why am I heading to Taupo you ask?

Ok, so a quick reminder of my travel plans. I really think it would be super cool to meet some real super-duper mountain climbers. When and where will that happen? Well, Mount Everest of course between mid-March through May; that is when “expedition season” is! So, I need to stay somewhere between beginning of February and end of March without breaking the bank. How to do that in New Zealand? Wwoofing. I decided I didn’t, or shouldn’t, try to find paying work that would probably require me signing a contract (don’t want to do that again for temporary/seasonal work). So I had been in touch with a few hosts on HelpX.net and I found a lady willing to host me here in Taupo.

So, I agreed to start with her on February 1st… and so here I am… on my way to Taupo. πŸ™‚

On the bus, I sat alone for a little while and then at one of the stops, we picked up a few more people and an older guy was in the seat next to me when I got back on the bus (from using the restroom). He was so interesting to talk to. He worked for the newspaper and was the guy to set the printer once the stories were ready to print…real old fashioned style. It was as old as “setting the type” but I can’t remember exactly what he said it was. Anyway, he stilled worked for the newspaper when 9/11 happened. It was night over here in NZ and so he was the only guy in the office waiting for the newspapers that were printing. He would wait in the office while papers printed just in case something went wrong, he would be there to fix it. Well, he saw on 9/11 on TV and called one of the reporters that was working late over. He told her to call the manager to get someone (or everyone) out of bed to cover this breaking story. Because of that, because he was awake, watching the news while the papers printed, their newspaper was the only one to have 9/11 on the front page the morning after (in New Zealand time) it happened.

We talked about movies, he talked about his kids, he talked about the camper van that he was going to pick up and drive back towards Wellington; he told me about the Otago Rail Trail that he had ridden it in 2 days. He said that Ford stands for “fix or repair daily.” πŸ˜€ He also was the only Kiwi and pretty much the only person I’ve met so far (between October 12, 2017 and now) that has told me he likes what Mr. Trump is trying to do with the US; bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. Yes, I’m fine with bringing jobs back to the US. I’m not sure if he is aware of other stuff Trump is doing and saying…but whatever.

Anyway, arrived in Taupo at about 2pm.

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