Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wellington: Food and Free Stuff!

Cable car track and the view from the botanical gardens
We had a whirlwind 2 days in Wellington, we were supposed to have 3 days, but ended up spending the majority of the first day hiking in Tongario National Park and got to Wellington really late in the day. People on our trip kept asking what we were going to do in Wellington.  I kept telling them I was going to drink excellent coffee and eat.  What?  They would say.  I'm going to eat!  So when we got to town, the first thing we did was....EAT.  With recommendation from one of our friend's friends (Charlie, who lived in Wellington for 6ish months) we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Sweet Mother's Kitchen.  Incidentally, it had a ton of Cajun food, smothered okra, hush puppies, gumbo, jambalaya, all covered in Saints paraphernalia, and Mardi Gras masks (the walls, not the food).  Yeah.  I think the Kiwis like 'dem Cajuns... it was the second place in NZ that we happened upon that had Cajun food.

Like the old fogies we are, we retired early and woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed to meet that friend of a friend, Amber, for a lovely brunch.  We then took the cable car up to the botanical gardens.  Boring you say?  It's the best view in Wellington, it's free, AND Vince had a fabulous time checking out the macro feature on our little point and shoot.  Evidence:

We then got ready to... eat.  Vince's friend and former co-worker, Midori, and her husband Dave invited us over to dinner.  The food was really good.  Dave made an excellent batch of guacamole, and grilled some meats which we ate with relish (pun intended).  I would say it was hands down the best night we've had in New Zealand so far, except I had my foot in my mouth the entire time.  Yeah.  Me.  It must have been the light lunch and the excellent wine that made my tongue so slippery and my brain so mushy.  Regardless, we had an excellent visit, even though I got shit for my slippery tongue all night.

The next morning after having a wonderful (locally roasted bean) latte with my favorite breakfast of toast and poached eggs, we spent the majority of the day at the local FREE museum of everything, Te Papa.  They don't call it the museum of everything, that's just what I call it because it really was a museum of everything.  There was art, both modern and classical. There was a audio visual interactive section where you could take pictures and videos of yourself and paste them on a huge wall of screens.

There was the local flora and fauna section with lots of natural history information. There was the conservation section, the local indigenous history section, the recent European history section, with the women's movement, the gay rights movement, the 50's perfect housewife section, it was huge and cool and, well, FREE!

Te Papa museum

We then joined Amber for another free event, a circus show near the waterfront.  The performers were strong as hell.  Upside down crunch after crunch after crunch, whirling in a big sturdy hula hoop, flying through the air... and we had some really good nuts while watching the show, then a lovely Malaysian dinner. We ate, we had coffee, we did free stuff, it was everything I had hoped for.

A cemetery with a view

The waterfront architecture

You can find the rest of the photos here:

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