Thursday, 7 October 2010

The windy city is mighty pretty

Friday 8th October 2010

MP3 track of the day: Archery - The Young Victoria

Weather: Winnnnndddy, very windy

As the weather looked like it would remain dry for the whole day, I decided to leave the 'Te Papa' museum until tomorrow. My first stop was Mount Victoria, a 30/40 minute climb which included me visiting my second Lord of the Rings Film location. Halfway up Mount Victoria part of the path was used for the scene where the hobbits hid from a Nasgul just after being through Farmer Magggots crops. I'm not sure if seeing the Lord of the Rings sites is a good idea; it's nice to see where it was all filmed but it does seem to take part of the magic away ... also I want to watch the films again now.

Anyway soon I was up on top of Mount Victoria. The view over Wellington was brilliant and I would have spent longer looking down onto New Zealands capital, if it wasn't for the winds. Wellington is sometimes referred to as New Zealands 'windy city', (I should have saved the Doris Day MP3 track for today) and with good reason. The Cook Straight, the water which hugs Wellington's southern border, channels strong winds into the city which can be up to gale force (I think the winds today were somewhere between 21-27 knots).

I finished photographing the city and decided that I would return to Mount Victoria tonight, to take some night photos. Once down I walked around the city centre before having lunch; I then walked to the famous Wellington tram which would take me to the botanical gardens.

The botanical gardens were lovely, however I did find it difficult to follow the signs around the gardens. As it was spring most of the flowers (especially the rose garden) weren't in full bloom, but the ones that were in bloom showed a display of many different colours.

After the botanical gardens I headed to the Parliament buildings where I saw modern architecture mix well with the old. The 'beehive', as it is known, has actually been well designed as it seems to work very well with the old 'English designed' Parliament building. The library at the other end of the complex was a beautiful building but seemed a little out of place.

After this I looked at my guidebook and, apart from walking past St Paul's new and old cathedrals, I decided that I had pretty much done all I wanted to do today. On my way back to the hostel I checked the opening times of the 'Te Papa' museum for tomorrow, and when I had arrived back at the hostel I put my name down for fish and chips, $5.80 which will be arriving at 7pm, magic.

It's now 5pm, not sure what I'm going to do tonight but I'm trying to lure myself away from the cinema across the street (already seen too many films this trip). My only plans for this evening are to eat my fish and chips and then take the bus up to Mount Victoria when it's dark, maybe I'll start to read my Japanese guidebook this afternoon.

I've now been in New Zealand a week and, well what a week. I've moved extremely quickly and I hope that I'll start moving a little slower once I get to the south island. I'm not looking forward to the ferry journey I shall be taking in two days time as the seas are really choppy down here ... luckily it's only a 3hr ride.

In the short time I've been in New Zealand I've quickly grown to love the country; the climate is good and the place just seems like the UK but a lot less crowed. The cities here seem a lot nicer and no way near as big as back home. Transport and accommodation are reasonably priced and the food isn't bad either. The interesting thing I've noticed is New Zealand's hatred to anything nuclear. Not only are there constant political reminders, around New Zealand, for the prevention of nuclear power but the people also seem genuinely against it. It's a noble statement to make that New Zealand is 'nuclear free' and should be commended; however New Zealands geography does lend itself to provide the country with lots of alternative natural power sources, some of which other countries haven't got available to them.

The people here are so English; everyone is very reserved and it's hard to start up a conversation (unlike in Canada or Fiji). However once a conversation has started the Kiwi's are very interesting and a pleasure to talk to.

The things I find annoying in New Zealand is that Wi-Fi internet is never free. I've tried to search around to find the best deals in town (and I've been burnt once due to mis-reading the internet deal) and have come to the conclusion that $10 for 24hrs Wi-Fi at most hostels is the best. What I tend to do is log on at around 10:30pm one day and this means that I have internet access for that night and until 10:30pm on the following day (basically meaning I get two days internet for $10.00).

The most annoying thing about New Zealand is the peoples alternative word to Canada's 'Awesome'. If I hear 'sweet' or 'sweet as' again I'll put one of the sweets that I have in my bag into that persons mouth. Here everything is 'sweet' or everything is 'sweet as' (as what, I don't know). Once home I shall be writing a strongly worded letter to Mr Cameron to explain my findings of how the English language has been destroyed in different parts of the world. If in future another country wants to have our language as their official tongue, then they would have to pass by-annual tests to make sure they don't add stupid phases or words that are just not needed ... 'sweet' ... what happens if you don't like sweet foods and fancy savoury, then 'sweet' would mean a totally different thing.

Finally budget. For the first week I have averaged around £36.40 per day; this is below the daily budget I gave myself but I have spent two days with my family and so I actually hoped my daily budget would be less than this. However today I have spent just over £20 and the 'Te Papa' museum has free entry and so I shouldn't spend too much tomorrow either. It's to early to see if my £40 per day budget will be enough, but it would be nice, for once, to remain within my budget. Oh also I've been looking at my spending, I think I shall be running out of money soon ... doh!

Toodle Pip!

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