So much to catch up on in just a week! Week three - This week the Kiwi diet has really been getting to me. I managed to get enough ingredients at my wonderful pak n save to make some Mexican-ish food for dinners here this week. I find it funny, I could easily eat Mexican food every day of the week, but having to eat Asian food that much just makes me sick. Since New Zealand is a lot closer to the Asian and Indian areas of the world, a lot of the cuisine and restaurants are Asian food or Indian. There's very little other variety aside from that and typical New Zealand food (lambs, beet root, other sweet potato dishes). Its a difficult cuisine to stomach because New Zealanders use REAL everything, real butter, real creams, real sugar. After being on a comparably lean American diet my whole life, it doesn't take much of the rich food here to make me not feel well. I've had to start turning down a lot of the free food coming my way for that reason, and it makes me sad.
My pak n save. Getting off work around 4 I can walk down here in about 15 minutes and catch the bus just outside back to Wellington city. They have a surprisingly good variety of American and Mexican foods even though not many people in New Zealand cook like that. I'm planning a big chili cook for some time at a friend's house, using their cooking supplies. Hopefully everyone else can get a taste of some good American food then :)
As far as the weekdays have been, this past week I started getting out at night and exploring a bit. I hang pretty close to the Cuba street area, its like an artsy downtown mall, lots of interesting stores and food places and there is usually someone out playing music and asking for money. Its a nice place to hang out. This week they had a night market going on - such a cool idea! Music, food, book stores and other vintage places open, I had a good explore of it.
Loved the lighting, rows of hanging lanterns. It was actually pretty mild too, not too windy in between the buildings and not too cold overall. This whole week has been a lot better weather-wise.
There are a lot of interesting shops along Cuba street, I stopped by an art gallery that was having an opening Tuesday night, it was for a display on yarn work (no pics - sorry). Seemed pretty similar to the hipster artists in the states, but there was a pretty cool yarn / paper mache snail, he was my favorite. Then there was the other typical statement pieces, feminism, environmentalism, things like that. One lady was quilting with yarn in an interesting way, I liked that too. I found a solid place to get free beer, since it was an opening the gallery was supplying bottles of some local stuff, Mac's I think it was. They have very nicely graphically designed posters all over the city. Didn't get a chance to actually try it, I'll have to break out the passport and head to the local dairy sometime soon (corner store).
My other favorite store so far is this Japan store - It has a very odd collection of household goods and stuffs all very cheap, everything is around $3. Wellington does not really have 99 cents stores, but they do have a lot of $2 stores - same idea. I went through a couple yesterday afternoon in my quest to find a big floppy hat to protect my face from the sun on the weekends. I did find one, along with a can opener (the ones in the kitchen of the hotel don't work too well and I had to resort to hitting the can with a pot over the sink to get the beans out last week - probably not the best long term plan).
Since its the beginning of spring and warmer weather, a lot of the pretty flowers are out in bloom. I tried to walk over to the botanical gardens on Sunday, but the strong Southerlies were too much for me after getting out of the city, so I circled around back to the downtown. Southerlies are the more preferable wind storms though, because they come from the Australia area and bring warm air across Wellington. The Northerlies are the cold Antartic air that is unpleasant. Here are some local flower pictures:
This is a New Zealand bush pigeon - a native species. We saw him Saturday afternoon as well as a Kaka, I guess all the local birds are out enjoying spring too.
Friday was actually eventful enough that its getting its own subheading. Friday was Peter Jackson day for Kelly and I, we were out all day then went to the Weta Cave, Peter Jackson's movie museum in the late afternoon.
Friday lunch was a traditional New Zealand steak pie, pretty good, very cheesy.
Kelly had me try a Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic). Its kind of like an Ale8 with a lot more ginger, or a ginger ale with a lot more fruit flavor and ginger. Pretty good, very very sweet.
The Hollywood sign of Wellington, showing off what the city is best known for.
The Weta cave was really cool, though there were a group of hardcore tourists there and Kelly and I felt a bit out of place not having read any of the books or seen most of the movies that were featured...
Eowyn. Very cool sculptures.
My favorite part was seeing all of the King King props because it is one of my favorite movies! Kelly really liked the Tin Tin stuff, and we both got some Tin Tin bookmarks. We also watched a movie about the behind the scenes work at Weta that went through how they make these crazy costumes and props and the locations in New Zealand where they film, it was so interesting! They were talking about all the upcoming work on the new avatar movies and the hobbit, sounded like they're keeping quite busy there. All the hardcore tourists with us were really excited (we tried to stay out of their pictures to not make them mad) These people were dropping some serious cash on souvenirs too..
After leaving the museum, we headed over to Peter Jackson's movie theater The Roxy.
The Mural on the ceiling was really cool
There is a BIG show going on in Wellington right now called WOW - World of Wearable art (that I may be hunting down a ticket for..) but its this big production show that runs for two weeks where artists from all over the world put on a runway show of these crazy unique creations and the stories behind them, HUGE in New Zealand. They had some of the pieces from last year's show on display in the lobby of the theater.
As well as other random Peter Jackson-y stuff.
It had a very cool 1920's feel to it, a place I would definitely hang out if it was not as far from town.
After Peter Jackson day, Kelly and I headed to the beach (from an earlier conversation) to try this burger place that's supposed to have "the best burger in Wellington", it was pretty good. The fries were the best I've had so far. We split a kiwi burger with pineapple, cheese, and guacamole. It was so windy while we waited that we had to take pictures. The burger guy was mocking us.
A beautiful view and sunset, even as cold as it was.
Friday night was one of those typical dinner / exploring + someone brought a camera! kind of nights, so Ange had my camera for most of dinner taking ridiculous photos. We went to this nice Thai place, a pretty good value and big portions, quite good.
They made these cute flowers out of carrots.
After Dinner we got gelatto and walked around downtown Wellington a bit, passed by this cool Seusical museum.
Someone else understands!
We went to a bathroom and had to take pictures in the mirror
Then headed in pretty late. This weekend was sleep-less er because of spring forward, so losing an hour makes everything harder. Sunday morning many people were sleepy, including myself.
I'll include some other randoms nature and landscapes. Cydney makes fun of me now for my obsessive picture -taking, "All you're going to have is a bunch of photos of hills" ... "... but they're pretty hills!"