I have a new favourite city. I’ve been to Wellington once before. I was about 11. And I was on a school trip. This time around it was eleventy billion times better.
Seriously. I love my big city, but in comparison it is grey and soulless. (Although all I have to compare it to is Singapore, KL, and, er, Hamilton?!) Wellington is SO walkable. Everything in the central city is amazingly flat. Check this out for a footpath:
There is a skate park in the CBD. There are murals. Countless cinemas. Galleries and museums, all free or dirt-cheap. Even the scaffolding on construction sites are arted up. Everything is so buzzy and colourful and inspiring.
And OMG a sushi place with conveyor belt (Anyone know of an equivalent place in Auckland???):
T loved it too, mainly because it was so cold. I eventually got used to the wind, although the first night everytime the windows rattled I thought it was an earthquake, and by the end of the weekend, my chin was so dry and chapped no amount of cream applied continuously could save it. And I was very grateful to have brought jeans, because walking along the harbour from arena to arena was not the warmest of undertakings. Thankfully, it turned out the arena was set up literally five minutes from our lodge.
The one good thing about having each stage at a totally separate venue was that at least you weren’t forced to buy snacks and drinks there. You could go for a wander into town and get anything your heart desired, or in my case, back to our hotel to eat our own food.
But seriously. My first stop was TSB Arena for Midnight Youth. Homegrown specifically said we could bring in as much food as we wanted. And what did they do at TSB? CONFISCATE MY DAMN LUNCH, the venue making its own rules. “Can I get it back after?” I asked. No. They told me it would probably go to the “needy”. Bullshit. Y’all will get first pickings, then it will go into the bin. And I was already late for the act at that point, not to mention still full from our big breakfast, so I wasn’t going to stand there and stuff all my food down my gullet. I let it go. And of course, at NONE of the other stages did they care, and when we returned to TSB at the end of the night for Blindspott, they didn’t even check bags, let alone our wristbands.
And, as I should have guessed, Blindspott played Phlex as the second-to-last song, and dedicated it to all the Christchurch people in the crowd.
There’s no reason yet
why they took your friends
there’ s no reason at all.
For me, all the two-minute silences in the world could not compare to that one song, originally written after the loss of one of their friends.
Not one day that you are here on this earth
Has been promised to you
So make the most of every day as if it was your last
And every breath, as if it was the same.
I spent almost all of the day on my own, as the bands I wanted to see (Phoenix Foundation, Kids of 88 – as below) weren’t remotely interesting to him or his mates. (Nor did I have any interest, really, in attempting to tag along with their girlfriends.) There is really something to be said for going it alone. No compromises!
The drive down was long. We left at 5am, just so we could go down with another carload of T’s friends. In fact, we spent more time with them on Friday and Saturday than I bargained for, and more money (all they ever do is drink, basically, and spend without thinking twice). Driving down the Desert Rd was particularly scary; we hit a random storm and at high altitudes with big trucks roaring past and blinding you with spray, well, it toes the line between exhilarating and terrifying.
And we were in a borrowed car – a Rover, no less – that did NOT like to take corners. Also, the indicators were on the left of the steering wheel, not right, so he was constantly flicking on the wipers when changing lanes.
I don’t like leather seats or wood panelling. But those blind-spot mini-mirrors on the wing mirrors are nothing short of genius. Why do all cars not come standard with them??
I quite enjoy long drives. It gives me time to think. For example, I decided that I’m against mining (we should focus on thinking up more sustainable ways to make money) and that if only we could all telecommute, and we got fast broadband, people could live ANYWHERE and maybe property prices would start to go down. (Probably wishful thinking.)
And I get to marvel at tiny little towns and wonder how impossible it must be to get a good curry paste when you live somewhere like that. But seriously, some of the produce prices towards the lower North Island…50c lettuce, 50c pumpkins, 99c a kg for apples! Unbelievable. I wish we’d picked some up on the way back.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in one of the places I was most excited to go to. Schoc Chocolaterie had an amazing selection, although most of the flavours were too out there for me (strawberry and cracked pepper?). I bought their lemon white chocolate, and don’t regret it, but for $13 (750g) I won’t be back, I don’t think.
I’m already planning our return. I still have to visit the famed Bordeaux bakery, and I missed out on hitting the clubs; although just from walking around at night, I could already see why their nightlife kicks ass.
And Wellington will have a special place in my heart from now, I guess, as it’s where T proposed. I was in the spa bath. He did good. Lucky I decided to go with a nice place and not an el cheapo backpackers, eh? (We stayed at the Halswell; I can’t speak for the motel rooms but the lodge building is nice and oozing Victorian charm, if a little small.)
(That’s my new hair, by the way, Young and Thrifty!)
Wellington, I’ll be back.