Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Playing Host Again

A couple of months after Beckett's visit to Wellington, another one of my good friends from Wisconsin came all the way across the world to see me.

Hannah, who was my prom date in high school at Fort, decided to do a semester on exchange down at Otago University in Dunedin, after much convincing from me that New Zealand was a much better exchange option than going to England (take that so called motherland!).

She arrived a couple of weeks before the start of the New Zealand second semester in Auckland and made her way down country, spending time with friends along the way near Tauranga and seeing a bit of the New Zealand landscape before arriving to spend about 3 days with me in Wellington.

The closest her bus got to my house was Wellington airport (15 minute walk) so I walked down to meet her and hear tales of her adventures thus far.

Unfortunately with the time of year she arrived at, the weather was disinclined to behave in a particularly accommodating manner, so my loose list of options for things to do was entirely weather dependant. It sounded like she'd experienced okay weather in her travels prior to Wellington which was lucky.

Also unfortunately, I had to work the time that she was there so I was dead - tired with starting at 2 AM and then going out and doing things all day but it was a small sacrifice to make for the sake of showing a good friend all of the cool stuff in my hometown.

On her first day in town, it rained torrentially for about 8 hours. I'd already decided that the weather was looking sketchy so the best plan was to visit Te Papa, the National Museum.

We were lucky enough to make it to the bus stop, into town and inside of the building before the real rain started but when that set in we were pretty well restricted to spending the whole day there. Thankfully there's about 3 full days worth of interesting stuff to check out inside the museum.

I was determined to get to Te Papa with Hannah as I didn't quite manage to find time with Beckett and it would have been an absolute crime to have hosted two visitors in Wellington without paying it a visit.

Hannah seemed to really enjoy the areas of the museum pertaining to New Zealand history and Maori culture which was cool to see. I made sure we got in on a showing of Golden Days as well, a must - do for all visitors. I think she found that pretty interesting as well, I know I always get a good laugh out of it even with having seen it about 50 times.

It surprised me actually how much it all interested her. She spent a long time reading through everything while I found ways to keep my short attention span continuously occupied.

We stopped for a lunch and coffee break at the cafe after a couple of hours. I had one of the better coffees I've had in the city and a piece of cheesecake because sometimes it's fun to eat cheesecake for lunch.

After lunch we went back to perusing the museum and stopped in at the art gallery there. I don't generally connect well with visual art, mostly because I know nothing about it and I need explanations of what the thought or context is behind pieces for them to hold my interest. I do enjoy taking wild guesses whilst walking through galleries though and the Te Papa gallery is rather fantastic. At the time they also had a magnetic poetry board set up in there so naturally I left a brief composition on that.

In the sculpture section we got talking to one of the volunteers, an older guy who LOVED to talk. I think he probably would have kept going all day if we hadn't cut him short after about half an hour of him telling us all sorts of stories about his half Chinese grand - daughter and his time at the museum.

When we finally managed to break out of conversation with him, we finished wandering that part of the museum, looked around for another couple of hours, essentially visiting every part of the museum (including the earthquake house) until we were both sufficiently exhausted.

Fortunately by the time we left the rain had softened a bit and we didn't get terribly wet trying to make our way to the bus stop. We must have been in good favour somehow with the weather gods to have not gotten soaked at some point through the day.

We hopped a bus back to Miramar, organised dinner, set up sleeping arrangements (I gave up my bed and slept on a mattress on the floor instead) and I crashed out early, ready to be up at 1 AM to get going for work.

The next post here will be about our adventure on the second day through the Wellington Botanical Gardens.

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