Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Wellington Continued

Morning comes with a bit of wind, overcast still. I collect my frozen water containers and my food (except my carrots!!!) and make my departure. cruising down the hill I stop at the grocery to replenish supplies. I know where I am going today, Oriental Parade. It begins the drive around to the beaches and bays of Wellington. It is raining, but I stop anyway to take pictures as I follow the coastline around to the south. Some great possibilities for freedom camping here! The houses along some of this are one deep the cliff right up against the backdoor (if they have one) about halfway the batteries give out in the camera. I continue driving around. This is very cool, I like this place a lot. At the end of the road I find my spot for the night. I follow a road that takes me directly back to my first experience of driving in Wellington, Brooklyn. I continue on towards the ferry terminals. I want to be able to find them with as little trouble as possible in the morning. That done I return to the grocery.
Then I try to find the library. I asked someone who suggested it was, "way over that way, up the hill" These one way streets where left turns when the road veers right are restricted and vice versa are frustrating. I end up driving in circles! Finally I park the van and walk. And walk and walk and walk. Jeez I am not doing much better on foot! I do find it, very close to where I started out. I plug in my battery charger... nothing, try a different plug, try the laptop, yes there is power. Hmmm. Walk back to Dick Smith "your techperts" or whatever. The fellow there informs me I have fried my charger. NZ current is 240v to NA 120v. Yikes! I buy a charger. Walk back to the van to confirm with my 12v adaptor. Yep, fried.
I decide I need a respite. I drive up the hill and into the Botanical Gardens. Either I don't get peoples directions or they don't explain well. Either way I end up driving IN the Botanical gardens and park at the WWF centre in a visitor spot. I wander through, cameraless enjoying the peace of growing plants well cared for. New Zealand Native plants at risk, a fern garden and the Australian garden. Some fairly weird plants too. I enjoyed the signs indicating variety, and history. For comic relief I took the trolley down the hill, then up again. That was worth the $5.
After yesterday my feet get sore fast, so I plug in the charger and start driving. I am trying to get to Maraka Beach. Again the circles. Through tunnels, over viaducts, around mountaintops. Up down and around. Finally I ask a fellow who gives me quite precise instructions, over the viaduct, through the tunnel onto Chaytor Street then up Karoi Rd. Voila! I am through this maze and on my way. I see a wind farm then some signs indicating some displeasure? They say "DO SOMETHING" and pictures reminiscent of the "scream" Yet another winding road. I believe after some reading that my use of the word windy for winding has been incorrect. In any case this road winds around and ends at a beach where the sun was shining and the wind was blowing. I squeeze a couple more pictures out of the batteries. I leave the van running to maximize the charging.
I head back to Brooklyn and Happy Valley to Owhiro Bay, then back around to Scorching Bay turn around taking pictures at all the places I missed. Island Bay, Breaker Bay, Mahanga Bay. I see kite surfers in Lyall Bay in front of the airport, snap shots of some interesting houses. Now I am hungry, tired of cheese, salami and avocado sandwiches. Back to Brooklyn where the Golden Lotus grabs my eye. Chinese sounds good. Inside I discover it is now an Ethiopian menu. For $18 I get a wonderful meal and no tipping here, they get insulted! While I wait for the food I finally figure out the texting on this phone. The mode of finishing my words was really challenging me.
Drive back to Te Kopahou Reserve, walk on the beach for 20 min. and then crash.
In the morning I head out and guess what? Get downtown in Wellington and drive in #%&(@ circles again!
I am the third passenger vehicle to arrive, gate opens, drive in and wait. Write in my journal, make and eat my breakfast, peruse the map... They tie a lot of the vehicles down when the weather is bad, no one is allowed on the vehicle decks while we are sailing, the door is locked.
This boat has 10 decks childrens play area and movie theatre on deck 2, bar and cafeteria on deck 8, observation(outside) deck 10, private staterooms on deck 9 and all of us steerage hung out in the cafe and lounge on deck 7. All the tourists taking pictures as we left and then again when land was sighted. Arriving at the beginning of the south Island was dramatic. The pictures cannot, do not, come close.
Me I was feeling a sense of amazement and unreality as I landed. Here I am! I almost didn't believe it would happen.

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