Already, I need another swim! Raumiti beach south appeals and I turn out of the traffic. Drive past the Te Ra Waldorf school through a funky little neighbourhood to a reserve. The sign says 30 minute coastal trail walk. Ok I walk up the track down the other side and there is the beach. Folks are seriously fishing here with long lines , hauling them out with a kayak. I go for a swim, not much surf here, Apiti Island dampens the waves. I don't stay long but as I am driving out I spy an amazing construction. Something I KNOW Doug Marsh can relate to. Entirely made of drift wood it reaches skyward about 30 or 40 feet. All around the place are concrete sculptures/statues and various wooden pieces. I wander in say hello and get permission to photograph. Apparently the artist is up at Organic River Fest, yes I saw him there, driftwood sculpture and setup for a booth.
Onward towards Wellington. Beautiful beaches and the road gets busier. I have some idea where I am going but when I arrive I am not prepared for the terrain. It is up and down and there are a lot of one way streets. I am completely flustered as I wander back and forth attempting to find Rowenas. Why do I expect everywhere to be flat ? This is extreme though and it is HOT, people are not patient with my driving stopping every 5 blocks to check the map. Needless to say I have not taken any pictures. I may do that tomorrow to illustrate my folly. Eventually I figure it out.
There are many people here, some for the ACDC concert tonight. I am camping in my van which at the moment is like an oven and it is on a slant. not many choices for parking I was lucky to find a spot. I hoped to stay with some folks but they are entertaining some friends this weekend so here I am. Not sure I want to spend too much time here.
I do my computer thing in the dining room (not much choice for plugging in) and meet Alex and Martin. They offer me their leftover salad and then later we chat about travel. They have been travelling together since Kerikeri. Tomorrow they part, Martin for South America he is on an around the world ticket, and Alex for the South Island. Tomorrow is also Martins birthday so tonight they celebrate. I tag along. First stop Liquor Barn for a beer each. Lots of choice (naturally) since I don't normally drink that often I try to choose a light one. I cannot keep up to these guys though, they had at least two each with dinner. We walk past a huge statue of Queen Victoria cross the street and enter an Irish pub. Not too many patrons, we sit on the balcony and watch people walk by and talk about travelling. They have two to my one. Suddenly a gust of wind, and again. The other folks go inside. Alex tells me Wellington is known for this wind which is really blowing fierce now. It blows the empty bottles off the table. We go in, have another beer. Then move on. More and more people are on the street as the night proceeds. We try another Irish bar and I try the Red. Not so good, although in this state I wouldn't want to make any important decisions. These guys smoke so we stand out front and watch people. The women especially are dressed what I would say provocatively. Short skirts, lots of cleavage and high heels. Oh and most of em look about 20.
The ACDC concert must be over the streets are FULL! Folks have devil horns on flashing lights with ACDC on them. We hit another bar, most of which have live music. This one has a Celtic band, a woman comes up to me, asks if I can dance. Takes my beer and hands it to someone and we dance. Throws her arms around me. Retrieves my beer.
Alex, I think, is trying to set up Martin with a young woman. She seems more interested in Alex, but hangs off of me a few times as well. the press of bodies here is incredible. I am drinking water now, which the bar tender finds amusing. There are 4 of them constantly making, mixing, pouring and taking money, bank and credit cards nonstop. Almost as much fun to watch.
We stagger out of there, well I did anyway, and return to the first Irish bar which is now wall to wall people In the toilet I overhear a fellow expressing his pleasure at how great the concert was and how worth it spending $160....!
We attempt to enter a few more places but dress code doesn't allow sandals. Wander back to the hostel, say g'night and.... they are gone in the morning.
By morning the rain starts, the wind gusts all night. I am still drunk. Slow morning. I walk to to Te Papa, the Museum here. It is free! I wander around looking at the exhibits, the place is thronging. I take a few pictures, read lots of info, learn about the native birds, many of which are extinct. I step out into the weather and wander around past the bars I visited the night before. Eventually I look around and wonder "where the hell am I?" On some level I know where I am but , I don't know where Rowenas is. Tramping down streets eventually I ask someone who knows where the statue of Queen Victoria is. Elke calls as I am setting up the computer. I make some dinner then sit and watch NZ tv for a couple of hours, then sleep.