Friday, December 31, 2010

Nun of That Nunsense

There is something about a nun riding a segway that arouses ones curiosity, and that is exactly what happened with me. The City and Sea Museum here in Wellington used the painting of a nun on a segway to advertise their current special exhibit. When we left Rotorua, the taxi driver told us to make sure we went to the 3rd floor video presentation at The City and Sea Museum, but would not tell us more than it would surprise and entertain us. This really made me curious, so we had to go. It sits on the waterfront; we walked there, a considerable distance, but the best way to view the city when you are not familiar with the transportation system.

As one enters this museum, there is a display of 100 years, each year providing an achievement in the city’s history. Some were memorable by tourist standards, while others were local knowledge/interest only. Either way, one hundred exhibits to get through it is tiring regardless. By fifty, we skipped out and moved on to the temporary exhibit with the art work. There was an explanation of each piece is a special booklet. I took it along and read each piece as I viewed the fifty plus pieces individually. It was the nun on the segway that intrigued me most. Perhaps it is because they have segway tours in Budapest and I have been invited to try it, but have yet to do so. They do look like fun.

As the name of the museum intimates, it is about the city and the sea around it. Not being a person interested in sea culture, most of it was zip past through without paying much attention. There was a documentary movie on a ferry that never made it from the north to south island, which we did watch intently. We were taking that ferry crossing ourselves. Finally, when I  had had enough, we went to the top floor to see this video we had been advised not to miss. It was worth the efforts. Using holograms, they did a presentation of a Maori mythological story that lasted for 9 minutes. It was quite well done and highly entertaining as well as educational. Strangely, there were only adults in the audience, but this is not a museum one would think to bring children to.

Outside there was a shiny red helicopter ready to give rides. My fantasy for decades has been to take a helicopter ride. As fearful as I am of heights, there is something about a helicopter that gives me chills in a positive way. This is on my bucket list for before I die, but it was not to be today.

We still had a number of things to do, the next being the Botanical Gardens. To reach it, we took the Wellington cable car, a major tourist attraction. However, after living near San Francisco and now living in Budapest, this is not such a thrill. What they call a cable car, I would call a funicular or a cogwheel system. It was fun, more so because of the excitement of others than the ride itself. Once at the top, we were loose in the botanical gardens to do as we pleased. It is a public garden with no closing hours, so we could stay as long as we chose. Up and down like San Francisco hills we walked looking at flowers, trees and beautifully appointed gardens. Being a holiday, many of the buildings within the gardens either closed early or where closed for the day.

Leaving the gardens, Ron wanted to see the bee hive. This is actually a parliamentary building, but it strongly resembles a bee hive. As we walked, it was apparent that this was a holiday. Strangely, most places received holidays for both Monday and Tuesday after Christmas because both Christmas and Boxing day landed on weekend days. Now with New Years they are closing early for the eve and will be closed for the day itself. It is yet to be seen if they will close for the following Monday to make up for losing a weekend holiday or not.

Like moths to a flame, we returned to Cuba Street for a beer at the Hotel Bristol. We debated having dinner there, but we enjoyed the food at the Asian place last night and it was so cheap, we decided to return there again. We were not disappointed. Dinner again was excellent.

Just out of curiosity, when we stopped for something to go without our after dinner tea, we asked how much cigarettes were selling for here. We were told they are $NZ 14.90 a pack, one box. OH MY GODS IN THE UNIVERSE. How do these young people afford it????

Was New Year’s Eve in Wellington fabulous? Don’t ask me. We were asleep by 11pm. Early morning tomorrow. If you find out it was exciting, don’t tell me about it. I hate missing out on things.
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