Posted by: cousindampier | 24 January 2011

Three Thoughts on New Zealand and one on Australia

The jet lag has mostly worn off. But not entirely.

-Wellington is a pretty coastal town. In a number of ways, it reminds me of Seattle. The weather is strikingly similar, being a mixture of fog, rain, and sun – though there is much more sun here than I’ve experienced in Seattle.

The vistas of the harbour are georgeous from the shore. Wellington sits on a harbour, facing Northeast, and surrounded by low mountains on all sides , including across the harbour. The mountains being relatively small, and Wellington being so close to the ocean, those mountains don’t tend to block clouds from coming through and settling over the city. The harbour is simply beautiful. When it rains, the water turns a dark blue, but it is often a bright green, looking fresh and alive.

The centre of the city sits on the low ground off the ocean, while the suburbs and houses rise into the hills – which gives a neat though depressing panorama of beautiful green forest spotted by white houses.

The aspect of the city which reminds me the most about Seattle is the extended waterfront and how it is used. Wellington has a large port, lying mostly at one end of the city. From there, a long path stretches along the water as far as Wellington goes, and then further, out along the Harbour (and I’m not sure where it ends).

That differs from Seattle because there are no piers built out on the water – any shops are set back on the land rather than out on the water, and it makes for uninterrupted access and pretty views, albeit minus a large and rather imposing mountain.

-The amount of international places to eat here is surprising. I never pondered what one eats in New Zealand before I left – I figured it would be a hybrid of Britain and America, I suppose – but there are a number of Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese places, along with the traditional American fare, a few Irish bars, and most surprisingly, not many seafood places.

-A 14 hour flight seems long, but its really not bad. The Virgin terminal at LAX is amazing – like something out of a movie, in that it looks very modern and space-age, but also like they will give you a cigar as you board the plane – that level of friendliness.

Boarding the plane was like entering a ‘70’s Disco. It was dark outside, and the interior of the plane wasn’t lit well as we boarded. It was backlit, though I’d swear there were black lights and a fog machine.

Besides, flying is easy when the alcohol is free, the stewardesses are beautiful, and the seats are soft.

The flight from Brisbane to Wellington was much worse than LAX to Brisbane.

-Brisbane was a little sad. Trace and I had a ten hour layover, and left the airport to go to the beach. About a week or ten days ago, Brisbane was under a good amount of water as the river through the city overflowed. The worst of the flooding is over now, and we’d planned to go to the beach and lay there for about 5 of the 10 hours we were there.

Except, though the flooding was done, the Bay was still overflowing the beaches. Beach, really, is an incorrect term – there was the seawall and then the ocean. No beach. The ocean was a splotchy brown, as all the silt from the river sat in the ocean.

It’s been a very good time so far.  Wellington is a great place to stay, though I’m excited to get to the southern island (bungee jumping!)


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