September 15

Last night I slept great! Despite the fact that I broke all the rules of avoiding jet lag by napping yesterday! Somehow, I appear to have jumped right on to New Zealand time without any major problems. It was a beautiful morning and the view from my bedroom was a great start to the day!

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I breakfasted on Marmite on toast (well, I had one piece with Marmite and the other with peanut butter–mostly because I had the Marmite piece first.)

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I learned that less is definitely more, when it comes to Marmite, which is some kind of yeast extract. It is very salty and somewhat bitter. Strangely, although I wasn’t really a fan, I still couldn’t stop eating the rest of the piece of toast. I have a theory that it would probably have a good flavor when added to other things. Like putting Worcestershire sauce on Chex Mix or in stews.

I spent a lot of my day attempting to run those onerous errands that are necessary when you move to a new country. I spent several hours attempting to get a NZ phone number (I even hand cut my new SIM card, at the urging of the man who sold it to me), only to find that my phone is locked by AT&T. The unlocking process can take a week or so. That put a damper on my job searching. After that, I went to apply for a Tax ID. The woman who helped me was wonderful. She also opened a Kiwi Bank account for me and had a debit card ready to go immediately! (My local credit union could learn a thing or two from them!) The Kiwi Banks are found in the Post Shops.

After that I went over to the Thistle Inn, which I understand is the oldest pub in New Zealand. I went there to meet one of Virginia’s friends, (she passed on the contact info for three of her Kiwi friends, which has been invaluable!) for drinks and advice. On the way, I passed the Beehive which is the major government building. (I also saw this very amusing sign outside a salon that specializes in waxing.)

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I made it to the Thistle where I had a beer (well he didn’t) with Rich. He had some great advice on places to see in Wellington and ideas on where to live.

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After our chat, I followed his (and Virginia’s) recommendation to take the cable car up the mountain to get views of the bay.

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I walked down from the top through the Botanic Gardens. There was a huge variety of plants and flowers.

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(Does this next one look like a Whomping Willow to anyone else?)

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The gardens were really just surreal. I found the trees even more amazing than the flowers. Next I headed through the Bolton Street Cemetery back towards the water front. As some of you may know, I absolutely love old cemeteries, especially when they have marble sculpture. This one didn’t disappoint. The age combined with the greenery created a hallowed ambience that was surprising to find in the middle of a city.

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Less than 300 meters from where these pictures were taken is a bustling commercial district. It is just baffling.

Around this time, I realized that my legs were starting to feel a bit tired. As a walker, I thought nothing of it and decided to extend my walk down along the waterfront. There were lovely views.

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However, deciding to walk back to Island Bay was a bit much for my first day of sightseeing.

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I think the bus will be in order tomorrow, at least for one trip!

Tonight, Helen made pasta with homemade pesto and fresh tomato. It was excellent. Having someone else cook is such a nice treat! (Jordan and now Helen–I am so spoiled!) She has been so welcoming. I am endlessly thankful for how wonderful she has made my first days in New Zealand!

A couple neat things that I saw today that I didn’t take pictures of: I saw the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere and I walked around the largest roundabout in the Southern Hemisphere (in fact, I believe there is a cricket field in the center.)

Also, I forgot to mention yesterday that New Zealand has an interesting feature. On all of the electrical outlets there are switches built in. Not only do you need to plug in your cord, but you also need to flip the switch for it to work. (Yes, it caused me a great deal of frustration before I was finally told this by someone else–how I wish I could claim I realized it on my own!)


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