September 16

Much of my morning was spent fighting with technology, in particular my iPhone. It still isn’t functioning with my New Zealand SIM card, which is making it difficult to do everything from applying to jobs to setting up meetings to booking where I’m going to stay next. Also, somehow in my zeal to get my SIM working I managed to delete everything off my phone, fortunately it is now fixed. I am holding out hope that the NZ number will just magically start working at some point. Maybe tomorrow!

In a productive moment, I did decide where I am going to be going next week. It is a highly ranked backpacker (that’s what they call hostels here) called Dwellington. How cool is that name!? I love it. Helen was gracious enough to invite me to stay for a couple more days, so I won’t be moving on until Saturday! Dwellington is closer to downtown, just a short walk beyond the Thistle, heading out of town. It will be a great opportunity to meet other travelers (I’m staying in a five bed dorm), although I will certainly be sad to say goodbye to Helen and to Island Bay. The walk to and from town has allowed me to eat whatever I want! Despite what I claimed yesterday, I did indeed walk both ways again today. However, my total mileage for the day ended up being less than 9 miles.

My only major sightseeing today was the Te Papa Museum, which is the major national museum. It was absolutely fascinating. I spent several hours there, attempting to see everything, but I could’ve spent so much more time!

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Disclaimer: The pictures that you are going to see of the exhibits were taken from the Te Papa website. I followed the rules which asked that you do not take pictures of individual exhibits. (Helen pointed out that I should’ve just taken pictures until someone stopped me, but I was in a rule-following mood today.) There were some amazing things to see though, including their colossal squid (the only one displayed in the world), a huge “pygmy” blue whale skeleton, some intricate Maori carvings, and insects/reptiles that are still alive today, but coexisted with dinosaurs! In particular, the tuatara struck me as interesting. It has remained pretty much the same for the last 15 million years or more!

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After my exploration of the Te Papa, I decided to take advantage of another New Zealand staple, fish and chips.

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It was delicious! I went to a local Chinese restaurant (weird, right?) that was reviewed as the best fish and chips shop in Island Bay. It wasn’t until after I had eaten so much food that I couldn’t move that I was told that most Kiwis just order a half-sized chips, rather than the full amount! I should’ve done that!(Especially because the hand-cut chips were so delicious and crispy that I couldn’t stop eating them, since they were in front of me.) It didn’t help my fullness situation that Helen brought home Lamingtons for me to try as well. These are spongecake covered with either chocolate or raspberry and then coated in coconut. They had a nice sweetness without being overwhelming. She also went to the store specifically to get me a Whittaker’s Peanut Slab, which is a local favorite. As something of a chocolate lover (okay, I’m obsessed), I found it to be excellent. This is even more surprising given the fact that it is milk chocolate, not the dark chocolate which I generally eat. Needless to say, I can barely move after all of the food that I ate tonight! I am going to try to see if I can get a tour of the Whittaker’s factory, which is a family-owned NZ company, right near Wellington. I think if I’m going to keep up this sort of eating then I’m going to have to join a gym!

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