October 7

Wellington was my destination yesterday morning. I needed to go into town to buy a few things and to say goodbye to some friends before our journey northward on Sunday. I took the train into town and met Helen for lunch at the Thistle Inn. We had a delicious, leisurely lunch. I attempted black pudding (or blood pudding) for the first time. It was not as flavorful as I expected, and quite over-salted which made have blocked out any natural flavors.

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Later when I told Lindsay that I tried it, she looked me straight in the eye and said “That’s like eating a huge scab, you know.” (From the mouth of a British citizen, the inventors of black pudding.) It was wonderful to catch up with Helen; I’ll definitely miss my New Zealand mom while I’m off gallivanting (or marauding) around the North Island.

It was around this time that I realized that I had forgotten a sports bra for yoga, but I didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to go all the way back to Plimmerton on the train. Instead, I met up with my friend José and we went on the Great Sports Bra Search of 2015. After visiting at least 5 shops, we admitted defeat. We came away with colored contacts (for José) and leather pants (for me–and only partially a joke), but no bra. However, during my day with José, I learned a couple interesting things that I feel I should share. In Mexico, a good salary is the equivalent of $30 per day; most people have to save for years to pay for airfare on a trip like he has taken. Also, it has indeed happened, in an unnamed hostel in Wellington, that someone (sleep-) urinated in José’s refrigerator. As if that weren’t enough, they gave him a second chance and he proceeded to pee on his bed in front of a roomful of backpackers. Unsurprisingly, this precipitated José’s move out to Plimmerton and The Lodge.

José headed back to work and I went to meet up with Stefan for yoga at our friendly local cult. It was just as enjoyable as last time. I can tell that it was successful because my arms can barely hold up my phone, as I write this post. Again we stayed for a delicious vegan meal, the spinach and silk tofu pastry with plum sauce and the banana halwa with Nutella dressing were particularly tasty. I will certainly be looking into yoga classes at the next place that I land for the long(ish) term. Stefan and I parted ways with assurances that we will cross paths again, at some point.

I made my way to Courtenay Place to meet Lindsay and her coworkers (from the Sandbar Pub) for her “going-away ‘do,” as she calls it. We met for drinks first at The Apartment, which is the emptiest bar I have ever been to. I felt bad for them so here is a little free visual advertising on their behalf.

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Lindsay’s coworkers were a lot of fun, particularly her friends, Becca and Katie. They are one of those groups that have a great rapport and just tease each other constantly. It is very entertaining. Our fellow Moana woofers met up with us to celebrate, as well. (Joy moves into town tomorrow and it was our last night all together!)

Next, we headed to Dakota, you guessed it, the American cowboy bar!

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I can say with absolutely certainty that I was the only American there. And, as such, I needed to represent my country in the noble art of (mechanical) bull-riding. I have never before ridden a bull and I was a bit apprehensive, but I decided to dive right in.

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So did Lindsay!

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I made it over 45 seconds! (Yes, I made José film it. And I’m posting it on the Internet.) We had a wonderful time!

On the walk back to the train, I was almost blown away into the street! The wind is so strong that it actually can keep you still, momentarily, as you attempt to walk! I wonder if locals plan their routes (and extra walking time) to stay away from particularly windy streets.

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