After the Redwoods, I was feeling exhausted but excited because I was off to catch a bus to Wellington for the weekend. American Adrienne (from the winery trip) had called and invited me. Since there is not too many places that make for a good weekend trip from our location, it made sense to head down to Windy Wellington, as it’s known. I owe Adrienne a ton for looking into buses and hostels to stay at, here they call them Backpackers. She reserved us “rooms” at a cheap place but with a great location, and we worked out our bus times. We would meet downtown Hastings at the bus stop to go on the 3:50 but we returned on different buses, as I had to get back earlier Sunday for a reflection paper and my sanity.
Heidi was great to take me down to the bus station directly after work and I met up with Adrienne. After saying our goodbyes to our respective host families, we hopped on the bus that pulled up right at 3:50. We slung our bags under in the cargo hold and walked up the steps. Since you buy your ‘tickets’ online, they have a print out of everyone’s name who is supposed to get on at what stop, so you don’t have to actually show them a ticket or anything. (It also lets you pay as a student without really even anyone checking. Although I really am!) So imagine our surprise when the driver didn’t have any record of either of our tickets. Turns out two buses both depart to Wellington at 3:50…. so back down the stairs we went and back to waiting on the bench. As we walked off, someone else waiting in line chuckled, “Welcome to New Zealand.” Kind of embarrassing.
Ours arrived in due time, and we boarded, both excited for our trip. We chatted a while, but unfortunately, after half and hour on the bus (following a dehydrating, exhausting walk) I was feeling sick from the bus. I excused myself to an empty pair of seats across the aisle and tried to sleep. I woke up about 30 minutes before the end of the first half- as we had a about an hour stop at 6:30 in the city of Palmerson North for dinner. The fresh air was nice, but I wasn’t able to eat anything for dinner. I was already humiliated enough for Adrienne to be seeing me like this and didn’t want to make it worse. We had to get back on the bus by 7:25 and took off again. This time I sat up front and Adrienne sat behind me, I tried to sleep again, but as the ride went on, I only felt worse. Adrienne has now joined the elite group of people who have traveled with me and seen my weak stomach in action. She was even so sweet as to ask the bus driver for the plastic bag that his meal was wrapped in. Thank god I didn’t need to use it.
We arrived in Wellington around 9:45 and was lucky that the hostel was almost directly across from the bus/train station. We checked in and paid a total of about US$35 each for two nights stay. Not too bad, but we were staying in the ‘dorm’ fashion rooms.
I don’t know what I was expecting when we opened the door, but it’s probably obvious I never had a classic college experience as my first thought was “they let boys in here?” There was a group of about 6 Englishman, getting groomed and ready for their Friday night out on the town. I crashed on the first empty bunk bed, and didn’t get up for the rest of the night. I listened to our roommates from England, Chile, Germany, and Canada pre-funk and Adrienne joined them for a short while before returning to climb on the top bunk.
Since I’d been sleeping on and off since about 7 the previous evening, I woke up fairly early on Saturday– I had wanted to get to the Te Papa Museum that I’d heard so much about when it opened at 10. Almost nothing in New Zealand is open past 5pm, and I wanted to see the museum and go to some shops. Adrienne got up shortly after and we were off for our day in Wellington… too bad it was wet and windy. I’d heard that Wellington was similar to San Francisco and today was no exception. Fog and mist rolled in early in the morning that broke into rain early in the afternoon. This was my view on our morning walk.
The museum was unbelievable. People kept saying how you could spend days there and now I easily see why. It was also a shock that this six floor museum, with permanent and rotating exhibitions is completely free to the public! I also kept thinking how much my mom would be awed and amazed by this place. With exhibits like this how could she not?
After roaming all six floors and a stop at the gift shop, we decided to dry out and get some lunch then continued our perusing for the last two hours that the shops were open. It was gray and drizzly but our mood was still bright! Once the stores were closing their doors on us, we went to check out the cable car (See, I told you. San Francisco.) You take the 3 minute ride up the hill to see what on a clear day would be a beautiful view of the city and sound. Today we just saw the clouds!
There’s also a botanical garden that was fun to walk around in while waiting for the cable car to return us to downtown. Unbelievable, there weren’t very many people walking out and about. Weird.
We were tired from all the walking and wanted to grab a bite to eat before we went to the…. RUGBY game! Adrienne had heard from a colleague at her school that there was a popular rugby game the one night that we were in town! How could we pass up the classic New Zealand experience!?
We bought the cheapest seats and asked everyone we saw all day if the stadium was covered…. and had no idea to expect once we got there. After a picture of the “beehive” also known as parliament building,
grabbing a bite at the hostel, we followed the crowd to the “cake tin” (guess what it looks like).
We lucked out that our cheap uncovered seats were just on the line of the overhang (and that the rain had lightened up) so it wasn’t uncomfortable to watch the game. Just confusing. As far as I can tell the rules of rugby are as follows:
1) Be aggressive. (B-E Aggressive.)
2) When the ball is brought inbounds, try to be the tallest player so you can catch the ball first. I keep thinking how they should apply this to jump balls in basketballs.
3) Kick far. Doesn’t really matter who catches it or where you aim, just kick far.
From all the learning and new exposure, it was nice to come accross something that was comforting:
My own personal bottle of wine!
After the local team tied in a controversial game ending call (that was on the news for days), we wandered back to the hostel and settled in for the night.
I had an early bus to catch back, but gained an hour of sleep from our Day Light Savings! It’s just starting fall here, so we “fell back” and now it’s brighter in the mornings and starting to get darker in the evening. I had picked up some lovely herbal ginger tablets the day before while we were out and it seemed to help with my car sickness and this time I was able to see the beautiful country side on the four and half hour trip back to Hastings.
The farther north I got the better the weather and I arrived in Hastings a little before noon to a beautiful day. New Zealand is actually great to travel by bus in, if you have the time and the stomach for it. I’ll have to plan what I’m going over the two week holidays that’s coming up, as I wanted to see the south island. They have a cool bus service where you buy a ticket and can hop on or off the route any day so you can stay in cities as long as you wont and skip over the ones that aren’t interesting to you… We’ll see! So many things to do and so little time. Some days I wish I didn’t have to go to school so I could just go and do amazing things and then blog about them!