Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Wellington Adventure

The only photo I managed to take of Wellington.

When Aalix found she had a bunch of air points about to expire she decided to take a day trip to Te Papa in Wellington, and invited me to come along. How could I refuse such an opportunity?

We had crazy, marvelous, fun from start to finish. Yes, even the two hours waiting for the fog to lift from Hamilton airport was enjoyable. One of the things about being so obsessed with embroidery these days is that situations that might otherwise be tedious become satisfying. I finished my first Mars lichen brooch at the airport in the morning, and made a good start on the second brooch on the way home. And of course, Aalix and I spent the whole day chatting, so even without the stitching the flight delay would have passed quickly and pleasantly.

But it meant that we didn't arrive in Wellington almost noon, and we spent the afternoon in intense absorbtion of cultural delights, breezing in and out of galleries and shops from Civic Square to Te Papa. Aalix, who has never been to Wellington before, kept exclaiming how its actually a Real City (unlike Hamilton).

I was thrilled to find that my favourite bookshop, Arty Bees, has expanded to a whole nother floor of books. I could happily have spent the whole day in there, but limited myself to a thorough skim of the largest new sci fi selection that I know of in NZ, and finding exactly the book I wanted to buy in the second hand sci fi section, plus a pleasurable tour of the non-fiction (including an anguished linger over a gorgeous book of fossils, which I consoled myself that even if I could afford it, would have been too heavy to schlep around town for the rest of the day).

In Te Papa we started with 'We are Unsuitable for Framing' where we liked almost everything very much, but not really the hair. Then we looked at the 1930's-present section of the art collection and I fell in love. If you know about John Reynolds' Cloud, you will know why I love it. If you don't, watch this video and see why. I wanted to read every single one of the 7081 canvases, but I would need binoculars so I contented myself with the lower reaches and lying back on the bench and cloud watching from various restful angles.

I was momentarily excited by the promise of an exhibition of coral, but it didn't live up to my high hopes with just four cabinets of admittedly nice deep sea coral, but not enough substance to satisfy me.

A nice bit of dead coral

I also tromped all over looking for some good fossils on show, but they were sorely lacking. I tracked down a few old ones in the kids section but they were partially obscured by a model whale heart the size of a small car. A couple of fossils were incorporated into other natural history exhibitions, but really what I wanted was some old-fashioned drawers and cabinets of rocks labelled with little more than delicately inked numbers. And Te Papa is many wonderful things, but it is not at all that kind of museum. I did however buy myself a small trilobite fossil (from Utah) in the children's gift shop. At last a 'live' model to stitch from instead of photos!

Finally, we staggered out, exhausted and happy, into the chill dusk and collapsed at Sweet Mother's Kitchen until it was time to return to the airport. Not quite hungry enough for an early dinner, we were unable to resist the dessert menu and shared pieces of Key Lime pie and Bourbon Pecan pie. Heaven.

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