I made it to Wellington on the overnight Intercity bus. My neck is still sore from the bizarre sleeping configurations I had to fold myself into. Luckily though, it was completely silent and very smoothe, it felt a lot like a train, especially from the top level.
Arriving at 7AM, I decided to stretch my legs and walk to the hostel – it was a bit longer than I expected, but 2KM isn’t that bad, especially since I’m traveling pretty light. My hostel is a hotel in the front and backpackers in the back. One of my roommates works nights (I haven’t met her yet) and the other works days (her name is Lee, she’s a German with an Australian accent). The hostel isn’t great for meeting people as the kitchen is quite small and the common area is centered around the tv.
All day Tuesday I just walked around, getting reacquainted with Wellington. It reminds me so much of San Francisco with the hills and cool breeze off the ocean. I’m even starting to feel like a local that I walk on the correct side (left) and don’t have to live by my pocket map. I decided that if I was acting like a local, I should dress like one. So I found a secondhand clothing shop and bought jeans (jeans!!) and a jumper (sweatshirt). I figure when I leave here, I’ll either ditch them or send them home.
Today, Wednesday, I had an interview with Volunteer Wellington to find me somewhere to volunteer for a month. On the way to their office, I saw a GP and thought I’d drop in and make an appointment (TMI: I need more birth control pills). Turns out they had a free appointment starting in 5 minutes, so I gave them some info, saw the doctor (a really cute, 30-something named Barney), and left with 6 months worth for $110NZD ($70-appt, $40-pills)! That’s $55 US! God, I love this country.
Once at Volunteer Wellington, the interview went ok – basically she did all the same searches I already did on the internet and then printed them out. The woman, an older Indian woman, was really nice though – she was filling out some paperwork and checked the box “20-29” and I corrected her: “next one down”. She looked at me and asked “how old are you?” I had mentioned my partner was hiking earlier in the conversation, so when I told her my age, she said “you should be married”. Tell me about it, sister. 🙂
I’ve narrowed the jobs down to managing the website for a women’s domestic violence nonprofit and helping out at the SPCA. The women’s nonprofit should be calling me in the next few days (they’re moving offices) and I’m supposed to call the SPCA on Friday morning to talk to their volunteer coordinator.
While I was at their office though, I saw a flier on deaf week here in Wlgtn and it had the NZ sign language alphabet. In my limited foreign sign language experience, I think it’s similar to British sign as it uses both hands (American Sign Language uses one hand for letters).
I somehow missed the highlight of my day – breakfast! I ate at a restaurant Blair, Suzanne, and I went to last time we were here: Sweet Mother’s Kitchen. Best breakfast outside of the Pork Store in SF…mmmm.Pork Store. Turns out it’s where a lot of locals go for their breakfast or just to grab a coffee before work. The highlight by far was that my tea came in a teapot with a tea cosy!
A wee bit of drama: I went to extend my hostel stay for the weekend and they’re booked – as well as every single place in town. There’s a music festival this weekend, which apparently is much larger than I expected.
So, I decided to take a weekend holiday from my holiday and take the ferry to Picton where there’s lots of kayaking and tramping. I’ll spend the weekend and come back on Sunday night. When I come back, I also decided to stay somewhere different. There’s a hostel that’s very new just outside of Wellington in Plimmerton. It looks amazing – they have free kayaks, bikes, they’re right on the ocean just a 30 min train ride from Wellington city. AND they’re looking for someone to work for accommodation! I booked 4 nights with them to start and I’ll see if it’s not too far out of town for my taste (and my potential new job(s)).
Next week when I get back, I’m going to check out some of the films in the Documentary Film Festival…