Monday, April 28, 2014

Day Eight: The day we started in civilization and ended in the wilderness where our main goals were to not touch the shower with our bare feet or get eaten alive by bugs

Get ready Day Eight - it's your turn!!

So there we were, suddenly in a city, laundry (mostly) done and otherwise ready to ROCK the north island. Wellington was a really great city and we enjoyed our quality time there. First on the agenda: BREAKFAST.

We did a good job of having breakfast during normal breakfast time hours throughout the trip, but weird things happened to our appetites after breakfast and it would then be 3 o'clock and we'd be all "oh hey, let's have lunch!" but then we'd be somewhere super remote so we'd eat a granola bar and then remember that we were hungry again at like 8 o'clock, by which point the open dining options were limited but it generally always worked out for the best.

But speaking of working out for the best, that morning we had the best breakfast I've ever had. Carrie wasn't willing to give it THAT significant of a title, but she did text me a picture a month or so ago of her re-created version of our Wellington breakfast so it was certainly memorable.

It was breakfast bruschetta or something and was basically crusty bread toast, tomatoes, basil, onion, avocado and bacon and HOLY HECK my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.

The restaurant was another SOLID recommendation from a hotel front desk clerk and was well worth the trek across town to this Cuban-themed coffee/breakfast joint. I was distracted by the bare feet on some of the other diners (which reminds me I need to ask my kiwi friend Jody about this), but not so distracted that I couldn't enjoy the heck out of my breakfast.

From there we walked along the waterfront and over to the Te Papa Museum, which is on the list of 1,000 things to see before you die. It's a museum of New Zealand culture and it covered a wide range of surprising but interesting topics.

Like the 1983 Miss Universe's dress, won by New Zealand's own Lorraine Downes.

 Here I am showing you what I'd look like if I won:

And then also hats designed to collect the sperm of endangered birds:

That's one for the resume, don't you think!?

It really had much more in terms of significant cultural exhibits and wasn't just about Miss Universe and ejaculation helmets, I swear. For example, I thought this was actually a pretty interesting fact:

There was also an earthquake exhibit that I thought was adorable and sort of ehhhhhh, but the other visitors seemed to think it was awesome. They should visit the Tech Museum in San Jose, California though because I think the Tech's earthquake exhibit is way cooler. Or, you know, just experience life as a California native.

But anyhooters, there you have it - Wellington was a lovely city with the perks of city'dom but still small enough to walk though.

After a morning spent kicking around, we picked up our next rental car (with radio controls in ENGLISH, which was an amazing luxury) and headed north to a hostel near the glow worm caves:

It was another long day of driving, but New Zealand never disappoints in terms of scenery.

And then after getting lost because I'd forgotten that the directions to the hostel had been foggy when I looked them up while still at home in California and remembering that I'd made a mental note to get better directions when we got there (oops), and then increasing angst that we'd run out of gas out in the middle of NOWHERE (Pro tip: Get gas when you're at half a tank because the gas stations in New Zealand are not plentiful), we found our hostel.

This hostel was pretty rustic and there were many more bugs than I was comfortable with, but HOT DAMN, they had a bar! So we made the adult decision to have enough beers to make us not care that we might get eaten alive by bugs while we slept. It turned out to be a fascinating evening in terms of us totally eavesdropping and rolling our eyes at the probably privileged American 20 year olds getting all philosophical about life. I remember my Facebook post about that evening had something to do with this one dude who thought his parents were harshing his gig for insisting that he have health insurance.

As old timey Burning Man veterans, topics like "I would rather spend my money at Burning Man (or in New Zealand) than prioritizing things like health care or paying rent" really get Carrie and me fired up because we're totally on Team TAKE CARE OF YOUR ADULT RESPONSIBILITIES BEFORE YOU SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON PARTIES so our eyes were rolling pretty far back into our heads.

Ohhhhhhhhh, kids. Excuse me while I go pay for the next round of beers with money that I earned for myself and that did not get siphoned off my bill paying budget.

So after we enjoyed our dinner of beer, potato chips and eavesdropping while watching the Olympics in the hostel bar, we retired to our moderately questionable room for the night and appreciated the fact that we were grown up ladies and weren't 20 years old anymore.

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