I spent the spring semester of 2010 studying in New Zealand through the ISEP program. I used this blog to keep an account of my school experience and as a record of the adventures I found. Hopefully it can serve two purposes: to have kept my friends and family informed of my travels and experiences; as well as to serve as a reminder of how important the study abroad experience is, whether it's in New Zealand or not.
24 April 2010
Easter Break - Friday 2/4/10 - Wellington
I hear Sandy leaving at 6AM and am thankful I get to sleep another two hours. We didn't stay out late the night before, but it was late enough for me. Just as I'm drifting off again, I hear my cell phone vibrating on the floor. After hearing what I thought might have been Sandy knocking before, I figure maybe it's her and she needs something; perhaps she locked herself out. But it's a number that's not in my phone. I get the text my dad wants to come and I have to call home. Only slightly regretfully, I get up and turn on my computer. I may not get those two more hours of sleep, but it'll be worth it. One hour later my dad has a flight into Nelson and a day to pack. I try my hardest to sleep for one more hour, but it's useless and I quit to finish packing and eat breakfast. I barely get ready in time, only to discover there is no bus in to town on Good Friday. Luckily the big group of North Island traveler's haven't left yet and I manage to catch a ride with them. I make it to the main bus terminal in plenty of time. The bus ride is fairly uneventful. At one point a little boy sits down next to me. His unaccompanied minor permission form says his name is Cody. I'm reminded of the Rescuers Down Under which we watched the other night. Suddenly the ocean pops up next to the road. It's surprising because I just didn't see any warning and as unfamiliar as I am with this place, I had no idea how close we were. I take off from the combo railway/bus/shuttle station in search of a hostel. It's not long before I see the signs for Armageddon, a Kiwi Comi-Con. At this point I start to worry about the room availability. The first place I stop in has no rooms. So I retrace my steps back to the station where there's another hostel. They tell me they're all full, but they'll call around and try to find me a place. As I'm waiting a young man walks in asking "Is there any space? Please say yes because I've already been to seven places." Another receptionist looks for him and finds they do have something open. So I luck out and manage to get a room for both nights. So, once I've stowed my stuff, I head back out on the town. I'm unsuccessful at locating the Wellington Sea Museum, which is strange because I passed it twice earlier. So I just wander the main streets thinking I'll eventually catch the cable car up to the Botanical Gardens. But I totally misjudged the distance on the map and end up always going way past where I want to be. So I eventually enter the gardens from the other end. It was well worth the walking as I'm greeted by the smell and color of the rose garden. It's getting to be fall, so I wouldn't say everything is in full bloom, but it's been quite warm the past few days and I think the plants are happy about it. I spend the next hours wandering through the gardens. Sometimes retracing my steps to catch all the highlights. There's an endangered plants section, a succulent section, a flowers section, and a sculpture section that I mange to hit. I end up at the observatory area. There is a WWI and WWII plaque. And a German Cannon (though to be the only of its kind left of 190) from WWI. I get to the cable car museum, but it's closed, so I just take the ride down. Walking back to the hostel, everything's closed. I see two bars and a BK open. Completely by accident I run into the government buildings. Turning, I notice the Beehive, so I take a quick detour to their lawns to get a peak at them. I finally make it back to the hostel and make myself some dinner. It's 8:30 by the time I start writing this. I listen to two guys from the Netherlands talking to one from England and another from near Ithaca, NY. They eventually leave to find a bar and I"m left nearly alone in the 23 bed dorm. But as you might imagine with 23 people sharing a room, you're never alone for very long. It's 10 to 10 as I finish this and I am thoroughly ready for sleep.