Day 10 Napier
The camper van parking lot we stayed in was great. It had a nice accessible bathroom and was parked right on the beach so we had a great view of the ocean. As well as other camper vans. There was a nice paved path along the beach. And it was free! It was my favorite place we parked thus far.
We ate NZ cereal and leftover pancakes for breakfast. The cereal is called wheat bix. Apparently it is NZ favorite cereal. According to the box we bought. They are sort of like squished mini wheats. And get soggy just as fast. But they were pretty good.
We went to church in Napier today. It was a very small ward. Maybe 40 people. Needless today we were noticed when we came in. They didn’t have an organist or pianist for the hymns. So we sang a cappella. It was very cool. It allows us to add more harmonies when singing. Which we liberally took advantage of. The bishop or at least the person conducting the meeting looked Mormon Utah bred. And when he spoke he did indeed sound like an American. Turns out he’s Canadian. Either way my people!
Sunday school was interesting. There were maybe 10 of us in class. It was taught by a really intense older woman. She would call people out for not studying the lesson beforehand. It was comforting to know that there are hell fire and damnation people in other parts of the world besides Utah and the South. I think if I lived here I’d be friends with her.
Then we went to the Sunken gardens in Napier for lunch where we ate hummus wraps we made. The sunken gardens are apparently a big tourist attraction but it was pretty small and the only reason it was sunken is because they dug a hole in the beach and planted stuff there. It was cute though. Becca took a Lenalapse, which is a time lapse but moving and featuring yours truly. It was a hot day. Probably the hottest of our whole trip. 31 degrees Celsius. We calculated it to be about 84.7 degree Fahrenheit. Thanks AP chemistry.
Afterwards we got back in our camper van and drove 4 hours to Wellington. We stayed in a parking lot of a motel. It was nice because there was an accessible bathroom and shower. It’s kinda cool that camper vans are such a cultural norm here that even motels cater to their business.
Day 11 Wellington
Woke up and took a shower for the first time in too long to share. The accessible shower bathroom combo was interesting. Basically the sink and the shower just drained into this mysterious hole in the ground. Like I could see the sink water just empty into the hole. Luckily the toilet water did not do this.
Once we got cleaned up we went to the Weta Caves. This sounds like another cool glow worm cave. In fact it is not. It is Peter Jackson’s production company. It was in a kind of funny area. We basically went to the suburbs of Wellington and the studio was in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We saw the props workshop. We saw how they make swords and armor and hair. Like in LOTR. But they’ve worked on other films too. Turns out peter Jackson is from NZ. It was really cool to see how everything is done. Props and special effects. It seems like the Pixar of NZ. Everyone wants to work there.
Then we went to the Te Papa Muséum downtown. It is NZ national museum and is free! They had a display about the Gallipoli siege in WW1 where NZ helped fight the Turks in what sounds like a really bloody and disorganized ambush. The weta studios that we visited earlier also made some huge lifelike displays of the soldiers that were featured in the exhibit. It was crazy how they were able to capture the sweat on the soldiers faces. Another thing I learned is that they called Australians and NZ soldiers Anzacs.
We also went to a NZ nature exhibit. We got to see how NZ formed from Pangea. Many of it is still under water. Becca was amazed that geckos floated over from Australia. Also the first humans (the Maori) didn’t come over until about 800 years ago. That’s not very long.
We also saw a NZ artist exhibit. There was a really cool modern art display as you went in with a bunch of strings from the ceiling to the floor that were very taut and had colored plastic shards found through the strings. There were thousands of them and took up the whole room. Becca loved it and wants to build one in her future home. You also go above it on a bridge to get to the other area of the exhibit. We saw a sign as we were crossing that said if you dropped anything in the display that you wouldn’t be able to retrieve it until Jan 2020. Not sure how long the display had already been up. But it seems like that could be a long time.
Then we went to go find dinner. Becca was having trouble paying with her contactless credit card on her Fitbit for our parking lot ticket to get out. So we awkwardly had to jump out and pay at another station before the parking lot barricade arm would let us out. Technology failure!
We decided to eat pizza again for dinner. We chose Hell Pizza, not because of the reviews which was an accurate 4.1, but for the namesake. Obviously. The names for their pizza were based off of the 7 deadly sins. As well as Mordor references. The vegetarian pizza was Pride. We ate that one. It was good but not the best I’ve eaten. The cheese could have been better.
Once we felt gluttonous enough we went back to our camper van parking lot and watched an episode of the Mandalorian while eating a donut with caramel and white chocolate (also from Hell Pizza).