As fate would have it – and fate had a lot this last weekend – I didn’t end up going to Mike’s birthday picnic. I went to ring him up to arrange details, but the only place I had his phone number was stored in my cell phone, and that wasn’t going because the batteries were dead from all the phone calls Mike had made on it the day before. Ha!

So I decided to be a tourist.

The Cable Car
The guy in the ticket booth was rocking out to Good Charlotte. “I don’t ever wanna be yoooo-ooooou,” he enthusiastically sang as I approached and stood by the ticket booth. “I don’t wanna be just like you! Hi. How can I help you?” The car did its duty crawling up the side of the hill. Up the top it was windy and the view was obscured by clouds. I visited the cable car museum, then went back down.

When I was about seven, I went on a tour of Parliament. I remember my brother sneakily sitting in the chair of the then Prime Minister Rob Muldoon. I also remember that the tour included the Beehive. But now, according to the tour guide, the Beehive is “boring” and “only offices”, and therefore not worthy of being part of the official tour. I have this theory that when buildings get to be about 30-40 years old they’re considered to be ugly and undesirable. A couple of decades later this will pass, but at the 30-40 year stage they are at the greatest risk of neglect and demolition. There was talk a few years ago of the Beehive being relocated so that a “proper” wing of the parliament building could be built in its place. No, it’s time that people stop moaning and open their eyes and realise what an incredibly cool building the Beehive is and that it needs to be given some love and respect.

Te Papa
There’s mural of Liv Tyler (in character as that elf chick from “Lord of the Rings”) on a wall in the cafeteria. Ah yes, good old Te Papa. The exhibits still seem pitched at children, with descriptions written in a simplistic language, as if every paragraph ends with an invisible “… and isn’t that nice?” Fortunately I got to officially bitch about this when a lady stopped me on the way out and asked if I’d complete a visitor survey. There’s a really cool whare nui with multi-coloured, modern carvings, the centrepiece being Maui and his brothers slowing down the sun. I was excited by the exhibit on Japanese and Japanese-influenced fashion, and the selection of Kiri Te Kanawa’s gowns. But the most thrilling exhibit is still the shakin’ earthquake house.

The Waterfront
Only to say that all those pieces of poetry and prose about Wellington set into concrete aren’t quite as cool as they seem. It’s like, there’ll be this really hip and groovy looking piece of concrete with some writing in a cool font, but upon closer reading the writing ends up meaning nothing more than “I think Wellington is quite choice.” Oh wait, let me have a go at writing such a poem:

wellington is the
c cell battery in
the vibrator of my
soul that pleasures
me when my husband
auckland is overseas
on business

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