Napier III: Loose ends

Why, I ought to finish writing about my Napier adventure.

On Friday noon I visited the Hawke’s Bay Museum. It’s in a grand old art deco building with additions from the ’50s and the ’70s. From the sound of things, they’re going to do some restoration which will probably include pretending the ’70s never happened.

There were a lot of good exhibits crammed into the little building. I liked the 20th Century Design in the Home exhibit, where I realised that the pink ghettoblaster I had when I was 13 is probably a design classic now.

On Saturday morning I was feeling kinda lazy and wandered around the bustling downtown area. I eventually ended up in the MIA shop, where I bought a T-shirt that cost more than my total T-shirt spending in 2005. But it’s, like, a totally awesome T-shirt.

Then I went to the National Aquarium of New Zealand. I was not previously aware that Aotearoa New Zealand had a national aquarium, but indeed it does. It has lots of fish in tanks, a walkway through a tank a la Kelly Tarlton’s, and a a kiwi enclosure, because, uh, the kiwi is actually a fish-bird.

After that I had lunch in a cafe that was so art deco’d out that I would have left in disgust had the food not been good and reasonably priced. While I was waiting for my latte, I made a shocking realisation. On the wall I saw a collection of Jack Vettriano prints. It’s that kind of sentimental 1920s-inspired art that fits right in with the art deco obsession that has gripped Napier. It’s a perfect match, tragically.

It was time to do some more walking, so I walked up the big hill thing again. As I did on Friday, my journey up the hill was via a really steep flight of steps building to the side of the cliff. This sort of thing makes me feel very weak and wobbly, but the view from the top was worth it.

I eventually made my way to the Bluff Hill lookout, and admired the sparkling blue waters of Hawke’s Bay. Then I found a path down and walked along the waterfront with the Port of Napier on one side and the steep sides of Bluff Hill on the other, which also made me feel weak and wobbly. O, nature.

I discovered the Centennial Gardens, complete with a fake waterfall, and the Old Napier Prison, now a backpackers hostel (and they do tours, but I was too late!).

It is, it seems, always bittersweet saying goodbye to Napier. I found myself again at the bus station wanting to leave but not wanting to leave.

The bus ride back (seven hours) was all right. I ended up sitting next to a surly teen who was furiously texting someone the whole journey. Across the aisle from me were some young bogan parents who’d had their first romantic weekend away from their kids, and Mr Bogan wanted the lovin’ to continue on the bus. OMG gross.

My iPod used up all its juice just north of Tokoroa, so instead of the guitar pop of The Cribs, I listened to the British backpacker girl chatting with her seatmate, a fellow from Whangamata. Their chitchat got more and more flirty, as it progressed from discussing their tertiary education to how firm his muscles were. When the bus got to Auckland, I saw them get off and noticed that they were both incredibly good looking, but sadly he had family who’d come to pick him up and she had a plane to catch, so fate cruelly pried their attractiveness apart. But he did give her a copy of his comic book, so who knows.

I took a million photos, so when I’ve sorted them out, I shall upload.

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