Wangaz

So it turns out my “clean” and “good value” motel has cheap wireless interweb. It comes and goes, but I’ve been able to check my email and discover that I can’t respond to it because I can’t use my usual SMTP server.

ANYWAY, this morning I went up the Durie Hill lift. In 1916, the good people of the Durie Hill suburb said, “OMG, the hill is too high! We don’t want to walk all that way up! Boohoo!!!” so The Man cut a tunnel into the hill and then a hole up to the top of the hill and put a lift in it. The lift is still in use today, and for $1 I rode the lift with its ’70s wood-look Formica interior right up to the top of Durie Hill.

Fortunately there’s something to do up the top, namely walk up to the top of the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower, which is rather donger-like in shape. Pics to come. The tower offers splendid views, and on a clear day you can see Mt Taranaki, Mt Ruapehu, and even the South Island, but today was cloudy around the edges.

Then I went on to the Sarjeant Gallery, a white neo-classical building atop a hill. It’s like a temple of art. I liked the selection of works in the 2006 Wanganui Arts Review, and Philip Trusttum’s “Pictures at an exhibition” collection.

Next I visited the Wanganui District Museum, which annoyed me because, like many museums, it seemed geared towards children. “Can you think what happens when adults feel like they’re being treated like dumb-arses?” In one exhibit, there was a brief mention of Wanganui’s rock “stars” The Have (Whatever happened to them?).

Across from that is the Wanganui War Memorial Hall, which is the coolest building in New Zealand.

All this sight-seeing is becoming a blur. Somewhere today I was singing a guestbook. Two guys had written their tag in the “name” box and under comments put “WESTSIDE”, so crossed it out and wrote “Eastside 4 Life” in neat lady’s handwriting. I’ve probably started a turf war.

Wanganui’s a nice enough place, but it seems stuck in this ye olde Victoriana theme of its main street. Even the phone boxes are ye olde. But just like Napier’s art deco obsession, it turns out that the most interesting buildings are the ones that aren’t from the celebrated era.

So tomorrow I’m off to… Well, I haven’t decided yet. Perhaps Palmerston North. Any suggestions made before 9.30 tomorrow morning will be considered.

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