|I'm only invisible when nobody's watching
||[Dec. 10th, 2008|08:05 am]
Christchurch is pretty damn awesome. It's been called the most English city outside of England, and it's also listed as a "sister city" to Seattle. (Canterbury University looks a lot like the Evergreen State College) I mean, the center of downtown is a huge motherloving cathedral with it's own square and everything, which is if course where the city's name comes from. There's a clocktower that chimes out the hours. There's an awesome little park a few hundred feet away that's a genuine, as opposed to brick, oasis -- it's got a duck pond and a stream flowing through it and everything, way better than Wellington's lame Te Aro park, which is just a bunch of grass triangles to conveniently cut yourself along the edges as you waltz through the neon & concrete jungle. There's also a couple of different park-ish "squares" that are much larger at different places in the central city area, maybe I'll sit there and read at some point while I'm here. Things are open here on almost an american schedule, or at least it feels like it, and the city itself seems comparably more active late at night. For instance, at a quarter after ten last night I was on my way back from the chilling out at the water mill and I started to hear what sounded like pan pipes playing "greensleeves" or something similar. By the time I located the sound, It turned out to be a a well-manicured middle aged man wearing a suit and playing the recorder. By this time he was playing "it's a small world." Too fucking true, especially in this country. (I ran into a guy named Adam from SRQ in the Wellington Rockshop on Sunday -- he used to work at Sam Ash on 41) I thought it was cute, but kept walking until I heard cheering, and went to see what the commotion was about. He'd switched to singing some kind of old school asian melody and there were 11 asians dancing around him in circles or something. He did another asian tune to which they danced to, and he asked them "hong kong?" to which they replied "korea." The whole thing was awesome, but it was pretty bizarre. He reminded me of Robert Forster,, and I felt like he should have been majordormo at some classy establishment, or playing at a casino or something instead of pocket change, and was almost surprised to see a box out with some coins in it. Since he was set up in front of an ANZ bank, I imagined perhaps he was a bank executive who was busking for the fun of it, or that perhaps it was some sort of bait for a late night sales pitch.
Speaking of aesthetics, nothing as horrible as that at the AAPNZ conference, but I haven't been that interested in the talks so far. Granted I keep coming in late to some of them, and I was really tired on Monday from the night before. Weather was a bit nasty yesterday, which was a bummer too. I'm resolved to go to conference intoxicated today, perhaps on caffeine pills, because otherwise I'm not sure I want to waste another day of my trip sleeping through lectures (present the paper you bastards, don't read it like you're Ben Stein) and I'd just go do something else (pretty much like I did yesterday -- went to KMart (!!) and got a fishing rod for when the weather gets better. I may have to ditch it before I get on the ferry, unless I can break it down far enough. That's why I got the cheapest thing I could find -- a kid's fishing rod. Hey, it'll get the job done.).
In my time off from the conference, I'm basically here as a tourist. But doing sedentary shit like studying and working seems to have sapped the traveler's curiosity in Wellington, since I know I haven't done all the tourist stuff there. I still haven't been to the national gallery, or the adam art gallery. Haven't gone boating out on the bay. Haven't seen Parliament. Haven't been up to the wind turbine, and that's in my backyard. And I'm sure there's stuff I'm forgetting and stuff I don't even know about. Fortunately weather's getting better, so when I go back to Wellington I can take advantage of some of the outdoor stuff a bit more. Although I'm flirting with the idea of not staying for long.
It's nice having a car for a couple of days. I seem to be handling the new driving rules allright, so either my crash course on the plane paid off or it really isn't that hard. (Experiment: shout "Crash!" repeatedly on an airplane and observe reactions of passengers.) I guess it shouldn't be surprising -- your basic driving skills are just being reflected across the y-axis of your brain. 'course, it's also a bit of a pain in the ass, I do just like walking places now and not having to worry about finding places to park downtown in Wellington.
I must have forgotten how "interesting" hostels can be. When I was a few feet away from the door I passed a shuttle driver in a disagreement with a dreadlocked backpacker with an accent I've never heard before over the agreed price. I ran into a bunch of israelis, it seems these guys are everywhere these days. And four american guys talking to each other in the lounge pretty damn loudly and generally being obnoxious by their very presence. Damn, is that a bunch of americans together looks like? I really hope not. Either that or NZ's getting to me. Anyway, it was unnerving enough that I went and took a walk, and I wasn't able to take 5 steps out of the hostel before I got propositioned by a prostitute, and then another one 50 feet away. One of them was actually surprisingly hot, but hearing "free blowjob" made me think about where her mouth had been, so I told her no thanks, but have a lovely evening.
After the conference today I might go to the contemporary art museum, maybe I'll get fucked up for that too. Hey it's a holiday, why not.
I really like the fact that I don't know where everything is yet. It feels right somehow. I hope this doesn't become an addiction, but I suspect that it might.