Wellington. I turned up here on a whim to see Tenacious D and, a week later, I cannot leave.
Every day, I wake up in time to check out of my hostel, intent on leaving the city…
Every night, I check back into my hostel and vow to leave on the morrow.
It is no use. I am smitten.
I spend my days on Cuba Street, the Bohemian heart of the city, where I peruse the Army Surplus store (everything the Guild could ever need or want), browse the rock n roll record shops and stop for cake OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!
My mornings are spent strolling by the water front, visiting the museums and catching the bus to the suburbs. Most days, I pop into Rockshop and play guitars worth more than my car before somebody destroyed it and my financial security in one selfish clusterfuck of a snow day.
Come the afternoons, I pick my way through the second-hand bookshops, make a selection for the day and spend my lunchtime sipping coffee, reading and watching the city pass me by.
One day, I visit the Weka Cave and have a tour of their workshop, where they smith all kinds of weapons, armour and props for movies like Lord of the Rings and District 9.
Another day, I visit Zealandia wildlife reserve and have a rather underwhelming few hours of tedious tramping, apparently looking for birds. Luckily, it is Wellington Day, so entry only costs $2 rather than the usual $29 or so.
Every other day, I visit POWERHOUSE HARDCORE GYM, where I torture my body into accepting that it has become pitifully small and weak over the last few months. The briefest squat session (sets at 60, 80, 100 and 120kg), followed my some leg presses has me in agony for days! It is a good pain, however. A pain I am very used to.
Luckily, Powerhouse is also owned by Wellington’s nicest man, Warren, and home to more champion power lifters and weight lifters than I have met in the rest of my life combined. Every one of them is a delight to spend time with and it is all I can do to see the other sights of Wellington and not just spend my time in the gym.
Come the evenings, I drink incredible craft beer and happy hour cocktails. I listen to live music and walk the streets, flitting from bar to bar and inevitably winding up in Midnight Express, where they serve fantastic coffee and wonderful cakes until 03:00 or 04:00.
Here, I sit and watch the morning creep in.
There is a special kind of solitude one can only find in a city. Walking the mountains or standing by the side of the road, one is by oneself – but out of necessity. There is simply nobody else there. Here, however, with a constant stream of people passing by, one has to truly and constantly choose to be by oneself.
Here, in the nosiest environment, I find the most silence. Here with the most people, I feel most alone. Here I can disappear for as long as I want, knowing that I can resurface at any time I want.
Here, I feel content and – for once – truly, truly happy.
After 03:00 coffee, cake and writing, I make my way back to my hostel and snatch 5 hours of restless sleep (the beds in Nomad’s Capital are the nosiest I have ever encountered), before it is time to rise and check out…and do it all over again.
This cannot go on. But how I wish it could.