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From Rotorua to Wellington, New Zealand

On the ferry from Wellington to Picton.

On the ferry from Wellington to Picton.

Since Rotorua, I have traveled nearly 11 hours by bus and am currently on the ferry, traveling across Cook Straight which divides the North and South Islands of New Zealand (connects the Tasman Sea with the South Pacific Ocean).

Five hours by bus from Rotorua, I stopped for two days in Ohakune, a small ski town in Tongariro National Park which is the home of the very active volcano: Mount Ruapehu.  I was really hoping to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which can be done in winter provided you pay for a guide, but the weather made it impossible and I caught a cold which sealed the deal.  It rained both days in Ohakune and I stayed inside eating copious amounts of salad and kiwis to try and recover from my cold as quickly as possible.

The five hour bus ride from Ohakune to Wellington was scenic passing through vast expanses of desert-like rolling hills and verdant areas as well.  We were two hours late arriving in Wellington due to snow on a pass and a subsequent car accident ahead of us that had us stalled for at least an hour.

Wellington is a cool and windy port city.  It’s got a lot of energy, a huge ethnic mix and a hip, cutting edge vibe to it.  There are a million trendy boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants and a lively waterfront where runners run, hipsters drink coffee, and cargo ships get loaded and unloaded.

Te Papa National Museum

Te Papa National Museum

Not feeling very well, I chose to take it relatively easy and walk the waterfront and go to Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum and art gallery, where I bought tickets to the Andy Warhol exhibit and an exhibit of Impressionist artworks.  When buying my ticket, the man asked me if I was a student.  “Yes”, I said…a student of life.  Discount!  Yes!

I’d never seen Andy Warhol’s work in real life and I have to say it gave me hope that anyone, no matter how talentless, can become famous.  I don’t get it.  I see no difference between him and a Kardashian.  Of particular annoyance were the ladies discussing the nuances of each piece of artwork.  Warhol himself said he was a talentless hack and there was nothing deep going on in his work.  Maya Angelou once said: “If someone tells you who they are, believe them.”  I believe Andy.

I then examined artwork by some of the great Impressionists: Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Rodin.  These paintings could have been plucked out of a mall art show in Missouri.  Renoir’s paintings particularly were hideous to me, which was a revelation as I seem to remember loving his work years ago.  The Impressionists, like Andy, were the mavericks of their time and my reaction was the same: “What crap!”  But what do I know.

Te Papa is mammoth museum. You could spend weeks there.  So I felt bad that I was tired and ready to leave after just a couple hours.  The highlight of my visit was visiting the natural wonders area and seeing a real dead colossal squid, the biggest squid on the planet, suspended in a yellow liquid.  Basketball size eyes!  Tentacles as big as a man!  I’m easily amused.

Onward to Picton!



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