I apologize in advance for turning this blog into a travelogue, at least for the next two weeks. But you see, I never go anywhere. (well, unless you count BlogHer). Finally, after 20 years, my husband and I have taken a trip together. He is speaking at Linux Conference Australia and I came along for the ride. Well, actually more like a 12 hour plane trip to New Zealand. But if you absolutely cannot stand it, you can take the advice to the left and exit...in an orderly fashion.
I plan to record the stay for family and those who might care. I loaded the images smaller to make it easy to upload from New Zealand, but you can visit my flickr for the larger images. Most of the pictures are available larger. Just click on the pictures for more detail.
After twelve hours on the plane, we arrived in Auckland only to have to sprint to our connecting flight transfer to Wellington. We had little time to make our connection and were really out of breath (which meant I could curse my husband less for such a short layover). After a short hop, we landed in Wellington. It was raining and windy. It still is...and is scheduled to rain all week.
Our car picked us up and took us to the no-frills student housing which was a trip down Twenty-Something Lane about twenty years too late. We walked into our "room" to find a large stain on the floor of something nondescript, a sink, a rickety double bed with a thin coverlet, a stainless steel military-issue desk and an Ikea-type budget wardrobe. That's it. I have to tell you, after twelve hours on the flight to Auckland, and another hour to Wellington, it was too much for me. I cried. Go ahead, laugh. Ok, you suck. No, really. I am laughing about it now as well. But at the time? It wasn't funny.
The room has NO bathroom. I have to go down the hall to the bathroom and the shower. And the shower? Ack, don't get me started! It isn't a spray, it is a spigot, sticking out of the wall. And the hot water is non-existent. I washed my hair in cold water and it took a long time to get warm again. Clearly, this set up was designed by the Marquis Du Sade. Or his evil twin brother, Hector. I do have to say, the "common areas" of the place make up for it. There is a really nice tv room, a communal meeting area, an exercise area with recumbent bikes and a kitchen as well. And a giant chess board. How cool is that?
I have to give my JNerd a pass on this one, though. He wanted to be where the students were so he could hang out and get to know them. And it is his conference,not mine. He is in a select group of speakers here, there's a lot of competition for those coveted speaker slots. So I have to give credit where it is due. It's His Thing. I just let him do it.
The venue for the conference is beautiful. Located at the convention center, it is well-appointed for events. The main hall is daunting and amazing. It is also where JNerd is going to be speaking on Friday. Wow.
The town is quaint and picturesque. It's artsy. Because it is a student town, it is also a mecca for backpackers. There are a lot of very inexpensive accommodations here. The vibe is young, and funky. Everyone I have seen is physically fit and stylish. I on the other hand, brought summer clothes, because well, it is supposed to be summer here! But it is colder than my southern California winter. Go figure.
The food here is good, when you can find it. We had wonderful breakfast this morning. I am now ruined for pancakes without ice cream and strawberries.yes, ice cream on pancakes..who'da thunk? Dinner was a bit tougher. Being Sunday, most every place closes early. We had to walk quite a few blocks before we found the Belgian restaurant where we eventually were able to get dinner. Walking back, it was dark, and windy. But our bellies were full of delicious warm yummies to sustain us on the walk back to the hotel.
Dinner was passable: meatloaf sandwich, a bit peppery. But dessert was amazing. And I had the most perfect cappuccino to prove it.
Tomorrow, I join the Partner's Program for the duration of the conference. Wellington bus tour here I come. Nobody here but us tourists!
T, who is enjoying the first real vacation in 20 years