Posted by: facetothewind | May 22, 2013

Around town

On the home front:


Early winter’s blue.
Will we see the sun today
or more shades of gray?


Steve doing his early morning routine by sunrise.

A slight calm has settled over the hilltop apartment. The boys are making peace with their separation, each taking care to remember what was valuable about their years together. And each facing the spaciousness of not being coupled. I am slowly coming back out of hiding in my room.


The view from my desk. I watch for breaks in weather and then head out on the bike.

A little morsel about food in Wellington:


Click to enlarge panorama.

Above is the Maranui Café which is a super groovy healthy food restaurant without any pretense. Delicious food at reasonable prices. Below is their poached eggs on toast with spinach and their hot chocolate which is traditionally served with marshmallow sides.



Hot chocolate in New Zealand is never served hot, fyi. It’s warm because it’s made with milk and they don’t want to scald it.


Waffles on the wharf at Tuatua. ($8 NZD = $6.40 USD)

Wellington has a lot of great ethnic foods like Middle Eastern and Asian…

Salmon in phyllo dough at Café Istanbul on Cuba St. Two for one entrees on Sundays and Mondays. ($15 NZD each = $12 USD)

Salmon in phyllo dough at Café Istanbul on Cuba St. Two for one mains on Sundays and Mondays. ($15 NZD each = $12 USD). In NZ, an ‘entree’ is an appetizer and the main dish is called a ‘main.’ FYI.


Seafood laksa at KK Malaysian on Ghuznee Street. $10 NZD (about $8 USD)


Fish and chips NZ style…which is served British style wrapped in paper with a deep fried hot dog thrown in…just in case you hadn’t gotten enough fat.

Welly’s famous Café life:

The cafe scene is the most lively and endearing aspect of Wellington. There are more than 300 cafés in this little city. Tucked down allies, in basements and on the famous Cuba Street. Wellington has more cafés per capita than New York City.


The origin of the café scene started out with traditional English tea houses. But the Yankees stationed here in WWII didn’t like tea and the coffee available was substandard so milk bars flourished. Eventually those gave way to coffee houses opened by Jewish and European refugees after the war who wanted a little taste of Europe here in the South Pacific. Read a good history of the coffee house from milk bar to pub to modern café here.

I’ve spent more evenings in cafés with friends talking and singing over pots of tea (with tea cozies) than I have probably spent in 12 years of living in Tucson. There are about a half dozen cafés in every block of town. Here is Conrad (left) Tom (center) and Ewan (right) at Connie’s favorite café Sweet Mother’s…


A little bit about fashion…


Well, no place has everything (except Paris). Fine fashion in Wellington is something you really have to seek out. What’s in the windows of shops is often horrifying.



There’s a certain British dowdiness mixed in with reckless Eastern bloc pattern mixing and Chinese fashion punchy colors. Someone called Wellington the East Berlin of the South Pacific.


Would like to play soccer in those beauties. Game over!



The barefoot kiwi phenom. No shoes required in the grocery store and not even cold weather deters the intrepid barefooted.

A few more things. They have a beautiful opera house: the St. James Theater built in 1912:


We saw Madame Butterfly here.

Also went to see a student dance performance at the New Zealand school of Dance where Tommy teaches. I went in with low expectations b/c I’m a critic and I’ve been to student performances before. Well, this was spectacular. The “kids” were extraordinary, the dances not self-conscious or overly narrative. The pieces all choreographed by 3rd year students were fresh and fun and introspective without being obtuse.


Finally, what’s a town without a colossal squid? I saw the largest squid ever caught at the Te Papa museum…


Originally 33 feet in length. It shrunk a bit after its death to 14 feet but weighed 1,000 pounds. Mama mia, that’s a lotta calamari.

It has rotating hooks in its tentacles that rotate 360 degrees, a giant beak with hooks in it and the largest eyes on earth: the size of a soccer ball. This puppy made me nauseous just to look at it. But she was great with a clutch of eggs when she was caught, so someone found those giant eyes irresistible.



  1. The food looks fantastic. The fashion — eeeeeek!!!!

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