Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Of Wind and Water

We knew our stay in New Zealand would correspond with winter, but apparently the winter weather has arrived early this year, and winter weather in Wellington means cold and wet. One of our contacts had congratulated me on my bravery in choosing this time of year, but I secretly scoffed at what I took the Kiwi definition of cold to mean. I've lived in Pennsylvania all my life, and Pennsylvania gets snow and temperatures below freezing, and sometimes below zero, and once I'd run in minus-30-degree weather and my eyeballs darn near froze, so I thought I knew something about a lack of appreciable heat.

The thing about a Wellington winter, however, is that wind and water are added to the mix. In fact, I suspect that the city engineers, following the progressive model of the YHA Wellington City (the youth hostel at which we're initially staying) and its eco-friendly showerheads, have taken it upon themselves to conserve the region's water resources by aerating the atmosphere itself, with the result that it doesn't rain, which would involve the typical downward movement of precipitation, but spritz. The local meteorologists, to my knowledge, do not use this term, which is misleadingly docile, though yesterday The Dominion Post did proclaim, at the top of page 1: "A particularly foul, miserable and revolting weekend."

This would lead one to believe that the locals themselves find the climate disagreeable, and sure enough there is complaining to be heard if you are alert to it. And yet I have seen more runners and cyclists "braving" these elements in attire that would be more suitable for a Pennsylvania summer, which is to say very hot and very humid. I'm not sure what the deal is.

In any case, I don't mean to suggest that I am complaining, it's just that I'm still in the throes of jetlag and therefore occupied, perhaps more than usual, with minutiae. I've also noticed, however (and approvingly), the city's new fleet of taxis, neon-green Prii, cruising the streets. There are other cool things to report, as well, such as the nearby Central Fire Station, which looks like a perfect Legoland version of Art Deco; the scores of white-painted Victorian homes nestled in the green hillside of Mount Victoria; the charming cable car that's been running up the side of Mount Cook to the suburb of Kelburn since 1902 (and which took us up to a restaurant and bar named Red Tomatoes, with surprisingly good pizza); and, of course, the brilliant aquamarine water of the harbor. No, there is a quite a lot to love here, and we've still only scratched the surface.

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Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

Seeing a place at its 'worst' often leads to a truer, deeper love.

Just sayin'.

7:19 PM  

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