Coffee and Friends
Highlights included a busy Thursday catching up with a couple of friends. First up was Jack Machiela, who had led an excellent Lord of the Rings tour we had a taken a few days into our first visit to Wellington. We met for coffee at Mr. Bun's All-Day Breakfast, a short walk from the YHA down Courtenay Place to Taranaki. We enjoyed our drinks and discourse on all things cultural, political, social. Jack caught himself at "ranting" (his word) once or twice, exhibiting the same passion he displayed for the movie trilogy and the tourism industry, but this was exactly the kind of trail magic we'd been so fortunate to find on all our trips. It's not every day you can catch up with someone from your journeys and not miss a beat.
Lunch was Caffe L'Affare with writer/director Jonathan King (sorry, Jack!) and his wife Rebecca. Jonathan was newly home again after a stint at the Cannes Film Festival to secure international distribution for his recently completed second film, Under the Mountain. His trip home made our series of flights look like child's play, but he seemed energized from the experience; soon enough he would be heading out on the more demanding promotional side of the equation, which is where we caught him last time. We talked shop, of course, but the key takeaway was my introduction to the Trim Bongo. Ryan Rasmussen's Prohibition had already been lifted earlier in the trip, and I'd just had a Long Black with Jack, but this was a tiny little shot of a drink taken purely for pleasure, and I course I had to relent. (Keep in mind that Wellington has more coffee shops per square foot than NYC.) Jonathan did a fair American accent in capturing our general "if a little bit is good, even more must be better!" approach to consumption.
Later, I was lucky enough to join Jack again for a trip to Miramar to visit the recently opened Weta Cave. I'd been debating whether to make the effort since I'd already toured Weta Workshop itself. Jack's friend Mark, previously a bookseller and one of the first to carry Weta's Lord of the Rings products before the storm hit, would be interviewing for a position in the Cave, which is part shop, part museum. Arriving half an hour early meant an occasion for more coffee, of course, and it was here that I drew my line and went for the decaf Long Black. On the way, we ran into Weta designer Greg Broadmore and new-business coordinator Linda Hughes. Once again, everything seems wonderfully integrated here, and it seems hard to go anywhere without meeting someone tied to the film industry. And this is not a bad thing.