Trip Start Jan 02, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

May saw the start of Amy's eagerly anticipated mosaic-making course run by Welly High's night school (the problem of transporting artworks back home is to be dealt with at a later stage...). As a teacher at High, Michael gets to participate in any classes that aren't booked up already for free, and as such found himself the newest member of the astronomy class. On the first night Amy smashed up a storm, while Michael emerged into the night air ready to spot planets, moon craters and globular clusters. It was however, chucking it down!

The NZ International Comedy festival had landed in town, roughly the same time as young Mr Gareth James, our lodger for the weekend did. Despite it being a school night Michael and Amy headed out to see the best of the fest comedy show, for some reason thinking that the 10pm show ran for about an hour, while Gareth socialised with some backpacking buddies nearby. Three and a half hours, 7 comedians and a fair few bevvies later, the trio were reunited and heading home. The Friday afterwards was a long day!

The weekend saw us take in a tour of the city and a simulator ride at Te Papa. Unfortunately the 10 minute spectacular was not only able to recreate soaring through the NZ countryside, as well as bungee jumping, but was also impressively good at simulating travel-sickness in ashen-faced Gareth. Having recovered, that evening the three of us set out to see Chris Cox's excellent mind-reading show (recommended by friend-of-the-star Becky). Sadly, Gareth hopped on a South Island bound ferry early Monday morning to continue his travellings on the tour bus, and we headed back to work.

That week saw an action-packed run of evenings including night-class night, (preceded by a delicious Malaysian meal out where Amy ordered an eye-wateringly hot king prawn curry by mistake, which a dutiful Michael had to help out with!), baby-sitting, rugby and yet another comedy show: free tickets to see Raybon Kan, a kiwi comedian that seemed a bit put off by all the people that had walked out of his previous shows in protest... Thankfully the audience were all amused (or polite) enough to stay put until the end of the show.

The following weekend was gold coin entry for a number of Wellington tourist attractions. Always up for a bargain we hopped on a bus bound for Wellington Zoo, $1 coins in hand. Freezing wind and lashing rain meant we spent a fair amount of time checking out the gift shop and café before braving going outside again. First up a talk entitled "how to be a vet in 5 minutes". Amy wasn't at the top of the veterinary class however, mainly because the NZ accent can still confuse (it turns out the reptile was having trouble "shedding" not er, with it's bowel movements). Most of the animals looked a little miserable given the adverse weather, none more so than the Panda roaming around the enclosures (see picture!). Our visit ended on a high as we headed into the Kiwi enclosure. Once our eyes adjusted to the darkness we got our first real glimpse of the nocturnal, flight-less national symbol.

The end of the month saw us take in a couple of films as Wellington hosted the annual Documentary Edge Festival, including Leeds-based We Are Poets, recommended by Mike as a replacement for his excellent MiniCine screenings from back home.

Strange to think that in 6 months time we'll be packing up and heading back to the UK. Sending lots of love to those back home.

Michael and Amy. xx
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