another great day.
- fine weather with plenty of sunshine and warming temperatures. my foot is feeling better each day and the walk to work was easy. living and working in wellington (the humble 617 of new zealand) is great. my car moves out of its spot maybe one a week.
- today was curry club. every two weeks a group of eds employees and alumni get together for lunch. they always go to “roti” – a great family run malaysian & indian cafe (that happens to almost straight across the street from my apartment). the owners know all of the regulars and have their drinks waiting for them by the time their coats are off.
- on the walk home i stopped for a few staples at the grocery. “new world” is one of the national chains here (the only kiwi owned chain they will point out). until last week i had done all my shopping at a large (kiwi large) store of theirs down near the museum hotel – about a mile from my apartment. with my foot on the injured list i had to find something else. almost every block in the cbd has one or two small dairys/groceries/superettes but that didn’t seem like a good plan. i had noticed that new world had a tiny storefront just 2 blocks from my apartment but had always dismissed based on it’s size, assuming it must be more of a quickie mart. but since i wasn’t in a position to be choosy i stopped in. holy molly – behind the tiny storefront they have hidden a full sized grocery story. it had everything the bigger store had (although in smaller quantities) and no surprise it is bustling with the after work crowd. a great find.
- the line must have been nearly 50 long when i joined but they have 10 checkouts and a dispatcher at the head of the line insuring that folks are quickly shuffled to the next available cashier. a small thing but the dispatcher has a bucket of candy (“sweets”) that she offers to you when while you wait for your turn. a nice touch that can’t cost the company even a penny but makes you feel like your business is appreciated and they care for their customers.
- after droping off the groceries i decided i was feeling good enough to walk around a bit. returned to a fantastic place i found several weeks ago called “vintage”. it’s hidden a bit down an alley near te papa. great atmosphere and decor. friendly staff and good music. when i sat down one of the bartenders says “budvar?” (that’s what i had when i was there last).
i’m enjoying my budvar, reading the day’s paper, and having a good chat with the 2 barkeeps. one of them is getting out some fresh mint. it smells so strong that i look up from my paper. “smells great, huh?” says the bartender? i mention that the mint reminded me how much i i like mojitos – but only if there made properly by a good bartender with great ingredients. it is one of the drinks – like margaritas – that can either be fantastic or horrible depending on how it is made. he asks if i have ever had a calpirinha – similar to a mojito but one that his likes much better. i admit that i’ve never heard of it, but that i trust his recommendation and it will give me something to look forward to for my next time back. he says he’s confident that if i try one i’ll come back for more, so he makes one and serves it up on the house. it was great and he’s right that i’ll ask for one next time i’m back.
- after vintage i stopped at one of the many turkish kebab joints for some dinner. most of similar with a middle eastern decorated interior and bad turkish music videos playing. i got a lamb kebab and turkish bread to go (gigantic portions, NZ$7) and headed back to the apartment.
- the streets on the way home are bustling with the full friday night crowd. goth kids. office workers out after work. two sets of street performers out on manners street. a punker with a pink mohawk twirling flaming batons while his friend plays speed metal on a guitar and amp. further on down the street a guy in his 40’s wearing muck books, retro pants, turtleneck and scarf playing on a tiny electronic keyboard while his mate was on a full set of drums. actually they were quite good. i stayed for a bit before heading home to eat my kebab.