Thursday, February 13, 2014

Windy Wonderful Wellington!!!

 I trained it to Wellington and listened to my favorite metal band Wolvserpent as the scenery floated by.    I was glad to have my music collection at my fingertips, and resonating sweet nothings in my ears again. Thank you to my sister for shipping me my iPod. What was I thinking by trying to go without it!? I listen to music when I sculpt generally and was feeling its absence harder and harder these days.
  I would spend the next week in Wellington. This is the longest stretch of time I have stayed in one place since setting foot in New Zealand.  It wasn't the original plan, but what was anymore?  Since my arrival to this country I have been harassing foundries as I worked my way south, to try and get a tour. However, if they responded at all, it was with a polite decline.  I understand their decision, because foundries are quite dangerous, but I was hopeful.  Wellington's foundries were no different. However, I did email an artist whose work I admire and whose work i am sure you are all familiar with regardless of consciously knowing it.  Greg Broadmore is an illustrator, comic book artist, and concept designer who works for Weta in Wellington.  Weta is a film production studio where special effects, miniatures, costumes, concept design, and you name what else, is made for movies.  King Kong, District 9, Lord of the Rings, Meet the Feebles, Dead Alive, the list could go on for days, were all in part fabricated here.  So I embraced my new mantra for the year, "Why not!?" and sent Greg an email telling him I was a fan of his work and asked if he could spare some time to meet me.
  It took him two days to respond because he was busy out of the country, but he said he could meet me the upcoming Thursday after he got back into the country and had finished setting up his next gallery show in Christchurch.  If you could have seen me. Picture a star struck nerd in a candy shop. I read the email three times to make sure my wishful thinking hadn't played tricks on my eyes. I would stay a full week for the opportunity to meet someone so dedicated to the art world. Absolutely!!!
  In the meantime there was a beautiful city to see.  And now begins the inundation of images.

Someone who likes fun put bubbles in the fountain.

The phonebooth

  There were so many wonderful art pieces to enjoy, not to mention the Te Papa art museum which housed New Zealand's popular World of Wearable Art exhibit, that I could easily get carried away with posting photos, but I suppose I should save something for the book.
  One of the days in Wellington I finished the Te Araroa trail on the north island with Celine, one of the  french women I had met on my very first day on the trail at Twilight Beach.  We had sunshine and clear skies, but as is mentioned in the title Wellington is a windy city! We fought 70+km winds that day and had our faces thoroughly exfoliated by the sand on the beach where we finished the trail.

Keep a wide stance for balance in those winds!!

Wind, providing the hairstyles of the future!!
  Let's see, what else happened that week? Oh ya, there was kind of a huge earthquake!!  During an afternoon I had gone to my dorm room for a nap. It had been a while since I had a solid night's rest, and I thought perhaps I could calm my mind enough to sleep a bit.  It's hard to convince yourself to slow down and rest when you know there is a new country outside the door to explore.
  I had just roused from a restless slumber, still in that half asleep state where the world still exists, but the boundaries of possibilities have faded and imagination  runs wild.  The bed moved slightly and I though to myself "Oh man, they (meaning a dormmate) were quiet when they came in."  I thought someone had come into the room while I was sleeping and took their position on the top bunk.  It took absolutely no time for me to understand what was really happening.  It's funny how never having heard it before, that I recognized the rumble of the earth beneath me as a quake. Nothing else, but Mother Earth herself could create such a sound that you feel it in your soul.
  I jumped from the bed thinking "Is this really happening or am I still dreaming?"  I have been known to sleep walk and talk.  It's a blurred line to reality.  Now, when I should have been doing something sensible like getting to a door frame instead I found myself frozen, which isn't generally my reaction during times of emergency, usually I am cool as a cucumber. Now please know i was absolutely terrified and you can be damn sure my heart rate went through the roof, but I was stuck in an internal  conversation.  As I stood there I grabbed the bunk bed for support and quickly let go, as if I had touched something hot.  There was zero solace in holding onto that metal pole because it was shaking back and forth more than I was on my own. So I widened my stance and surfed the floor in its smooth  fluid waves of terror as I mulled over my situation.
  During the ten seconds of floor surfing my discussion with myself went a little like this:
"Is this happening?
Is this for real?
This cannot be happening.
I don't die like this.
Not me.
This is not where my story ends.
I suppose in case I do die I should take a moment to be thankful.
I have been so blessed.
But I don't die here.
I would be okay with dying in Wellington, on the trip, in an earthquake...
but NOT here! I DO NOT die in a HOSTEL!!!"
  It was at this point my body began to respond to my situation. I sat down, strapped my boots onto my feet so fast I swear I saw smoke rising out of them, grabbed my coat,  my backpack, and made way for the stairs. By now the rumble and the shaking had subsided and I began to question once again if what just happened had been a dream until I met a woman in the hall who asked if I "felt that."  Felt it? It owned me!  I speedily went down 4 flights of stairs, made my way to the wharf, passing by calm demeanored, un-phased faces and spent the rest of the day outside.  A 6.2 earthquake.  I slept very little in Wellington after that. Every time my dorm mate above on the top bunk so much as rolled over, slightly jarring the bed, I was readily planning my escape.
  I later joked that if I were in fact to die at some point in Wellington, and my final moment was spent being crushed between beds that I would appreciate it if my tombstone would please read "Death by bunk smash." Which incidentally would be a great name for a band.
  Wednesday of this week was a day to be remembered.  Ami, one of the trampers, had coordinated a party in Wellington, inviting all the trampers on the Facebook page to join in if they happened to be in the area. A celebration of completing the north island, and for several people a celebration of the end of the trek. Some were injured, and others just simply didn't have the time allotted to finalize the trail.  And I used it as an excuse to buy a dress, and feel like a lady for a night.  $8 thrift store score, tights and some hiking boots!!!  That's as close to a lady as I could get at the moment, but it was enough. Let the fun begin!!
Merry Trampers Unite!
  We spent the evening trading stories, getting the low-down from Pat Beath, (the bearded man in the front who had already finished the whole trail for the season as a fundraiser for local children), drinking and then getting down low on the dance floor!
  You didn't actually think I would post those photos did you!? Ha!! I will keep those for myself thank you :)
  The next day I took the bus to the Weta Workshop and met Greg Broadmore, who is utterly awesome!!!  We talked for about an hour, then when he had to return to work he walked me back to the Weta Cave.  I asked for a photo with him, and he did so much better than just that.  He took the display vintage ray guns which he designed and published into a book titled Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory, (later to be sculpted out of solid cast metal and put on display for sale), out of their cases and let me hold one of them while we took a photo. Heavy buggers!

"Why not!?"
  Many many thanks to Greg for taking the time to meet a stranger, and a big fan.
Also at the Weta...
I narrowly escaped the clutches of trolls.
   And just like that, it was over...

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