Beyond Borders

Wellington Wanderings

2010-12-03 07:45
Jason Krupp lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Jason Krupp lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

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According to the old saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, but in the bustling mini-opolis that is Wellington, New Zealand, that path is strewn with something a little more corrosive – vomit, and lots of it.

Not every day mind you, but on any given weekend morning a stroll through the heart of town requires careful steps, an eye for the out of place, and complete avoidance of the bus shelters as the effects of the previous night’s binge-drink-a-thon are writ large upon the canvas of the city.

Within hours, it will be gone, the pavements swept, the odd puddles vanished, and the scene set for another night’s revelry along Courtney Place, ground zero for nightlife in the kiwi capital.

As a Saffer fresh off the boat, this spectacle stunned me. New Zealanders, it seems, love to drink. But then the same could be said for any of the former colonies in the Southern Hemisphere, so why the need to paint the town in carrots and peas?

And then I started work, and strolled out for my first drink as one of the salaried classes on a Friday. It was summer, the day hot and clear, and I joined my work mates for a refreshing brew.

From there we wandered to a waterfront bar where the harbour lay sprawled before us like an oil painting, lit in ochre tones of late afternoon.

As the sun relinquished its hold on the hilltops, it was on to cult beer bars, country and western establishments that Hunter S Thompson would have been at home in, Irish pubs jam packed with real Irishmen (‘strewth), and live music, DJs and crowds everywhere, and hardly a cover charge in sight.

I didn’t want to go home, and neither did anyone else it seemed... so we didn’t.

Alas, my senses returned in the form of a rather angry text from the wife, and with a quick stop for a prophylactic kebab, I hot footed home.

In the morning, desperate for coffee, a greasy breakfast and perhaps a cool, damp towel placed gently across my forehead, I ventured out into the streets that I had looked on critically before.

And they were as I expected to find them, only now I was on the other side of the looking glass, and the bile spattered cobbles were no longer a cultural low tide but a high water of revelry.

Damn, this town knows how to get down.

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