Saturday, July 31, 2010

They Do Things Differently Here

Yesterday, I went out and explored Wellington more - in particular, the Cuba and Courtenay Place districts of central Wellington. This is where most of the bars and restaurants are, as well as the more bohemian boutiques and music venues. Really, we need to go there at night to get the full flavour of the area. I also found more mundane places, such as where to buy household items and hardware, which will come in handy.

In the evening we stayed in, so instead of telling you all about that in detail, here's the first in an occasional series called:

They Do Things Differently Here

Well, yes. Every country you go to does some things in a different way – not necessarily better or worse, just different. Things I’ve noticed so far:

The moon is upside down. OK, that’s logical when you think about it, but, to be honest, who does think of it?

Similarly, the sun goes from right to left.

The colours on the lids of milk are different. Instead of red=full milk, green=semi-skimmed, and blue=skimmed, we have dark blue=full milk, light blue=slim milk, green=99.9% fat-free. Does every country have a different colour coding system? My international followers can tell me in the comments.

The adverts on tv include agricultural products.

And, yiss, they do talk funny.  

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cooking With Kate

One of Nicola’s work colleagues had two tickets to a French cookery demonstration that she was unable to use, so she passed them to us. It gave us an opportunity to go to a new area of Wellington, Newtown, where most of the buildings are, predictably, old. But they must have been new once. We turned up early at the Mediterranean Food Warehouse, and decided to have a quick snack whilst we were waiting, as we weren’t sure what we would be getting to eat in the evening – the ticket said “wine and nibbles”.

At seven, we entered the warehouse and had a glass of wine; plates of pizza slices were passed around as well, so it looked like the snack beforehand had been unnecessary – there was plenty. The recipes to be demonstrated were duck liver pâté, bouillabaisse, and crème brûlée. The chef, Kate, cooked all of these whilst providing commentary and answering questions, all with the help of an overhead camera projection. Meanwhile, the two owners kept telling us how the products she was using were available in their store “at the bargain price of $xxx! I can’t believe we’re selling this so cheap! Our accountant will do his nut!” etc. Subtle it was not!

At the end of each course, the results (“here’s one I prepared earlier”) were passed around for tasting. So all in all, we were well fed throughout the evening. As with watching cookery shows on the tv, they generally tell you stuff you know already, but if you pick up one or two tips from it then it’s worth it, in my opinion…and I did.

So we returned “home” sated, with a definite plan to return with a car to stock up on ingredients from the warehouse, because they do seem to have a lot of good quality stuff there…I was drooling somewhat and had to be led away by Nicola!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Moving Out

Yesterday, the property manager for our flat came round to inspect the water damage caused by the flood. The flat isn’t really fit for human habitation at the moment, so they offered us either a week off the rent, or to put us up in a serviced apartment whilst the drying-out and carpet relaying took place. We opted for the serviced apartment, so we are now living on the 17th floor of a block that’s even more central (to the CBD, anyway).
Yesterday evening we met up with two of Nicola’s work colleagues, both also expatriates – one from Australia, the other from Denmark, and her partner (also Danish). We had dinner in a nice bar/restaurant called Public in Courtenay Place, which is a busy area full of pubs, restaurants and other leisure pursuits. Afterwards we went back to the flat, packed up what we needed for a couple of days, and headed to the new apartment.
This place has several things that we are currently lacking in our new flat: phone, internet, and a working television, for a start! So last night I watched some NZ television for the first time. Not terribly exciting, but then, when is TV ever?
I’m still finding my way around Wellington, but I no longer have to pull the map out of my pocket at every street corner to see where I’m going.

First Blog

So, this is it. My blog. This is going to be all about me and my ongoing adventures, in Wellington. Read early, comment often!
Nicola moved into our new flat on Saturday, and early on Sunday morning heard a strange noise coming from the kitchen. What she found was that a pipe had broken under the sink in the kitchen. She immediately called the emergency number supplied by the estate agents, and within a couple of hours a plumber had arrived, temporarily fixed the problem, and arranged to come back with a permanent solution.
I arrived on Monday afternoon, to find the flat damp and cold, but otherwise OK. We went out to get some basics from the supermarket, had dinner, had an early night.
The next day the plumber arrived in the morning and replaced all the pipework under the sink. So that’s the problem sorted, now we have to deal with the aftermath. In the afternoon, two chaps arrived from a specialist flood repair company. They took up the carpet, removed most of the sodden underlay, and left five industrial drying machines in the flat to dry out the floorboards. This process could take a week, apparently. One of them will return this afternoon to scrape the remains of the underlay off the floorboards. The loss adjuster will be here some time today to assess the cost for insurance – fortunately not ours to worry about! Meanwhile, we’re trying to find out from the estate agents whether we can move out of here on the basis that it’s not fit for habitation at the moment.
In amongst all this, I’m also trying to get to grips with the layout of the city. Fortunately we’re quite near the city centre, so it’s not too complicated – most things seem to be within walking distance. Today, I’m going into town to have an interview with a recruitment agency, so hopefully I’ll know something more positive about working here soon.