I have been extremely lucky with the weather, as it is warm and not so windy today. Yesterday was nice as well. So, I have done some tourism this morning before meeting an academic to talk about NZ and A-stan. Yesterday was a very productive day with a morning roundtable with NZ foreign affairs and aid folks and an afternoon roundtable with NZ defense folks. The latter was especially useful for my research. It turns out that the NZ special forces (their Special Air Services) actually can and do fire their weapons! Well, I learned that their PM might have indicated some surprise there, but I learned a great deal. My goal, when I get home, is to immediately write a chapter that compares the Aussies and the Kiwis while also transcribing my notes. Then, I have to go back and write up the chapters from last summer's escapades.
So, what else have I learned about Wellington and New Zealand?
- What is the plural of Phoenix? One of their key teams is the Wellington Phoenix, which makes it hard to refer to them/it.
- They seem to smoke more here, but that might just be more in evidence since they seem to run outside and enjoy the sun and relative windless-ness.
- Kiwis are less polite drivers to pedestrians than Aussies. But that might just be that the Kiwis are average in that regard and Aussies are exceptional.
- Their museum was very interesting, but I had to hustle through it.
- Their immigration history is quite distinct from their more criminal neighbors, as this pic indicates--waves up and down, varying along with war and prosperity.
- I wish I had one more day in Wellington so that I could take a ferry or bus or both to see more of the surroundings.
- Of course, if I had significantly more time, I would have liked to have gone to the Great Barrier Reef and other places in Australia (you can pet Koalas in Queensland but not in the state in which Sydney is located--New South Wales). And I would have liked to see more of NZ as well.
- They had terrific cattleman's coats--they look like what the cowboys wear in Spaghetti westerns--and i would have loved to buy one. But I am cheap, and it would have been difficult to lug around. My baggage, due to books, is already overweight.
PS and to be clear, it is Friday here, and I get to live through Saturday, March 20th, twice.