Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wellington Days 1 and 2: Downtown and Porirua

Got myself and the children dropped off near Parliament.  It was a gusty Wellington wind, and when stopped at an intersection Mister Two cried “wobble?” when the wind was shaking the car.  At least the Parliament buildings are on rubber foundations.  We didn’t get to see those rubber foundations during our tour, because the Civil Defence bunker in the basement was in use for the state of National Emergency.  But we did get to see the debating chamber, and committee rooms.  About 60% of the tour group were from Christchurch.
Walked around the waterfront towards Te Papa.  Got a bit apprehensive walking past some historic brick buildings on Queens Wharf.  Locals have since assured me they’d been strengthened, but so had Christchurch Cathedral.  I chose to walk on the opposite side of the road.  My nerves are still not what they used to be.
Te Papa also had nice rubber bearings in the foundations.  Outside the main door is a small basement display showing one of the rubber bearings behind a glass window, and a model demonstrating how the building stays still when the ground beneath it shakes.  I like.  According to Geonet, during the time we were in Te Papa Wellington experienced a “wobble” – and we didn’t feel a thing.  Would have been nice to stay camped out there… but I suspect they wouldn’t let us.
One of Te Papa’s displays was about the Edgecumbe earthquake, including a small house that simulates the level of shaking experienced at the time.  I explained to my children that it was only for people who didn’t know what earthquakes feel like, and they didn’t need to go in there because they did know what earthquakes feel like.  Miss Seven went through three times and thought it was fun.  (The younger ones weren’t keen – Mister Two was getting upset just watching the little house move on the outside.)  However, it was useful to use the other parts of the displays to try to explain plate tectonics and why earthquakes happen.
We also spent lots of time in the other displays around Te Papa, then “did” the Cable Car and visited Carter Observatory.  (I was sort of trying to keep things educational).  It brought a lump into my throat walking through downtown Wellington seeing people dressed in red and black (Canterbury colours) and shop windows with displays of “We ♥ Chch”.  I wanted a little badge saying something like “I’m from Chch”
It was much the same the next day when I went into Porirua to find a public library (and hopefully internet access) to print out the new travel bookings Hubby had emailed me.  All the shops in the mall were decked out in red and black, as were the staff.  Every counter had a red cross tin collecting for Christchurch.  The lump wedged itself back into my throat, and there was a hint of tears behind my eyes.

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