Trampolines in public parks! Mike Lane will love this.
These two from the Parliament buildings.
Inside a lifesize replica of a whale heart.
• We met a group of guys on the three hour ferry from south to north island. They introduced us to a new game. If you say “mine”, you do 10 push-ups. William was the first to do push-ups. I think Samuel just refused to play. We saw one of our friends at the Te Papa museum later, and he asked William “Who’s shoes are those?” William was too smart to answer.
• When we got off the ship at Wellington and it was RAINING. It was difficult to find our way to a place to stay. Leighton managed to find an i spot (their info centers) and navigate traffic in the city. That was stressful. I think there were loud sounds from cars and people involved, it’s all a bit fuzzy now. We got to the info center and it had just closed. At least he had his rain jacket on. He just looked pitiful standing there in the rain looking into the dark empty building. But, there is a God in heaven. A man emerged, from we-don’t-know-where, whips out a map of the area (like you do) and hands it to Leighton. Leighton runs back to the car with a smile on his face and tells us he is pretty sure that an angel with a briefcase just helped us.
• We stayed at the YHA downtown. It is a really great place. Recycling bins are available on every floor, and they have won all kinds of awards for sustainable business practices. It was a really cozy, friendly place. Leighton went down on the second day to book another day and when the desk clerk pulled up our info he stared at it for a minute, and then asked Leighton how he had gotten such a good rate. We are not sure, but we are having good feelings about that :)
• Wellington is windy like Chicago. It has a smaller streets and walkways that make it feel like Europe, and hills with cable cars that remind us of San Fransisco. It sits in the foot of a mountain, and surrounds a bay. At Samuel’s request we took an hour long tour of their Parliament building. I am glad that we did. The building has been retrofitted for earthquake safety. It was a massive undertaking, and we were shown a video of the engineering behind that project. Samuel was in awe.
• On the way to the Bee Hive (the Parliament building) Dad dropped Mom off to get batteries for the camera, and kind of lost her. Wellington is a big city. The plan was to drop me off and circle back, because parking was not available. After waiting a few minutes I got some coffee and found a park bench (in the same location), while Leighton desperately searched for a way back to the convenience store where he left me. I have always told the kids that if they get lost they should stay putt and I will find them. I knew they would remember this, so I did not go anywhere. Samuel suggested a new way for Dad to try, which ultimately brought them back to me. I waited less than a half hour, but by the time Leighton made it back, his nerves were almost completely shot. The same thought circled frantically in his mind, “I have lost your Mother.”
• Samuel has a sixth sense when it comes to finding the good hang-out spots in new places. At the YHA he found a spot on the sixth floor, that had a balcony and a den like area for people to sit and read or chat. And the laundry room on the sixth floor had a tv. The rooms didn’t have tv, which was nice, so one night we played truth or dare. when I (GC) asked Samuel to pick truth or dare and he went with truth. I asked him what was one thing Mom or Dad should do differently with him. He though a minute and said that we should relax a little with him, and make fewer mean faces. Truth, I love it! When I asked William, he picked dare (of course). I dared him to go to reception and tell the people there that he was enjoying his stay, and that this place is great. He did it. Leighton went down with him and stood back and watched. William went to the counter which was quite tall for him, tiptoed up and said “excuse me.” He waited till he had their eyes and said, “I just wanted to tell you that this is a great place to stay.” They smiled, a bit surprised, and thanked him.
• When we first checked into our room Samuel went to the window and seeing that we had a view of a clock tower told us that, “That clock is a gift from God”. We do not wear watches, or carry phones, so time management, or lack there of has been a bother for Samuel.