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Monday, April 5, 2010

Wellington 2010

For the past few days I've been up to Wellington, Capital City of NZ, half-ly for a look as I've never been there before, and the other half to attend Armageddon and the NZ Comix Weekend and the Eric Awards that they have once a year during Easter Weekend.

A best fit city for anybody on the go, pretty much everything needed was either right there or just a 5-10 walk, or a 3 minute bus/taxi/train ride (if you catch it on time that is, then it's an 18 minute bus ride!). Didn't really experience the much talked about "Wind" that everyone kept blabbering on about, must of been lucky... 95% of all the buses follow one straight route through the city from two main stop/exchange points, Courtney Place and the Railway Station, that all the buses stop at, with the few buses branching off into the outskirts. Much easier than CHCH's system, blame the layout of the city for that.

Hills and walkways everywhere, perfect for me since I'd rather walk and keep fit when I can. You can understand the city's people and its culture just by looking at the city itself. While Christchurch has Cathedral Square, Wellington has Civic Square, and Cuba Street, and they're not usually as crowded (or have as many cheap food stalls to distract the view) certain areas of bright colored brick patterns next to conventional older slightly preserved buildings, certain skyscrapers positioned on steep hills with trees and wires hanging overhead all creating immersive visual experiences, which for a while make you forget that you actually are in a modern day city... and about to be hit by a silly driver who ran a light and is not really paying attention to anything...

But I guess spending a year walking or running through the city would teach you that you could have a sprinting chance of escape!

Oh and I have seen crazy "joggers" sprinting headfirst down one steep street, docking and ducking, they hope, in time to dodge any passing fourwheeled obstacle they would get in the way.

It was hard not to tell the minority aspect of the city though, many ethnics fixing the roads and things, and sweeping the streets and hotel-steps clean with the "BIGGEST SMILES" on their faces... while wannabe politicians eat in their fancy little cafes and restaurants, which led me to another big fact about the city, there are more cafes and restaurants in Wellington per capita than New York City...

The whole NZ Comic weekend was stationed in a deep underground (how fitting) basement gallery in Dixon St, with some free drink and nibs. Starting off with a exhibition of a 1940's kiwi Comic publisher H.W Bennett put together by Tim Bollinger, and featuring ?original? artworks by various comic artists from 1970's New Zealand. The next night the internationally renowned Kiwi cartoonist Dylan Horrocks launched a new local edition of his book "Hicksville", then an annual awards celebration called the Black River Digital NZ Comic Awards, hosted by a spiritually, geeky, modern day Chris Farley successor (who was funny).

Being someone who had only seen the **VERY SADLY TINY AND UNDERWHELMING** Christchurch side of the NZ comic scene, you really had to go to something like the Comix Weekend to experience the dedication the whole scene has for the artform, especially in a country which values and icons are totally opposite to Comics. People do it cause they love it, even if reality tries to get in the way, they have been doing it for decades, and continue to grow and find new ways for people to come join. Not a money-spinner, and I'm personally glad its not.

If the New Zealand Comics and Sequential scene turns out like the American or Japanese one, what an anti-climax....

But anyway, it was a nice experience, and good luck to them.

Visited the Botanic Gardens, visited Te Papa and spent a day in Pompeii... went to Lower Hutt, went to the Scorching and Karaka Bays...

Went to the Weta Cave to see Sculptor Gary Hunt, who put on a demonstration for an hour. Very creative and a nice guy. They should expand the cave though in future, abit overcrowded.

At Armageddon I also managed to see Michael Winslow from the Police Academy movies of the 1980's, and was completely blown away:

Afterwards I boarded the Interislander and took a boat trip through the Sounds, then took a train from Picton back home.

I read the entirity of Hicksville on the train from Picton to Waipara, first time I have managed to read something that long in one sitting... ever. A very pleasant read worthy of the praise it received over the years.

Enjoyed every minute and would definitely visit again when can. Hopefully I'll be able to take more photos as, during some vital moments, my camera kept chewing up batteries to justify its old age...

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