Just hanging out at home. Back to blogging. Some reading. Nap coming up. It is 8 pm, Monday, Oct. 23rd in New Mexico; 3 pm, Tuesday, Oct. 24th in New Zealand. A world of miles and attitudes apart.
It feels very April-like today. Chilly sun. But big bright flowers and a lush maritime green. According to an organization called SafeAround, I’m in the 5th safest country in the world. The US is the 54th safest country and this morning’s lead story on HuffPost would seem to lend itself to that ranking—all about the out-of-control and dangerously violent Albuquerque police department. I like it here in Wellington, New Zealand—where they may care more about the natural environment and their kids than their guns; it feels calm, like a place mostly at peace with itself. Teresa generally loves it…although of course, being a bred-to-the-bone California girl she’ll be happy to get back home in December as well.
First impressions based on my three-day time here and Teresa’s months’ worth of experience. New Zealand is a socially aware and progressive place. It feels a lot like Norway actually, and looks like a Norwegian/San Franciscan offspring…with maybe some of the no-frills pleasantness of Duluth thrown in for good measure. Wellington is almost Midwestern in its whiteness but not defensively or antagonistically so. In the bit of reading I’ve done, New Zealand has a fairly benign history when it comes to the treatment of ‘others’—in this case mostly the original New Zealanders, the Maori. Of course that’s in comparison to the really bad players in this arena like the US and Australia.
It was a national holiday yesterday so Teresa and I had time to just hang out at home and downtown. I needed a new mouse and new backpack (which will count as my souvenirs for this trip) and to eat lamb. It’s a lovely walking city so all that was accomplished in a leisurely stroll with only one barely rigorous uphill climb back to the apartment. T. works for an engineering firm called ENGEO that focuses on environmental and geological issues; the fact that she actually loves doing what she studied for is one of those fortunate things that doesn’t always happen.
Today is one of my two ‘days off’ between Albuquerque and Luang Prabang in Laos. Vietnam is going to be serious touristing and from there I’m on my own which is always more work.
Our days about town so far. Nice buildings, nice lamb, nice walk.
Days endings in so-very-livable Wellington, New Zealand. It feels like it might be easier to be physically and mentally healthier here than most places in the world.
No place is perfect of course. But the homeless people on the downtown streets have really good gear…it all looks like it’s straight from Kathmandu (the store, not the city).