I’m back in Wellington.
It’s all just as I remember it – and I mean JUST. The town barely seems to have changed in a year and a half, except that it’s currently riding high on Hobbit Hype. The airport featured hobbit-hole baggage carousels:
And the Embassy theater, where the premiere of the Hobbit will be happening in three days, is similarly decked out with a giant Gandalf statue:
But the city is otherwise the same. And the people – they’re the exact same. My travel buddy Ryan and I tell everyone we meet that we’re here for the Hobbit, and the locals merely smile and shake their head; they’re pleasant about it, but you’re immediately a tourist in their book.
I was worried I’d have forgotten my way around the city, or that it would be different from how I’d remembered it. Maybe my love for the city was based on rose-tinted memories, I thought.
It wasn’t. Everything I’ve been telling people for almost two years now: the hospitality; the transportation; the air, the sky and the ocean; all of it was exactly as I’d known it would be, all of it is perfect.
The flight here was no picnic. Well, I should say the flight to Sydney. Fourteen hours crammed like a sardine into a metal tube with hundreds of other people is never going to be fun, I don’t care if you’re being flown to the Garden of Eden itself. But, I have a tremendous ability to sleep on planes – and sleep I did. I was out for about ten hours of the flight, and the four hours I was awake, I was writing.
I wrote more on that plane flight than I have in the past six months. I churned out over 5,000 words of a serialized novel version of a television series I’ve been developing for over a year. I don’t know why it came so easily. Actually, I probably do: What the hell else was I going to do?
But as we coasted in over the south island of New Zealand, I was glued to the window.
We coasted in for a bumpy landing. Stepping out of the airport, you could immediately tell you weren’t in L.A. any more. The very air you breathe in Wellington is a heavenly perfume, in that it barely seems touched by mankind at all. There’s no smog, no smoke, no nothing – just clean, fresh air, with a strong salty smell from the Pacific.
After dropping our bags off at the hotel, Ryan and I swung by my favorite pub in the world (which I’m qualified to say – I’ve been to four continents). Molly Malone’s was the same old, same old. The bartenders were new, but they were still Irish, and the Guinness on tap was still oh-so-satisfying after our twenty-hour ordeal (fourteen hour flight, three hour layover in Sydney, three hour flight to Wellington).
It was only five thirty by this point, so I found the right bus line and took Ryan down to Miramar, where all of the Wellington movie industry exists. The Weta Cave was already closed by the time we got there, but I was still able to show him Park Road post production, Three Foot Seven casting, and Weta Workshops itself. I was tempted to try to swing by Stone Street Studios, but at this point we were both feeling the effects of our long day of travelling. It was time to catch some z’s.
After, of course, another couple of pints at Molly Malone’s.
Now I’ve just barely managed to eke out this post before collapsing into my bed for, I’m sure, at least twelve hours of sleeping like a log. There’s so much exploring to do, and I feel like every moment with my eyes closed is a wasted one – but then again, if I pass out from sleep deprivation, that will tend to put a damper on any sightseeing I happen to be in the middle of.
So for now, good night.