Happy New Year everyone! We are now several hours into New Year's Day, and it is just past 10 pm on New Year's Eve on the East Coast. Hope you all are planning something to do something fun!
We had our first US visitors on New Year's Eve - Jude and Kelleigh - all the way from NYC. They are in NZ on their "Weddingmoon", as they have been touring the South Island for the last week, and won't be officially married until Friday morning. We can't make it to the ceremony, so we had to live it up for the one day we had with them.
Sadly, NZ has had the coldest, wettest summer in decades...and Jude and Kelleigh had been camping, tramping, and bungee jumping in rain and wind with a side of cold. Welly was sunny and temperate until the minute their plane landed here, and it began to rain. The rain pretty much didn't stop until late last night. We all tried to make the best of it, though!
Once Kelleigh and Jude were settled in their B&B, we went out for lunch at the One Red Dog, then over to Courtenay Place for awesome ice cream at Wendy's.
The rain was seemingly never-ending at that point, so we headed across the street to Te Papa. We only had an hour, but we managed to see the Marae (customary meeting place) as well as several of the Maori exhibits, and the Awesome Forces exhibit where we experienced a "real-life shake-up in the Earthquake House". Right before the museum closed, we ran through the Mountains to Sea exhibit to compare the variety of NZ's plants and animals Jude and Kelleigh saw during their tour, and what we've seen so far living here.
Since it was still raining, we all headed back to take naps/relax a bit before the adventure of New Year's Eve. Jude and Kelleigh came to our place for a while, where they showed us pictures and video from their bungee jumps, and we enforced Jude's desire to see Disneyworld with our Honeymoon picture book and fanciful stories.
Then we were off! First stop:The Welsh Dragon. Our new friends Tony and Linda (will tell you more about them in a future post) said they would be there hanging out, and asked us to stop by.
When we got there (well after 10:30), the sign on the door listed a cover, which included "nibbles". We needed dinner, though, even at that late hour.
It proved very difficult to find, as we walked all the way to Cuba Mall, then back towards the Welsh Dragon to a Kebab place where we stopped in for a bite to eat. The theming was great in the back - with a thatched roof ceiling and several Turkish decorations on the walls.
At one point, several teenage girls - must have been at least 15 of them - came streaming out of the back practically yelling "SHHHHHHHHHHHHH" to each other and giggling. I should mention the drinking age here is 18, and "party pills" are legal. More and more groups of girls (and one boy) filed past us to the exit, while we were left wondering just what the hell was in the back?! A few minutes later, we heard banging in the back hallway and were startled to see the manager nailing a piece of particleboard to the wall - seemingly over the bathroom doors. When he walked by, we asked what had happened. He simply said "Out of order". Eh, ok...
Midnight was looming closer, so we booked it back to the Welsh Dragon just in time to get drinks and head to one of the less-crowded (i.e. older, whiter, bad-dancing) rooms before the clock struck midnight. The singer in our room didn't have a clock, so she relied on the drunks to lead the countdown - a minute early! No worries, we just got to kiss twice! haha
I didn't eat at the Kebab place, so I was drunk in a minute from the glass of wine I had. Darren found some crackers and cheese to take the edge off, but the damage was done. We did stay for a bit longer watching the older people dance really badly. One couple just jumped up and down as if each song was "Jump! Jump!", and another put that one swing dance lesson to use over and over. Random people throughout the room had various instruments, including a tambourine, a triangle, and some wooden block thing. The instruments were passed around the room as people got up and danced or moved to other parts of the bar.
From what I understand, many people dress up in costume on New Year's Eve, and at this particular bar, there were a few men in drag. Including a drag queen dressed as a Queen. Ah, the irony...
After about an hour, we headed back to the house and remembered we had Christmas/New Year's crackers to pop. We all donned our crowns and took a group picture - with three different cameras (yes, that is why we are all looking in different places!)
This morning, Darren and I headed down to the B&B and joined Jude and Kelleigh for a yummy cooked breakfast. We hung exploration of the North Island. It was really good to see them, and just reinforced the feeling (for me, anyway) that we haven't really moved.