the weekend

Friday afternoon Eilidh & I tramped over the hills to view a rental house we were interested in (http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Property/Residential-Property/Houses-to-rent/auction-161860571.htm) near the suburb of Karori.  “The purple house” we call it.  Very warm, cozy and quiet little place, located in the bottom of a steep valley and accessed by a set of stairs through a grassy treed meadow and a footbridge over a small rushing stream.  We continue to be amazed how such uniquely beautiful properties can be found within a half hour walk of downtown Wellington.  In our explorations of the city we continually come upon “worlds within worlds”…little secluded spots where we feel we are in the jungle or on some remote rugged coast or in a tiny village, but are not more than a couple miles of a city of several hundred thousand people.  Little gardens, native jungley bush, rocky coastline, clear blue ocean water, clear skies, quiet walking paths along the bays, when it comes to natural beauty, there is much to love about Wellington.

Saturday we went to view another house.  http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Property/Residential-Property/Houses-to-rent/auction-162803599.htm.  The house wasn’t that great, but we extended the walk to visit the neighborhoods of Newtown and Hataitai.  On the way we walked through part of the Town Belt.  The Town Belt is a semi-wild to wild park reserve that covers the hills nearest to the city.  The city “fathers” set aside those areas way back when the city was young, in the mid 1800s, and many people are now grateful for their foresight!  The trees were beautiful…huge pines, eucalyptus, and some other native varieties that we have yet to learn the names of.  We liked Hataitai a lot.  We checked out the location of another potential rental: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Property/Residential-Property/Houses-to-rent/auction-162804632.htm.  

That is a good example of Wellington’s hilly neighborhoods.  It’s a bit unreal at times.  Homes are literally “above” their neighbors.  Many of these homes are best accessed by foot, and there are numerous walking paths and steep stairways to link roads that appear on the map to be adjacent to each other.  Streets turn into walkways but retain their street names, and homes along the walkways have mailboxes with normal house numbers.  It is a bit dizzying.  But (as you may notice) I like the uniqueness and complexity.  🙂

A super-tasty lunch at a Mediterranean/Moroccan restaurant on Evans Bay was the perfect thing to fill our empty stomachs.  It was so tasty…we have definitely found our favorite restaurant.

We watched a horde of seabirds feeding on a school of tiny migrating fish as we walked along Evans Bay Parade, the coastal road.  Several fishermen were out there too, I assume they were casting for bigger fish who were feeding on the school of small fish.  But the only thing they (almost) caught as we watched was a seabird who thought the lure looked tasty!

Almost all the changing weather in Wellington comes from the north, or the south.  Southerlies (from Antarctica) are cold, and northerlies are warmer.  They both can bring a lot of wind.  Saturday was the start of a new southerly, so the harbor north of Wellington which is sheltered by the land, was relatively calm, and a lot of sailors were taking advantage of the conditions.  

Though the air was brisk and chilly, we couldn’t pass up the ice cream truck, and by the time we got back to our room we were ready for some hot tea.  Last night the southerly arrived in full force, with cold rain and gusty winds.  We are on the corner of the top floor of a downtown building amidst taller buildings, and the funneled wind sometimes hits our corner with such force it sounds like it is going to tear off a piece.  We were going to visit the weekly farmer’s market today but we would have been thoroughly soaked by the time we’d been ready to walk home, so we opted to stay indoors most of the day instead.  We did get out to a big sale at Kathmandu, an outdoor equipment store two blocks away, and picked up a few things.  

This downtown location has been super-convenient and our room at the Quest Wellington has been very comfortable!  It takes me about 2 minutes to walk to work…down 9 floors of stairs – or elevator, out the hotel door, 10 paces to the office door, three flights up, and there I am in the office.  However, my employer-provided one month of accommodation is running out this week, and since we haven’t found a house to rent yet, we will be moving temporarily to a cheaper serviced apartment that is a ten or fifteen minute walk away.  (We measure distances by walking time nowadays.)  We have a couple of prospective houses, and could be moving into one of them when it becomes available near the end of July.  Despite my worries about not finding a house yet, there is an advantage to living in a hotel for a while longer, since we don’t have furniture or kitchen tools until our container arrives mid-August, and would be camping out in the house until then anyway.

We’re living in the top left corner of the tall tan building.  I work in the lower lighter colored section of the building to the left.

The job: I guess I’ve been at it for three weeks now!  I have to say that I really like the team I work with.  Basically there are five of us in the office who work on renewable energy projects…mostly wind so far, but we could get involved with wave or tidal power too.  Blair is a great guy with a lot of vision and competency.  He does a lot of the client communication, negotiation, and arranging deals, and less of the technical work.  I appreciate his level-headed approach to work.  Simon is the oldest in the team, and has been working in various aspects of wind energy for quite a while.  He has a lot of practical experience and is a great teacher.  He is very capable and it is interesting to talk with him about his experiences.  Nina is from Germany, and is interesting to talk with, since we have some things in common, being immigrants from other cultures.   She’s returning to work tomorrow after a vacation on the tiny south Pacific island of Rarotonga.  I haven’t met Chris yet as he’s been on vacation since before I arrived.  David has been here for a couple of months, visiting from our sister company in Scotland.  Simon, David, and I took a road trip the other day to visit some prime wind energy development areas on the North Island.  We had some good conversations along the way.

So far work has involved: analyzing some wind data, writing a report on some due diligence work we did for a client, writing proposals for two clients to assess the wind potential at their sites, and reading some papers and websites to help me learn about the New Zealand wind energy market.  Probably pretty boring to most people, but I find it interesting.  I do like technical writing, and it looks like I’ll be doing a lot of that.

One last shot: a Wellington street sign.  It is not a joke; the blue penguin claims the Wellington coast as part of its habitat and breeding ground.  So watch out for the little guys!

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