One Rainy Day Trip To Palmy (Palmerston North)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The last week of August called for an out of town day trip to Palmerston North, famously called Palmy. I knew nothing about Palmy except that I have a friend who lives there. So I consulted tripadvisor for some recommendations on things to do in Palmy. I was surprised that their i-Site Visitor Centre is number 6 on the list. I wanted to find out why.

Our (intercity) bus left Wellington at 0730 and we arrived in Palmy just before 10am. The first place that we visited was indeed the i-Site Visitor Centre because we needed to use the toilet. To be fair, it is quite a good i-Site. It is roomy and it has good facilities like spacious toilets, showers and lockers. I definitely wouldn't hesitate to stop by here for some comfort especially if the weather is not that good. They also have a mother and child room where mothers can prepare milk for their children (they have hot water dispenser) and feed (or change) them peacefully. Quite impressive.

When we got out of the i-Site, my first impression was that Palmy is quiet. Too quiet for my liking in fact. There was not many people in sight and the gloomy weather made it difficult for me to appreciate the place. It was like meh. Anyhow, we decided to explore The Square while we waited for my friend to pick us up.

My friend Eirenne said that we should at least see the North Tower Clock and while I was imagining a tall structure and a massive clock, this is what we saw:

Mind you, there was some gentle classical music playing in the background which added warmth to the wet and cold weather. I instantly felt a lot better.

It seemed to me that everything I needed to see in Palmerston North was just in  one big square. The streets past the square looked empty. Nevertheless, we enjoyed wandering around the square taking photos of ducks, fountains, giant chess set and some native artworks. 

And then my friend arrived with her husband. Although it was raining quite hard and was very cold, I am grateful that they took us to see the wind farm in Te Apiti, 10km away from the city. The fog up the hill made it almost impossible to see the wind turbines but it made the trip to Palmerston North more worthwhile.

Due to time constraints (and bad weather), we were not able to go anywhere else after the wind farm, but we had a delicious lunch at Saigon Corner in Princess Street. Seemingly small and simple, the restaurant served very good (and cheap) food and proved to be popular. 

From Princess Street, we walked back to the square via Broadway Avenue. I assumed that this was their main street. We were told that Palmy is a place to go to for shopping but it wasn't as obvious as I thought. I kept asking Eirenne where the shops were because I couldn't see any. Apparently, they have The Plaza which is located at the square. But obviously, we were not that interested in shopping because we missed it. However, we didn't miss this interesting sculpture in front of the Regent on Broadway:

By mid afternoon, the rain has stopped although it remained cloudy. We met up with Eirenne's friend, who drove us to Victoria Esplanade Gardens. Because it was still winter when we went, "there was nothing much to see there". So we chose to take a walk along the Manawatu River instead. 

And that was the end of our journey to Palmy.

We originally planned to stay overnight in Palmy but I'm glad we didn't. For me, one day is enough to see what I needed to see in Palmerston North. Luckily, we had friends who drove us around. It was definitely a bonus.

Would I go back to Palmy? Yes, only to stop over in between trips and to see the cherry blossom trees in Victoria Esplanade Gardens. :)

tintin x

An Easy Walk In Trelissick Park, Ngaio Gorge

Sunday, 18 September 2016

My friend Eirenne and I have finally commenced our weekly (weather dependent) walking trips in Wellington. As this was our first official walk, we opted for an easy one. Hence, our first choice to explore the well recommended Trelissick Park in Ngaio. 

Trelissick Park is very accessible from the city by public transportation. However, buses can be quite unreliable sometimes. When we arrived at the bus stop in Courtenay Place just after 12 noon, the bus 43 was arriving in 15 minutes. Then all of a sudden, the bus disappeared on the screen and there were no other buses queued up after that, so we decided to "uber" it. It only took us roughly 15minutes to Trelissick Crescent, one of the six entrances to the park.

This walk was an easy one for me as the terrain was flat, although quite hilly in some areas. But really, nothing that made me short of breath or anything. I just had to be careful with the tree roots and some pine needles as they were quite slippery.

I particularly enjoyed the track that followed the Kaiwharawhara stream. In some areas, the stream ran through some big rocks and woods creating mini-waterfalls. The water was very clear, it was so tempting to step into it. I'm not actually sure if people are even allowed to get into the water, but dogs are.

Speaking of dogs, Trelissick park is a dog exercise area and therefore, we saw a number of beautiful dogs unleashed and enjoying the park as much as their human counterparts.

I am a fan of small bridges and in Trelissick Park I saw a couple of really cute ones.

There was an area in the park with some rock formation and when I looked closer I saw some images that looked like faces. This is one thing that I love in Wellington, there is art work everywhere even in the middle of the forest. You just have to know how to find them.

Towards the end of our loop we found the historic powder magazine building. History says that this is where they used to store ammunition in the late 1800s.

The walk is about 3km long and on average takes two hours according to Wellington City Council. In our case, it took twice as long because of course, we had to exercise our photographic skills and we also stopped for a quick snack.

Overall, the loop was good but there were some dead end areas like the way to the fish ladder so we had to go back up a steep-ish hill to continue our walk.

We took the Ngaio Gorge Road exit where we took the bus back to the city.

It was a very pleasant walk and I am very lucky to have found a friend who doesn't only share most of my passions, but also inspires me in a lot of ways.

This is only the beginning of our many walks. But saying that, we only have a few weeks left and the weather has been so inconsiderate lately. So, we'll see how many more can we tick off from our list.

tintin x

My First Ever Movie Date With Myself

Sunday, 11 September 2016

For the longest time, I avoided going to the cinema on my own because I just didn't feel confident enough to be sitting in a dark room next to strangers. Actually, I've got to be honest. It was the fear of being judged that prevented me from going to the movies by myself more than anything. I was scared that people would think that I didn't have friends or that I must have been lonely or worse, unwanted. I don't know but there was something about doing things on my own that freaked me out before. It was not until I came to New Zealand that I gained full confidence in doing things alone.

So yesterday I went on a movie date with myself for the first time ever. 

J dropped me off at The Roxy cinema in Miramar after lunch. I went straight to the till and asked if I could have "a" ticket to see Pete's Dragon. No, I didn't feel judged at all. In fact, it felt like watching a movie alone is a normal thing to do. I even asked for popcorn to complete the experience but unfortunately all they had was a popcorn bar which is really not the same. So I left it.  

I had more than hour to waste, so I decided to order a trim latte and a bran muffin instead. I sat on a table for four and in between deleting photos from my camera and chatting with my friend on messenger, I was reflecting on dates with myself in the past, which was nothing but a few random trips to Starbucks or some cafes to pass the time. I was so absorbed in the moment (of reflection) that I almost didn't realise that the film was about to start soon. I rushed upstairs only to find eager children still hanging out in the lobby with their adult companions. So I took this opportunity to explore the cinema and take photos of some of the artworks on display. And then I decided to go in.

When I entered the room, all three people inside the cinema looked at me. I'd like to think it's because I was early just like them, but it's most likely because I was alone. As I was getting comfortable on my (assigned) seat, a girl excused herself and sat beside me, her friend following her. I wondered if they were accompanied by any parent at all so I asked, "Are you guys on your own?". The girl beside me said that his Dad will be coming after. I said "okay" but I knew that Pete's Dragon is rated PG. I'm sure their parents also knew. I whispered to myself to just mind my own business.

After a few advertisements and future films presentation, the film finally started. I sat in anticipation with my legs crossed and my fingers interlocked on my knee. This got to be a good "first" experience, I thought. Then I caught myself smiling for no reason. And then I realised that for the first time, I was humming into Disney's logo jingle.

I couldn't have chosen any better film for my first ever movie date with myself than Pete's Dragon. I cried ten minutes into the film, from the moment young Pete picked up his book, put it in his backpack and clutched it to his chest. And then I cried many more times after that. 

I am no film critic but this film definitely pinched my heart. I felt that there was so much love in the film that I almost missed the whole point of the villain.  But he's got to be there somehow. I was so engrossed in the film that I felt the sincerity in every word spoken by the characters. Almost every scene to me was heartfelt. I was crying until the end of the film. Don't ask me why.

I stayed until the credits (one thing that I learned from J) and I fell in love with the end credit song immediately. It's entitled "Something Wild" and it's currently my favourite song. 

I left the cinema with so much love and hope, and a few words to live by:

Mr. Meacham: Well, just because you don't see something doesn't mean it's not there.

Grace: And just because you say it's true doesn't mean it is.

Mr. Meacham: If you go through life only seeing what's in front of you, you're going to miss a lot.

Mr. Meacham: There's magic in the woods, if you know where to look for it.

Mr. Meacham: It's magic. It changes the way I see the world- the sunshine, trees, you.

And I found magic in watching a movie all by myself. 

It was indeed a magical first experience and perhaps I would go on a movie date with myself again soon.

tintin x

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