A Travellerspoint blog

Lord of the Rings Tour!!!

...in Wellywood ;)

The day before I left Wellington I went on a Lord of the Rings movie tour. As most fans know, Wellington was ground zero for Lord of the Rings production. The studios are there, Weta Workshop is there and countless of editing studios, sound studios and the like. I got picked up at around 10 in the morning by the tour guide, Ted. He’s a really cool guy and his brother works for Weta so he gets all kinds of inside information which is good for his tour company. =)

I had two other people doing the full day tour with me. One was a girl from London and the other is guy who is from Holland but also has American citizenship. He went to school in Pittsburgh and had a football scholarship. So that’s pretty cool.

The tour started with a 20 minute drive outside of Wellington city to go see some sites where movie sets were built and where other bits and pieces of the films were shot. The first place we went to was called “Dry Creek Quarry” and it’s where they built the set for Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Here are my photos:

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And here is photos of when they were building the sets in that area:

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Helm’s Deep...
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...and Minas Tirith. You can even see the Dry Creek Quarry sign in the bottom right of the photo just like in mine!!!

It’s crazy how something can be completely transformed for a film and how you can’t even recognize it anymore. Movie magic. Gotta love it!!!

We then went to a regional park where scenes were shot for Isengard:

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The dark green strip down the middle is the path where Gandalf rode his horse up to the steps of Orthanc tower to meet with Saruman. They left the grass darker there as mark to show that they had filmed there. Much like the nail that was hammered into the rocks on top of Edoras!!! Here’s me with some trees:

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The big tree trunk in the middle and the tree right next to it with all the branches can be seen to the right of the scene where Gandalf rides up to the stairs of Orthanc.

This is the area where Gandalf and Saruman are walking in the gardens of Isengard discussing how the ring has been found:

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The park bench on the left was hidden by a digital bush that Weta popped in there. And obviously all the scenery above the trees was put in digitally as well. Here’s me and one of the other fans “acting out” the scene. It’s one of my favorites in the trilogy:

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This is a view of the park from up on top of a hill.

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They also filmed the scene where the orcs are chopping down trees to “build an army worthy of Mordor”. They built a fake tree to be put into the ground and then pulled down by the orcs which you can see here:

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That was real rain as well, not movie rain. ;)

This is Ted showing us behind the scenes stills of how these particular shots were filmed.

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The next stop was a little river where they filmed the scene of Aragorn washing up on to the shore after falling over the cliff in The Two Towers. The rocks were covered with sand to make it more comfortable for Viggo and the horse that rescues him.

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These are some sheep that were watching us curiously on the side of the river. They were really cute.
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We had a tv in the tour van to show us certain scenes that we were going to see the locations of. This is Faramir’s dream sequence of him finding his brother’s body in the boat that Aragorn put him in:

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And the actual river bit:

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Next up was Rivendell. YAY!!! Here’s just some random shots of the really pretty river that runs through the park:

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Ted showing us the particular areas of interest:

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This shot was only seen for about 3 seconds in the first film!!!

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Then we went to go see the area where this very famous publicity shot of Legolas was taken:

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Which means that we got a go at it as well!!! I was debating wether or not to put these photos in but in the end, I don’t really care cause they are quite funny...

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And here’s the sign they put up in the park to let everyone know about the genius that took place there:

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Next was another 10 minute drive or so to this empty parking lot...

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...where they filmed these scenes:

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Again, movie magic!!!

We continued on back to Wellington city and we stopped to look at the view from the top of the hill:

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It’s hard to see in this picture but there is a black boat to the right of the big white one which is the boat that was used in King Kong!!! Someone bought it off Peter Jackson for $1.00 just so he could get rid of it. The guy who bought it wanted to sink the boat and make it some kind of diving attraction but apparently there is a lot of legal stuff involved and a lot of cleaning of the boat that has to be done before that can happen so now the boat just sits there.

Next stop was Mt. Victoria where the very first day of filming for The Lord of the Rings took place!!! And also where some of my all time favorite scenes of the entire trilogy took place. It was these scenes that really caught my imagination and where I realized that I was watching something totally different and amazing!!! The first bit we went to was this cliff edge that looks over a little park.

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They filmed this scene here:

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And this one!!! (One of my all time favorites!!!)

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How cool are these trees???

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A little sign telling us about Hobbits:

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Ted shows us Frodo and Sam’s tree:

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Apparently this stick poking out can be seen to the left of the shot:

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Photo op!!!

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I love it. =)

This is the hill the hobbits fall down when they are running from Farmer Maggot:

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And this is where they land:

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“See???” says Ted. You can see the bush to the right.

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Yet another photo op, this time complete with props.

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This is where Frodo is standing when he senses something not quite right and the other hobbits are worried about mushrooms. Typical hobbits.

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And this is where the hobbits hide under the tree trunk. Obviously, a fake tree was built for the scene:

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“Okay, I’m getting off the road!!! Sheesh!!!”

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Yet another great scene where Frodo and Merry are looking up at the Ringwraith. Surprisingly, the bit where the hobbits are watching isn’t that far from this area but they are looking in the opposite direction (something Donna and I always pondered over).

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We then got back into the van and headed towards MIramar, home of Weta Workshop and all other Weta studios. This wall is used to test out green and blue screen for digital shots. Awesome!!! This area actually looks very familiar to me and I think it might be the area where they tested out the scale double hobbits to the actors to see how much they looked alike. It’s a really cute behind the scenes bit.

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That big gray building was used to film all of the Skull Island stuff for King Kong.

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We then pulled up to Weta Workshop and Ted pointed out this car to us:

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This car belongs to Peter Lyon who made all of the weapons for the films. The license plate is appropriate. =) This confirms even more that everyone is getting together to do pre-production work for The Hobbit. How exciting!!!

Then we got to go into the Weta Cave for a browse. I’d already been twice before and you’ve already seen photos from it so I won’t post them again. I got a really cool souvenir, though!!! They took all of the chain mail from the movies and made them into key chains!!! I love it!!! A little piece of the film on my backpack. =)

After the tour, I met up with Sean and Sinead to say goodbye. We had dinner at a place called Fidel’s which the cast and crew from Lord of the Rings visited quite frequently!!!

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So there you have it!!! An entire day worth of Lord of the Rings activities!!! Now that is what I call an awesome day!!!

By the by, this blog took hours to put together what with all the photos I had to find and all that. So I better get some SERIOUS comments on this blog. ;)

Posted by Squarabara 16:56 Comments (0)

Wellington Zoo!!!

overcast 46 °F

Hey all!!!

This entry is a bit out of date as I am no longer in Wellington but back in Christchurch with all of my good friends at Charlie B's!!! I didn't have a chance to update my blog before I left Wellington so I am doing it here now. Without further ado, here are my photos from the Wellington Zoo. Hey, that rhymed!!!

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I finally got to see a Kiwi!!! They are so precious with their long skinny beaks. This poor fella lost one of his legs in one of those spring traps. So they named him "Tahi" which is the Maori word for "one". How appropriate. Without his other leg he can't survive in the wild so he will spend the rest of his life at the Wellington Zoo where he will be very well taken care of. Speaking of being very well taken care of... how awesome is Weta Workshop??? They make EVERYTHING. And then some. They put together a prosthetic leg for this guy to see if it would help him out with getting around easier. Although the leg does work, Tahi doesn't like it very much as I'm sure it doesn't feel natural to him and he probably doesn't understand that it's to help him out. Bless him.
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And now for my all time favorite animal... the tiger!!!

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How awesome is this photo??? If the fence wasn't there it would be perfect.
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They are beautiful animals.
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Pretty kitty!!!
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I got to watch homeboy feed both of the tigers. It was so amazing to see them stand up against the fence cause then you really get an idea of how big they are. And these guys are the smallest of all tigers!!! They are Sumatran tigers and the one above is the male. His mother shares the cage with him as well.
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This is his mum.
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This was so cute. They were rubbing their backs against the fence to scratch it. And they were making these really funny noises but it wasn't purring as tigers don't purr, believe it or not. ;)
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This is the male. I can't remember their proper names.

I took like 3 times as many tiger photos but I can't upload them right now as the connection is a bit slow. So I just put up my favorites.

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Giraffes are also very cute with their long eye lashes. And they have such puppy dog eyes, too!!!
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Mommy and baby!!! Although baby is almost fully grown.

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A red-bummed monkey.

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I'll be seeing loads of these soon!!!
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And these, too!!!

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How awesome is this??? I had no idea that Cheetah's were so domesticated. At least, compared to the other wild cats. And they purr SO LOUD. You can hear it like 20 feet away from the fence. It's amazing.
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This is a Red Panda (Claus). It's like a raccoon, a cat and a little bear. Or something like that.
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YAY!!! So that was my trip to the Wellington Zoo. And for those that have seen it, this is the zoo where Peter Jackson filmed some scenes from his zombie movie "Braindead", or "Dead Alive" as it is known in the states. Check it out if you want a good laugh. Bloodiest film ever made!!! It's a world record holder!!! =)

I also have photos to put up of my Lord of the Rings tour that I did in Wellington which was SUPER AWESOME, by the way. And also loads of other photos from my friend Hayley and I going around the south island. Good times!!! Talk to you all soon!!!

Posted by Squarabara 20:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

It's been awhile!!!

all seasons in one day 47 °F

Hello all!!! Yes I know it’s been forever. Again. But that’s what happens when you work two jobs. My life right now is literally sleep, work, sleep, work, sleep, work. When I’m not sleeping I’m working and when I’m not working I’m sleeping. The fact that I am sitting down to type this up now is nothing short of a miracle. And you should all love me for it.

So what’s been going on??? Well, since I last left you, I took on a night job here at the Base hostel. It’s pretty much the same tasks as working for accommodation except now it’s two hours longer and I’m getting paid for it. I figure a little extra cash never hurt no one. But I also pretty much had no choice but to take the job. Why, you ask??? I’ll tell you...

At the beginning of April, my boss decided that she was only gonna have paid staff in the evening which, for me, was not good as I couldn’t do work for accommodation during the day as I already had a day job that I couldn’t switch to nights. So I asked her if I could take the paid job in the evening. She said that was fine but the only thing about that is that paid staff are not allowed to stay in the hostel. I was totally bummed as I had made a home here for myself and I didn’t want to find another place to live as I couldn’t afford rent anyway. I had no idea what I was going to do. Later on I was talking to my friend about it in reception trying to get some advice and the reception manager overheard what I was saying and told me that pretty soon, one of the paid staff was leaving who was also one of the fire wardens for the hostel. She told me that I could take his spot and become fire warden AND take the paying job. And being fire warden means I have to stay in the hostel anyway. I was so happy with the way it turned out and that I didn’t have to leave the hostel. So that’s what I’ve been doing since April. Being fire warden pretty much means that whenever there is a fire alarm I have to go from door to door and make sure everyone is out of their rooms. There hasn’t been a fire alarm since I’ve taken the job *knocks on wood*, so I haven’t had to use my fire warden responsibilities. And my rent is only 75 per week so it’s not bad at all. That was my rent when I was staying in the Bay of Islands. So it’s all good. The only bad thing is I’ve had to switch rooms twice in the past month and it’s a bit annoying as I have to move all of stuff around which is a pain. But I’d rather have that then move it somewhere else in town.

Since my last blog, I have met some pretty cool people. There’s a girl named Courtney who’s from Michigan and she’s traveling with her boyfriend who’s from England. His name is Michael but we call him Bing as his last name is Bingham. They are awesome people. There’s a girl from England named Claire who works with me in the evening and another girl, Lisa who is from Scotland. We’ve all had some good times together. Courtney and Bing have since gotten an apartment together but while they were here, we had DVD nights and we watched DVD’s outside our rooms in the hallway. Those are always fun. We all went to go see “Wolverine” together. It was so good, go see it. And then after watching that we had an “X-Menathon” and watched the first two X-men films. We would’ve watched the 3rd but I didn’t bring that one with me as it’s the worst of the 3. But now I wish I would’ve brought it as it’s more Wolverine for me to watch. I think Wolverine is the sexiest character in geekdom. And the character itself is just extremely interesting. I now want to get into the comics. Speaking of films, I’ve also seen “The Reader”, “Watchmen” and “Star Trek”. GO SEE STAR TREK. It is fantastic. It’s made for people who don’t know anything about Star Trek and you truly don’t have to know anything about it to see it. I mean, everyone knows the characters of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. So the names you will know. But you don’t have to know anything about their history or any details of the Star Trek universe. It was incredibly entertaining and it actually brought tears to my eyes a few times. Very well made and I highly recommend it. It actually makes me want to see the other Star Trek films. I can then see for myself if the myth is true. That every odd numbered Star Trek film is crap. Or is it every even numbered one??? Either way, I can judge for myself when I watch them. (By the by, “The Reader” and “Watchmen” were also really good films. Kate Winslet is brilliant in “The Reader” and the opening sequence in “Watchmen” with the Bob Dylan song is worth the price of admission alone.)

Another exciting thing that I got to do was to go meet John Howe at the Weta Cave!!! For those not in the know, John Howe was one of two main conceptual artists for the Lord of the Rings films but before they were hired on for that job he had been doing Tolkien illustrations since before I was born!!! I wasn’t even a glimmer in my parent’s eye. He did what’s probably the best known painting of Gandalf the Grey which you can see below:

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He just had two new books come out on his own techniques on painting and they are a phenomenal read. One is called “Fantasy Art Workshop” which is on fantasy art in general and the other is called “Forging Dragons” which is about all the dragon pieces he has done over the years. He is such a good artist. And quite nice. He’s a very quiet man but not shy. He signed both of the books for me and I also got a really cool Weta Cave tote bag that I carried the books in. It’s awesome. I just found out that Alan Lee (the other main conceptual artist on Lord of the Rings and famous Tolkien illustrator) will also be doing a signing on the 20th of June!!! I don’t know if I’ll be around in Wellington during that time but if I can work it out I’d love to go and meet him as well. Another cool thing is that it’s been confirmed that Viggo Mortensen is currently in Wellington on “movie business”. I wonder what “movie business” that may be??? Hmmm... Could it be “The Hobbit”??? I bet it is!!! Why else would John Howe AND Alan Lee be in town around the same time as well??? That is so cool. ;)

It has now been eleven months since I first arrived in New Zealand. Can you believe it’s been almost a year already??? That trips me out, man!!! I also have one more week of work at both jobs and then I’m going on a little mini trip to the south island with my good friend, Hayley. We’re gonna spend around ten days in the top half of the south island. First, we will catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton and then we will take the train from Picton down to Christchurch. How exciting!!! I’ve been wanting to go on one of the train rides since I got here. So it should be quite fun. We will spend four days in Christchurch and I’ll get to catch up with my Charlie B’s friends and introduce them to Hayley. I’m really stoked for that. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to go and see them one more time before I leave. Then from there we’re gonna take the bus to a the small town of Hanmer Springs. They have these really cool thermal pools there that are supposed to be really awesome so we want to go and spend a day there. From there we’ll take another bus and go up to the town of Nelson which is supposed to be quite neat. Everyone raves about Nelson and I haven’t been able to go yet so I’m really excited about that. About an hour and a half from there is the Abel Tasman National Park which is one of New Zealand’s most popular parks. We’re gonna try and go there for a day and do some kayaking if it’s warm enough. Oh, joy!!!

So what am I doing after that, you ask??? Well, I have decided to spend a year in Australia. HOORAH!!! I just got approved yesterday for my Australian visa so that was really exciting. I will fly into Sydney from Christchurch and spend some time working and traveling over there. Good times!!! And since I’ve met loads of travelers over here in New Zealand, a lot of them are either on round the world trips or are planning on going over to Australia anyway as it’s so close so I will be able to meet up with a lot of good friends over there. And the other good thing is that if I ever miss New Zealand, I can always fly back over there for a week or so as flights are generally quite cheap. Speaking of which, I will be doing that around November or so as Curtis has had to postpone his trip AGAIN. So around November I will be back in Middle-Earth to explore with Curtis and show him around the places that I know. How lovely. I can’t wait to start the next chapter in my travels. Which means, a new blog for Australia!!! I know you’re on the edge of your seat!!! ;)

Here’s a few random photos from our nights out and about in Wellington:

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Hayley and Sinead
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Courtney and Me
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Dinner at Hayley's work with me, Sinead, Courtney and Bing.
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Gui, me and Guto. They are from Brazil.
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They like to give kisses.
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Ezster works in reception.
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This is Balazs (pronounced Boe-losh). He is from Hungary and so is Ezster.
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This is Waieze. He works in reception as well and does not like to have his photo taken.
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This is Ana from northern Ireland. She was the housekeeping supervisor and this was the night of her going away party.
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Ana dancing with Hayley in the background.
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Me, Bing and Courtney.
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"Who, me???"
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CK says hi.
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Ana and me again.
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Lisa from Scotland and Hayley.
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Another photo of Hayley and I.
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This is at a place called Tokyo Tea House. They serve you drinks in tea pots!!!
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Tea for three!!!
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This is the cool lights that they have hanging in the bar.
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Hayley, Courtney, me, Claire and Lisa all ready to go out. YAY!!!

Well, that is all for now, I will be back very shortly as since I will not be working soon I will have plenty of time to post a blog on my adventures with Hayley in the south. Take care and miss you all!!!

Posted by Squarabara 23:50 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Longest gap between blogs EVER!!!

sunny 59 °F

This is the longest I've gone without blogging so far on my trip. Sorry, people!!! The job search and the day to day worrying of surviving got in the way of all my blogging shenanigans. But I'm back. I'm black. I'm madder than a heart attack.

Not really.

So, what has happened since the last blog??? Well, there was the Cuba Street Carnival which was cool. Cuba Street is one of the main shopping areas in Wellington. It's pretty urban. Really cool shops there. But anyways, lots of bands played and there were Jamaican's selling jerk chicken and all that good stuff. Later in the evening they had the parade which was quite neat. Lots of cool costumes.

The next big thing was I finally got a job!!! Most people know that by now but it's mandatory that I blog about it in my blog about traveling and working overseas. I work at a cafe called "Esquire's Coffee Houses". They sell fair trade organic coffee and it's quite tasty. I'm full time, all day shifts. So that works out perfect 'cause then at night I can clean at the hostel for my bed. So I'm not paying any rent!!! I love it. I work mostly with a girl named Helen who is the other full timer here. We were hired at the same time. She's very sweet. She's 18 but seems much older. We get on very well.

The other event that has passed is I had my 28th birthday!!! Holy mother. Twenty-eight. I remember my 21st birthday like it was yesterday. And besides this birthday that I just had that was the coolest one ever as I was with my bestest friends and I had a hobbit cake. Best cake ever. Curtis got it for me. =)

But anyways, for this birthday the girls and I decided to get all dressed up to go out. I got a cute pink number AND a tiara. It was so cute!!! Here are the photos that I and others took that night:

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Rose, Shelly, me, Hayley and Sinead

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Me and Shellie

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Shellie and CK

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Sinead and Hayley

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Tom aka Tingols aka Frodo

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Shellie, Sinead and Maria (Maria is teaching me Spanish!!!)

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Me and Tom aka Tingols aka Frodo

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Rose

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Me

Didn't really take that many photos. My friends took more.

Then this last Friday we went out for Rose as it was her last weekend at the hostel before she goes off to travel the south island. Here's some photos from that:

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This photo reminds me of a Spice Girls video!!!

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Hayley, Shellie and Liz. Liz works at an Irish pub called "Molly Malones". Rose works there with her.

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Hayley and me. Hayley is from Northern Ireland.

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Shellie and me.

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Me and Hayley.

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And again.

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Cheers!!!

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Me and Rose.

Most of these photos were taken at a bar/restaurant called "St. John's". There was a bartender there who looked like a taller more rugged version of Elijah Wood so we asked if we could take a photo of him:

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"Who does he remind me of???"

He looks more like him in person than in photos. And he was really nice, too.

I'm becoming more and more comfortable at the hostel. It's nice to have all of your friends around so when you get bored you can find someone to talk to or to make dinner with. Sometimes we have DVD nights. I have the best movie collection in the hostel (as one would guess ;) so everyone asks to watch mine. Here we are watching "Spaced" in the hall right outside our dorm rooms:

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That's Kay on the left. She's from England but she has a really strong accent and I thought she was from Ireland. Then there's Hayley and Tom. Tom is from Kent, England. Total sweetheart. Here he is playing DJ:

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While we play spoons:

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The other guy on the left is Miles and he's from Canada.

Well, I was gonna write more but right now I can't be bothered. Oh, but I will say that Curtis is visiting in June and I'm SUPER stoked!!! We are gonna start planning things out very soon. Of course, we will take tons of photos and post those up when we get the chance. We only have 2 weeks to fit in the whole country so hopefully we can squeeze in a blog here and there. Until next time!!!

Posted by Squarabara 14:39 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Part 2 of the longest blog in the history of time!!!

Wow. That's the first time I've had to separate my blog into 2 entries. CRAZY!!! Moving on...

The next day I got up to go look at an apartment that had some rooms for rent. It was okay but I don’t think I can afford it. But one of the guys who went to go look at the flat as well is going to the film school that I would be going to if I lived in a perfect world. I was so envious but I thought it was really cool that he was going there. He was quite cute as well. Speaking of the film school I got back in touch with the secretary and she said she can meet up with me next week which will be really nice. I can’t wait to go to the school and check it out!!! Maybe I can get a job there. That would be sweet as, bro.

After I checked out the apartment I went to meet up with Ferdie who is the guy running the restaurant. He said he would hire me if I wanted the job but that he can’t guarantee my hours. He said he’d get back to me when he has a better idea of what he can give me and that I can get back to him whenever I want so that if I wanted to go and look for another job I could and then have this job as a worst-case scenario. So that was really nice of him. I’m definitely gonna have a look around and pass out my resume as I need at least 40 hours a week. Especially living in the city. One can spend a lot of money here. But oh my goodness. It is so nice to know that I have a lot of options in terms of things to do and places to go. I will never live on an island again.

After I checked out the apartment I went to meet up with Ferdie who is the guy running the restaurant. He said he would hire me if I wanted the job but that he can’t guarantee my hours. He said he’d get back to me when he has a better idea of what he can give me and that I can get back to him whenever I want so that if I wanted to go and look for another job I could and then have this job as a worst-case scenario. So that was really nice of him. I’m definitely gonna have a look around and pass out my resume as I need at least 40 hours a week. Especially living in the city. One can spend a lot of money here. But oh my goodness. It is so nice to know that I have a lot of options in terms of things to do and places to go. I will never live on an island again.

Later on I decided to go and see a film. This was a really big deal for me for 2 reasons. One... it would be the first time that I would ever go to a film by myself and two... it would be in the theatre that the Lord of the Rings films premiered in and the theatre that Peter Jackson had renovated with the help of other people from the cast and crew who donated their money to help get it up and running again. YAY!!! Every chair has a plaque with the person’s name who donated money for the theatre. I sat in either Liv Tyler’s or Howard Shore’s chair. Awesome!!! I didn’t know which was which as the plaques are on the arm rests not the actual chair but either way that rocks!!! So, they only place one film a day there so I decided to see “Slumdog Millionaire”. Amazing. Lovely. Brilliant. I love Danny Boyle. Everyone go see this film you will feel so good after you watch it. The sound system in this theatre was amazing, by the way. I wouldn’t expect anything less of Mr. Jackson. =)

After that I went back to the Backpacker’s to meet back up with Sean and Sinead. We decided to go down to the BASEment Bar again as we really liked it. We left a note for Hannah to come and join us when she got back from the “7’s. She met up with us after awhile and photo sessions began:

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After that we headed outside as they had set up a stage for a Led Zeppelin cover band!!! We had heard them warming up earlier from our room as we were getting ready so of course I was all, “We are SO gonna go watch them!!!” Plus, Hannah likes music that she wasn’t alive for either so it worked out. We went out into the crowd and made our way to the front, or at least as close as we could. The band was amazing. I got some good photos of them as well.

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Met some crazy costumers:

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Then we went back to the BASEment Bar and saw some more costumers:

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I found the Elmo's!!!
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Ron, this one is for you.
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It was good fun. The next day Hannah had to leave to go down to the south island. We were sad to see her go. =( But we made a good friend. The next people to move into our dorm was a dude named Gorm from Norway. it was really sweet. Apparently “Gorm” in Irish means “Blue” so we called him Blue for the time he was with us. Then we had a girl named Laura who was from Germany. She was nice as well.

The day after they got here Sean and Sinead had the day off so we decided to go to the “Te Papa Museum”. It has free entry so we thought why not??? This place is amazing and it has like 6 different levels so it’s a bit confusing to get around in but there is always something new to look at. They had a real giant squid on display there that was way wicked looking. It’s the only museum in the world that has one on display:

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It’s really gross but cool. Oh!!! And then they had a huge photo of when The Beatles came to New Zealand in 1964!!!

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That totally made my day. Look at how adorable Paul is!!! Here’s some other cool photos that I took:

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Entrance
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Old Skool Chinese Earthquake reader
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Giant New Zealand floor map
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Maori war canoe. It's HUGE!!!
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Maori tiki
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"The Treaty of Waitangi" New Zealand's version of their Declaration of Independence. It was like a story high. Not the real one. Just the one in the museum.

About 5 years ago they had a Lord of the Rings event there with all the costumes, weapons, prosthetics and what not. I wish they still had it!!! I totally missed out on that one.

After the museum we went to go see a film. YAY!!! It’s another Oscar nominated one called “Milk”. Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk who was the first openly gay man to be elected into politics. I love Sean Penn. He was SO good in this film. I love when straight guys play gay men well ‘cause you completely forget that they’re straight and you go “Hang on, this guy has a wife and kids in real life. Wow, he’s GOOD!!!” That’s exactly how I reacted after seeing this film. It’s directed by Gus van Sant and those who know his work can totally tell. It was really good, I highly recommend it. So that’s 2 Oscar films down and 3 to go!!!

Then we headed over to Cuba St. so Sean and Sinead could go over the details of moving into their new flat. Got to meet some of their flatties and they seemed really nice. I figure that I’ll probably spend some time over there so new friends to be made. YAY!!! We then headed back to the hostel to eat dinner and then went to the BASEment Bar for a beer. The BASEment Bar has become sort of a 2nd home for us. Plus the crew are way super awesome. As you can see here:

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K, maybe mental is more the correct term.

That night we played bingo and Blue won a fifty dollar bar tab. WOO-HOO!!! Good times to be had!!!

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Went to bed pretty early that night as we were tired from walking around all day.

Woke up the next day to find out that I could go and view a flat that I had emailed someone about so that was cool. I had to take the bus to get there but Wellington has really good AND cheap transport so no worries there. I couldn’t go and view the flat until after 5 so I thought to myself “Hmmm, what should I go and do until then???” I then decided that I was gonna go and hunt down “Weta Workshop”. Oh, glorious “Weta Workshop”!!! It’s on the same bus route to the place that I was gonna go view so it worked out perfect. In the last couple years “Weta Workshop” has opened up what they have called “The Weta Cave”. It’s a shop right outside the studios that has some of the artists’ work on display and some souvenirs that you can buy. I couldn’t wait to get there!!! The bus dropped me off and the bus driver said that I had to keep walking further down the road and then I couldn’t miss it. Exciting!!! So I kept walking and I went on for awhile thinking that maybe I HAD missed it but as soon as I thought that I turned the corner and saw a huge “Weta Cave” sign!!!

Okay, so those who know me know that this is a HUGE deal for me. This is the place where 75% of Lord of the Rings production took place. The place where thousands of weapons, costumes, prosthetics and so on and so forth were created for the films. I had to walk alongside the studios to get to the entrance of the “Weta Cave” and as I walked by I saw the entrance to “Weta Workshop” (it took all my strength not to walk in and ask if Richard Taylor was in) and some of the windows were open so I could hear people sanding, hammering and sawing and I just knew that they were working on something amazing. Who knows??? Maybe they are working on mock-ups for “The Hobbit”!!! ACK!!! HOW AWESOME!!! Since the windows were open a bit I could see the tops of some of the desks and a lot of them had Lord of the Rings statuettes on them. *sigh* Talk about the most amazing job. “I get to wake up every day and go create new characters for movies.” So freaking awesome. Then I turned the corner and found the entrance to “The Weta Cave”. Just as I walked in they were starting a 20 minute film that showed a quick glimpse of how “Weta Workshop” got started and all that. It was nice to hear Richard Taylor’s voice again. His accent is so strong it almost sounds like he’s mimicking himself it but it’s truly his Kiwi accent. The film went on to say that the room we were sitting in was actually where they created everything for “The Frighteners” with Michael J. Fox. AWESOME AGAIN!!! The shop is actually very small but I think I still spent about an hour there and I looked at the same stuff over and over again. It never gets old to me. Here’s the photos I got:

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Lurtz (which I have seen countless times at Comic-Con and Oscar Party events.)
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Elven Cloak. Not the real one but made from the same material as the ones made for the actors. This one you can buy but it'll cost you an arm and a leg. I like my limbs, thanks.
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Cool Elvish swords.
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More cool swords. You can see the small version of "Sting" for the scale double in the bottom right corner. How adorable!!!
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A cool Zorro maquette.
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Kong holding Ann
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Kong standing guard over the Lord of the Rings collectables that are now incredibly rare!!! As you can see below:

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That Balrog is worth anywhere from 20 to 25,000 U.S. That could buy me a car!!!
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I'd love to have that Witch King.

Look, Ron!!! Gentle Giant does Lord of the Rings maquettes!!!

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Legolas
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Witch King

  • drool* I want that Witch King one!!!

I just thought it was so cool that after 7 years I was standing in the same place where all the people I admire worked so hard to make The Lord of the Rings come together. It was a bit surreal. I wish I had someone there to experience it with me.

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Afterwards, stopped by the flat with the room for rent. The place is a bit old but very cozy and the people seem way nice. They have an adorable dog that looks like an Alaskan Husky but it was a bit chubby so I couldn’t tell. It was very sweet, though. Got back on the bus, headed back into the backpackers and now I’m just chillin’. I had a great day, today. Mainly ‘cause of all the Weta madness. I don’t have a job yet and I have no idea where I’m gonna live but at least I got to go to “Weta Workshop”!!!

Okay so that was yesterday and now it's today. Today is crap as it's raining cats and dogs and I have no one to hang out with. Boo!!! I'm thinking maybe I'll watch a DVD. Of what, I don't know. But it'll be awesome whatever it is. Miss you all, love you tons and if you made it this far without dying of boredom then you are a ROCK STAR!!!

Posted by Squarabara 23:39 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

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