Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Few More Shots of Wellington

I meant to post these earlier, but never got around to it. First, some super-touristy pictures:

Below is the "Beehive." It's where all the politicians have their offices. It also happens to be across the street from my office building. I have to say it's pretty cool looking out the window and seeing the building where all kinds of important government stuff is going on. But I guess all kinds of important government stuff should be going on inside my building too, but once you're working there you realize that "exciting" really means "bureaucratic." Better to stay out of the Beehive and maintain the illusion.

The really impotant stuff goes on in the building on the other side of the Beehive: Parliament. I took a tour during my first week in Wellington, and was astounded by the lack of security. The full extent of the security check I endured was leaving my cell phone and camera in my backpack and checking it at the visitor's desk. The only reason I had to leave my bag was because it was large; if I'd had a purse instead I could have kept it with me. Apparently the cell phone is banned so that it doesn't disturb anyone, and the camera so you can't take unauthorized pictures (there are very strict rules on what can and can't be filmed--TV cameras filming proceedings can only film the person who's speaking. One channel just got in trouble for showing an MP who wasn't speaking, but instead was giving the finger to another MP. But that's another story). Anyway, what really surprised me was that there was no metal detector of any kind or any kind of check--other than your own honesty--that you don't have any contraband (a guy who was on the tour with me had a distinctively phone-shaped bulge in his pocket and nobody seemed to care). I've been to bars right here in Wellington that have more security. Apparently the Beehive just put in some metal detectors, but they're only in operation during business hours. That certainly wouldn't fly in DC. Or even in the Washtenaw County Courthouse.

Now on to less touristy things. (Note: click on the pictures to make them bigger) I took this first picture from the top of Mt. Victoria and it's exciting because you can see my building! I know you can't really tell what it's pointing at, but it's the best I could do. Other highlights of this picture include the Basin Reserve (that big green cricket field), Massey University (not where my flatmates go, but I guess it's still worth noting), and the War Memorial (pretty much self-explanatory).

This next picture is also taken from Mt. Victoria. This one looks out over the Wellington Harbour and the Wellington CBD (Central Business District). As you can see, my job is in a pretty central location, right across from the Beehive. Technically it's the Treasury Building, but the Ministry of Health is in there too, obviously. To give you an idea of how this fits in with the last picture, it takes me about half an hour to walk from my flat (I walk north and slightly west) to work.

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