181105-I Voted

With nothing open until 10:00 am, this morning I poked about a bit, searching for things to do in Wellington. I left at 9:30 am to return the bicycle. En route I visited the National War Museum. A great museum, nicely walking through the advent of WW I and, of course, the New Zealand involvement.

I decided, with the bicycle still handy, to cycle to the far side of Wellington to Old John’s Cathedral, a gothic cathedral made completely of wood. In New Zealand, land of earthquakes, building made of wood last longer than those of stone; wood bends, where stone cracks and breaks. My hostel in Napier, made of wood, was one of the few that survived the 1931 earthquake. After visiting Old John’s, I cycled over to return the bicycle with no issues.

After walking back to the hostel, I emailed my absentee voting paperwork to the hostel to print. However, I also needed two witness signatures, which I decided needed to be Americans. I asked at the Front Desk about other Americans staying at the hostel. She spent a while checking with the staff and the registry to determine there might be an American family checking in later. I wandered in and about the area for a while, occasionally stopping back by the Front Desk. Checking back by later an American guy in the process of checking bemusedly signed my paperwork. One to go. The Front Desk told me she’d learned the family was Canadian, leaving me one American short, and no more at the hostel!

Figuring the best place to find Americans without randomly stopping people on the street would be nearby hostels, I visited several, all with no Americans checked in. Frustrated, I contemplated my options. Checking, I located a US Embassy in Wellington. On the far side of town. Nearby Old John’s Cathedral. Darn it!

I headed that way, figuring even the security guard would work. Except they were all Kiwis! After explaining my problem, they called a supervisor and were told I didn’t really need two signatures, I could hand them the paperwork in a sealed envelope. Which I didn’t have. Nor did they. I walked to a post office, purchased and labeled an envelope, and re-read the instructions. Very Clear. Two Signatures. I returned to the Embassy, and persistently explained my concern. That eventually rousted someone from their office to come down, agree, sign the paperwork, and accept it for delivery. I voted.

That crisis resolved, I wandered back through the Te Papa museum, encountering a new display about building earthquake protection in Wellington. The entire museum sits atop some 120 rubber / steel / lead devices that permit the building to float on top of the effects of an earthquake.

I returned to my room, encountering John and my new roommate Brent, from the South Island, heads north to tramp across the mountains near Taupo. I spent a pleasant evening trading tips and experience with the two of them. John also keeps having his electronic gear searched in his travels, and we discussed ways to protect his data.

The end draws nigh. For my last day in Wellington tomorrow?


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