September 22, 2013 … a stranger in a strange land*

Weather persists.

Greyness, rain and wind prevail. It must be spring. Where to find some colour? I had been in the city earlier in the day, and noted some possibility for city character shots.  I parked in Blair Street in the heart of the Courtenay Place Restaurant and bar precinct.

This is not my natural habitat, and I a sure I don’t possess any clothes “cool” enough to get me past the bouncers ate many of the establishments anyway. Reading about the recent debate over liquor licensing hours in the city, I gather that things don’t really start happening until around 11 pm most nights, by which time I am usually safely tucked up for the night. The party continues until around 5 am. It’s a lifestyle of which I have no experience or even comprehension. Perhaps I was born old.

Courtenay Place, looking West

Restaurants everywhere

So let’s begin on the South side of Courtenay Place looking to the West. I said earlier that this is not my natural habitat. Let me revise that slightly … I am rarely here after dark. Just behind me when I made this first image is the Majestic, my favourite place for Yum Char lunches. I recommend it to anyone in Wellington who likes that style of Chines food (and I certainly do).

Courtenay Place and Tory Street

Of course, the international fast food chains are everywhere (In Australia, Burger King is Hungry Jack’s)

On the corner of Courtenay Place and Tory Street, looking South up Tory St., I can see a police car waiting for the lights. I believe that the zebra-striped building in the background was at one stage the Wellington branch of the Forest and Bird Society, the Department of Conservation**  and their whimsical paint scheme has been retained by the backpackers’ hostel that is now there.

St James Theatre the largest theatre suitable for opera and ballet in town

Mature elegance

Next in line is further to the West on Courtenay Place looking across the road to the St James Theatre, which is my other exception … I have been known to come here after dark. In fact, Mary and I saw a splendid performance of Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” here just last week, and a month or two earlier, a fantastic performance of Swan Lake.  She is a grand old lady, beautifully restored and seismically strengthened. Inside it is a lovely period piece. Outside is one of “Go Wellington’s” new ADL Enviro 200 buses in the black and gold of Wellington.

Carnivore's delight - vegetarians avert your eyes

The smell was amazing … As in Ooka Tadadsuke’s famous short story, I should have paid for the smell of the food with the sound of my money

Walking back the other way, the aroma of a Middle Eastern shawarma, or doner kebab. When I first came to Wellington in the mid sixties, eateries tended to serve steak and eggs, or fish and chips with piles of thickly buttered white bread and coffee which was boiled with the milk in it (urk!). In those days people just didn’t seem to eat “foreign” food. Happily, there are restaurants specialising in the cuisines of Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Italy, France, Wales, Ireland, Thailand, and many other places. I resisted the temptation to eat, though I grabbed the shot.

Outdoor seating on Courtenay Place

Italy, Ireland, Italy again, and New Zealand food all in friendly proximity

A little further along, a diverse line of restaurants has seating outside to accommodate smokers. It is unlawful to permit smoking in an enclosed space in restaurants and bars, so even in the cold and rain, these tend to be full later in the day, and the gas heaters have to work hard to offset the chill.

Enough for now.

*this title has no connection to Heinlein’s SF story

** correction supplied by my good friend Roy


About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in adversity, Architecture, Food, Weather, Wellington. Bookmark the permalink.

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