Friday was a gray sort of day in Wellington. In the morning we did some catching up and sorting out. After lunch we drove the short distance into the city. We wanted to do one of the tours of Parliament, and were lucky enough to get a car park right outside. So far so good. It was one of those new-fangled pay-and-display systems, with a maximum time of 2 hours. The machine even took credit cards with a surcharge of 50 cents which didn’t seem too much compared with the $8 fee to park there for just a couple of hours. There was a security check to get into the public reception area and then a wait of 40 minutes before the next tour. There was a good number for the tour, maybe 30 or so. And it’s free which is also good. The tour was interesting. It took us through bits of the building that house the debating chamber and the adjacent parliamentary library. We’d forgotten about the refurbishment/rebuilding back in the 1990s. The tour takes in the foundation system put underneath to ward off earthquakes; actually to improve their chances of surviving one. I guess it’s like re-piling your house if your house was a large old stone building. One of the best bits is the roofed over courtyard at the rear. Is it an atrium if there are not any trees?
After the tour and a few photos outside, we thought we’d have time for a quick drink across the road at the Backbencher Pub (as seen on TV7) before the car turned into a pumpkin. The place seemed busy for 4pm on a Friday afternoon but then again parliament wasn’t sitting and all the MPs were away so their staff might have been sneaking out a bit earlier at the end of the week? We had coffees and on our way out had a look around at the memorabilia on the walls. That was a mistake. By the time we got outside a parking person was writing out a ticket for our car. Naughty car! It had overstayed by 9 minutes. It felt like a very unfriendly gesture. The ticket even carried the Wellington slogan “Absolutely Positive Wellington” which seemed a weird bit of negative reinforcement. In a cranky frame of mind we set off to the carpark next to Te Papa; we thought we’d check out the exhibitions there. The machine there said parking was $2.50 per hour to 6pm and after that there was a minimum of $5 to park later. So I put in $2.70 to last us to 6pm when Te Papa closes. Only trouble was the machine wouldn’t give me a ticket, it wanted $5 even though there were not 2 hours to 6pm. Next trouble was that we didn’t have any more coins and while the machine had information about card payments it didn’t seem to actually accept them. Next trouble was that the machine wouldn’t give me my $2.70 back. I was getting cranky enough to contemplate inflicting $2.70 worth of damage on the machine to try to get my own back. I went over to the nearby parking booth to ask for help but was informed by the attendant that car park was nothing to do with Te Papa and was operated by Wellington City – the Absolutely Positive one. What really added injury to insult was the barrier arm on the Te Papa car park hitting Wyn on the head at this stage. The blow glanced down her face and struck her shoulder. It didn’t knock her out or over but left her shocked and no longer interested in Te Papa – very understandably. We went back to Suzi in Newlands for a cup of tea and I wrote a nice letter to the people at the Wellington City Council telling them at some length about our Absolutely Awful Parking Experiences in their lovely city. It’ll be interesting to see what they make of it/me.
Later in the evening we ventured back into the city and the same Te Papa car park. We met Wyn’s son and found a restaurant for dinner. My Nasi Goreng came with a fried egg on top which I thought was interesting. Later we enjoyed a few games of pool and later still some gelato icecreams. It was a good way to put right a day that hadn’t gone well for a bit.