The Kelowna waterfront is touristy but nice. The lake is beautiful and sparkly. Beyond the waterfront the downtown is old and beat-up, but interspersed with high-rise condos and older buildings repurposed into restaurants and brewpubs, all of which looks very new. There are a fair number of small old houses for sale as teardowns.
And there’s a curling club, which I believe is some sort of national requirement.
Alcalde was right about the saison at the Red Bird brewery. It’s not too tart the way some of them are. I’ve had four or five saisons in my life, so I think I’m something of an expert.
I’m staying in the Hotel Zed on the waterfront, which is a ridiculously fun, unpretentious hotel that looks damn good on your Instagram, it says here. They’ve basically taken an old motel and fixed it up with flashy, retro decor. They have rotary phones in the rooms, plus instructions on how to use them. I don’t have an Instagram account, so I’ll have to put the pictures here.
When I arrived on Sunday afternoon, it was sunny and hot and there were pscrillions of tourists. On Monday morning it was a lot cooler and there was hardly anyone around except for the street people. I promenaded on the promenade and bought an Ogopogo sweatshirt.
There are surprisingly few Ogopogo-themed items for sale. Even Ogopogo Giftland had only two choices. Shockingly, the visitor’s centre had nothing on the Ogopogo at all! It was as if he doesn’t even exist!
So I think it’s fair to say that [your blogger] is drifting way, way off track in New Zealand and an intervention may be necessary. The evidence is pretty clear.
First, his blog postings are coming at intervals of days, not daily or even hourly like any blogworthy New Zealand trekker (or, to use the local parlance, “Tramper”) would do.
Second, we see video proof that he is being attacked by murderous parrots and is forced to flee for his life whilst muttering incoherently. He seems overcome by parrotnoia.
Third, by his own admission he is stunned by the local visual phenomena, which apparently include painted wooden pallets and piles of rubble.
Fourth, he goes to uninhabited islands looking for extinct ten foot birds.
Finally, he’s so enthralled by local sights and discoveries that he focuses on…shipping containers.
Should we notify the local medical authorities? The constabulary? What is to be done?
Fear not, loyal reader. This blog is in fact staying in the finest accommodations and is well beyond the reach of the parrot menace. And while it’s true that the moa-spotting is not going as well as might be hoped, I am optimistic about my chances here in Wellington. There are numerous side streets, shopping arcades, and alcoves that could easily provide shelter for whole families of moas. Keep watching this blog for moa updates!
I took a tour of the Red Zone today. That’s the part of the downtown area that’s still cordoned off. It’s like touring a war zone or a scene from some post-apocalypse movie where everyone’s vanished. The city and the owners are deciding which buildings can be saved, which have to be destroyed, and how to demolish buildings safely. (A few days ago they found asbestos in one of the bank buildings.) Some buildings have concrete-filled shipping containers in front of them to keep them from falling over.
One problem is liquefaction. The whole area is an alluvial plain. During an earthquake (and during each of the hundreds of aftershocks), liquefied ooze shoots to the surface, causing foundations to shift and generally wreaking havoc. Some buildings that were found to be stable after the main earthquakes had to be demolished after smaller aftershocks made them unsalvageable.
I had to sign an assortment of waivers to take this tour, and they gave us a safety briefing on the bus full of dire warnings, then offered people a chance to leave. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t any more risky than walking around next to damaged buildings outside the Red Zone.