New Zealand – March 2, 2016

Before tackling New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa to one and all), we must eat an enormous fucking breakfast. I order the Big Kiwi, which consists of three scrambled eggs, streaky bacon, and a pale sort of latke, plus an impressive sausage called a Kransky. With enough caffeine, anything is possible. We walk along the waterfront in the brilliant sun to the imposing museum.

Of primary interest is the giant squid, the largest on display anywhere. It’s pretty fucking grim, lying there in its chemical solution looking very much the worse for wear, tattered and stitched and exfoliated. A video of its capture, which seems to have been accidental, underscores its sad end. Somehow, longline fishermen reeled it in after it went for the bait and didn’t let go. Once on the surface, it apparently expired and was hauled aboard and frozen. It’s about 30 feet long, with eyes the size of basketballs and all manner of strange adaptations. I Love Cephalopods!

Jocelyn makes a fascinating discovery. Tucked away is an exhibit dedicated to Carmen Rupe, New Zealand’s most famous trans person and transgender Maori to boot. The display features some of her most fabulous headgear and a too brief synopsis of her fabulous life. Te Papa’s presentation of New Zealand’s rich heritage could benefit from a better throughline or organization or something. I keep getting the sensation that I’m in the national attic.

I feel it’s incumbent on me to touch base with the Fellowship Not-Of-The-Ring. At noon today, there’s an AA meeting at Saint Mary of the Angels church hall. We both go. Afterwards, we head back to the museum for further enlightenment and shopping purposes. Te Papa sells plush squids in two sizes, but upon close examination they’re revealed to be beakless. We shall leave NZ squidless.

Last evening, Louise pointed Joss to a couple of interesting vintage clothing stores on Cuba Street while Dev offered to meet us to coffee in the afternoon, so we combine business with pleasure, wander up Cuba Street not buying anything and meet the young man for flat whites in a leafy courtyard. Then, he is off to rugby practice.

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