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jwg

Wellington and the Museum Hotel

We are staying in the Museum Hotel in Wellington. It gets its name from strange circumstances. It was built in 1987 and a NZ stock market crash in 1990 caused it to go bankrupt. The government bought it to help out the owners and leased it to some new people. Then they decided to build a museum on the site and in a very special project moved the entire building across the street to its current site where it has been expanded.

The museum, the Te Papa, is very interesting. They have lots of exhibits about earthquakes and fault lines (one of which runs right through Wellington) complete with an exhibit where you stand inside a shaking house while watching a video of an earthquake. They have lots of stuff about birds including some interactive ones where you design your own birds choosing beak, wings, legs, etc. and it then names it for you - correctly if you choose a real bird. We watched some kids creating a flying man and each time he crashed the reason would be given - not enough chest muscles, legs too fat...- and you'd get to correct them until you design worked. They had stuffed birds too such as this Fantail - several of which we've seen live.

When we first got to our room it seemed that some of the lights didn't work. The key ring also had a card that you had to insert into a slot by the light switch and then everything was enabled. The room is a mini-apartment complete with stove, washer/dryer, and dishwasher. They continue to work without the card soi you can leave the room before the clothes are done, but the AC shuts off when you take it out. Very odd - I've never seen anything like it. The room had a complex instruction manual to tell you everything about it. The washer/dryer was complex but we did manage to use it to wash a few loads of dirty laundry. Drying takes a long time and you can't open the combo front-loader until the machine decides that the clothes are dry. We haven't cooked but we did buy some breakfast food at the New World Supermarket next door. It's every bit as good as the best Whole Foods except it has even more kinds cuts of lamb than you've every heard of.

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Isn't that lamb thing wild. It's on the hoof, it's on the plate, it's sweaters, it's rugs. It's everywhere!

Your Museum Hotel sounds amazing. I remember all of our hotel/motels being way above par and all having little kitchens and all of the coffee being instant BUT very good instant. We never got a hotel room with washing machine and dryer. That would have been very handy.

It was pretty much good luck that we had a washer/dryer in wellington, although I think maybe when jwg made the reservation he selected the "apartment" option on that basis. We had figured that if necessary we would be able to find a laundromat in Wellington (although in fact I haven't seen any), but this is much more convenient as otherwise we would have been tied down until the laundry was done. And since this is about the halfway point in the trip it was definitely an ideal time to do laundry.

Another odd thing about the room is that although it has a stove and quite a lot of kitchen equipment it has next to no counter space nor any reasonable table to eat at. (Better than our room in Christchurch, which had a kitchen in a whole separate room, but no chairs of any kind in either room.)

I've often stayed in hotels in Malaysia, Bangkok, and India that had the card thing. It serves the dual purpose of not letting the lights stay on after you've departed, and making sure you don't lose your key in the hotel room (it's attached to the card).

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