Another socially packed weekend (27th - 28th June 2008)

Friday, 27th June 2008: After a busy week, it was nice to end the work week with drinks with my colleagues. Only stayed for 1 drink and dashed home in the rain. I was off to a tango show tonight so couldn't hang around too long for drinks. Sheesh, the rain was just relentless! Was drenched by the time I got home!! And you wouldn't believe my luck - the lift in my apartment building was not working - I had to climb 12 flights of stairs to get home!! Please let the lift be working by the time I return home tonight...

Quick shower and change later, I drove back into town and had a superfast sushi dinner at Catch Sushi Bar on Courtenay Place, and by 7.20pm, headed over to the St James Theatre to see Tango Fire. Bumped into Matthew and his female friend (hmm, girlfriend??) who were also there for the show and stopped to chat. Poor Matthew with that sling - he recently had a snowboarding accident and the poor guy looked 'broken'. Hope you get well soon!

I had bought myself a front row ticket in the dress circle (upstairs) for the 2-night only show. Cost me $93.50 for my ticket - expensive! Honestly, I didn't not know what to expect since I was not a tango dancer and would have no clue what's good and what's not. According to the brochures I've seen, Tango Fire is a show by Argentina's hottest tango company, Estampas Portenas. Since I can't go to Argentina, why not bring Argentina to me? And I'm SO glad I did get a ticket for the show despite the cost - it was fantastic!

The show had 2 parts - the first was more acting/theatre while the 2nd half had more acrobatic moves that made some of us hold our breath watching them deliver the moves. The show was of high-energy, with a mix of hot, sexy and steamy dancing, filled with much emotion. The men were donned in smart suits while the women in sexy dresses (and did I mention they had the perkiest butts I've ever seen? Baffles me still how one can get such fine ass!). Hmm, I'm not sure if the wet hair look was meant to add 'steam' to the show but it sure did it for me :) Phew, is it hot in here or what? There was a live band playing in the background and a singer who appeared periodically to sing in those 1920s jazz singer stand-up microphone. Nice :)

I loved the show! Hmm, perhaps I should really consider taking up tango lessons...Now I'm all buzzing with energy to groove on the dancefloor - Salsadrome, here I come!! So when the show ended at 10pm, I headed back to my car to pick up my dance shoes and headed over to the Wellington Performing Arts Centre to join my salsa gang for a night of salsa dancing till midnight. And that was 2 hours straight of dancing but I enjoyed every minute of it!


Saturday, 28th June 2008: Was up at 8.30am (despite my late night out) and by 10.30am, I was out of the house. It was another gorgeous day today and I had to make the most of it so packed up my day pack and headed to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary for a walk.

Just minutes from downtown Wellington, the sanctuary is home to many of New Zealand's rarest birds, reptiles and insects living freely in their natural environment. There are many tracks you can walk in the sanctuary. I only did a loop to the Dam and back with lots of stops along the way for photos as I only had 2 hours before heading back to my office to wrap up some work. Such a nice day to enjoy the outdoors, exploring bushtracks and discovering unique attractions such as their 19th century goldmine, weta hotels, taking a ride on their electric boat and just enjoying my escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Lucky me, it only cost $2 today to visit the place (normally $10). Yay!

The goldmine visit was interesting. I was fortunate enough to be in the area for a free tour with one of the volunteer guide. The lovely old lady gave me a torchlight and safety helmet to put on prior to my entry into the mine. You could still visit the mine without the guide/tour but to get further inside to see the cave wetas, you need a guide to unlock the gate inside the tunnel. Not for the entomophobics (people who fear insects or bugs) because these cave wetas are free-roaming and you can find them crawling on the cave walls! Furthermore, the wetas are able to leap up to a distance of 3 metres - be prepared!

The other highlight of my visit to the sanctuary today was taking a ride on their electric boat. The boat runs every half an hour from two pick-up/drop-off points at the Lower Lake. Cost $2 today (not sure what is the normal price) and it was a peaceful and scenic 10-minute ride. We even spotted a pair of shags at the nest! These medium-large birds build their nest on tree branches with twigs - I'm amazed the fragile nest can withstand our windy weather!

It was really wonderful to find such a special haven hidden right in urban Wellington. I have to return another day to cover the other walks! Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157606432528014/detail/

At 4pm, I went to Southern Cross Bar & Restaurant to see Brazealand's 2nd gig. I enjoyed the first so decided to come back and see what their Festa Junina event was about. Turns out, Festa Junina is a Brazilian celebration held at the beginning of winter which coincides with the corn harvest. Many of my Brazilian friends were dressed up like country bumpkins (pigtails, cowboy hat, boots, scarf at neck - think farmer/cowboy costume) - oh, I should have dressed up to join in the fun and taken my camera along! This time around, only forro (type of Brazilian folk music) was played. That worked for me since I dance forro :)

Some of my salsa friends were there and we danced lazy salsa, bad salsa dancing form that looks just like forro :P It must be quite funny for other people to see me and Ken dance forro together in the packed dancefloor - the only 2 Asians dancing a non-Asian dance! Hehehe...

Caught up with a few friends I've not seen for sometime. Was in the mums and bubs corner chatting with Anouk. She was there with her Amaya and the little angel now has a new smiley face - she would give you a Cheshire cat smile with squinty eyes. Adorable! Ooo, and let's not forget Chico, Rafael's son, who has those dreamy 'come hither' eyes. And he's even blinged up like his dad :P

Left the bar around 6pm, went home to fix myself something for dinner and headed back out again after a shower and change of clothes to pick up Rosel in Seatoun. Rosel had invited me to join her and friends at a Chilean event organised by INCAL Casa Latina Wellington in Newtown Community and Cultural Centre this evening. It was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Salvador Allende, a former president of Chile - a celebration of his life and achievements.

The event started with empanadas and Chilean wine, followed by guest speakers and performance by band, Los Andes. The night ended with a documentary film titled Allende. It was an interesting way to end my night though after watching the documentary, I felt somewhat sad (it showed Allende's presidency until his death). Still, it was something different that I've not done before - there's always a first time! Thanks Rosel for inviting me! Did catch up with a few other friends too from my other social circles who were also there.

Yawn, this has been a very long day...was home in bed by midnight after I sent Rosel home. Wasn't up for another late night out....

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