January 28, 2018
Napier, New Zealand, with a population of 65,000 inhabitants, was completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1930s. The town council decided to rebuild the city center, which is directly on the coast, in an Art Deco style. They have dozens of classic cars giving city tours, a lot of their artwork is 30’s-style illustrations, and they throw a lot of flapper-style parties. It’s basically a Time Warp town, like Havana.
I think it’s pretty funny that I travelled 8,000 miles from California to find Monterey pine forests throughout New Zealand. On yesterday’s Lord of the Rings tour in Wellington, our guide took us to where several scenes were shot in a massive Monterey pine forest. These trees in California mature in 30+ years, but in New Zealand, these same imported trees mature in 12, and are the country’s largest export. A photo below shows an entire dock packed with lumber being loaded on a cargo ship bound for China.
My favorite moments on any cruise ship is when I’m not around any other human beings. The trick is to find a nice quiet underutilized place to set up camp, always on the opposite side of where the Buffet Circus is located, while everyone is on a Shore Excursion. The empty Spinnaker Lounge is my home for the next few hours while I try to finish my new Dan Brown novel.