Touring is hard work and normally by nightfall we’re tucked away exhausted. But our first night in Wellington lured us a few blocks from the hotel to Cuba Street, the artistic, funky heart of the city. It was getting even colder and we chose seats at an outside pub that had propane heaters, sharing the table with two women who worked in organic farming. We had a great convo with them, learning more about New Zealand, about Wellington and about farming. They also told us that the famous Night Market was about to open in the alleyway nearby. One woman had to go home, but the other, a French expat named Anne accompanied us across the street and into the weekend throng. We were greeted by the exotic aromas of dozens of ethnic food vendors and the competing rhythms of buskers. Jack and I immediately realized how hungry we were and made the rounds of the food stands to make our selections. Jack and Anne chose mixed jerk from two Jamaicans who it turns out both went to college in Philadelphia, one to Temple University where I was born, and the other to Villanova, whose basketball team just won the national championship. We marveled at how small the world really is, and extended our enthusiastic congrats on the win. I’ve got cousins who went to Villanova so we’re proud too.
Jack and Anne parked themselves in a relatively quiet corner to eat and enjoy the scene while I continued the search for something exotic and vegetarian. I found a tent selling Moroccan falafel wraps and put in my order. It was one of the busiest vendors but it was fun to watch the crowd, listen to the music and enjoy a rare night out on the town while I waited for my food. And believe me, it was worth the wait.