Wellington and the US Embassy

Our first couch surf has been a resounding success. Nick and Kat (our hosts) have been very generous and kind to us. They have a partially-made basement area with a nice big bed (with lots of blankets) and a little bathroom and everything. Not only that, but Nick and I threw down on some Need for Speed and Halo last night on his Xbox. I haven’t played any type of video game in over a month, so that was a nice relaxer.

Yesterday Indi and I ventured south to Wellington. We’re a few suburbs north in a small town called Plimmington, but we’re only a few blocks from the train station. It’s $10 for a day pass, meaning we can get on and off whenever we want that day. So that was how we got to town; it was also the first time that I’ve ridden on a commercial train. It was surprisingly smooth and peaceful at high speeds. Before I knew it, we’d pulled into Wellington Station and were out exploring the capital of New Zealand.

Our first stop was Parliament. Although we didn’t go in for the tour due to timing, I did get some pictures and we saw lots of professional-looking people walking around hurriedly. It was lunch time, so I suppose that’s what the commotion was about. We hadn’t had breakfast (d’oh) so we ate across the street at some little historical looking place called Backbenchers. After that, we went looking for the U.S. Embassy. After many folks who didn’t know where it was, I finally found a guy that did. It was only a few blocks away! We found it shortly.

The U.S. Embassy in Wellington is a small collection of dour, concrete buildings surrounded by tall fences. I also saw what I believed to be tank stops, though who in NZ owns a tank is beyond me. Anyway, we walked up to the door and found it locked. Two guards nearby waved their arms frantically for us to come over there. So we did. Two kiwi’s were behind this impressively shielded guard station with an intercom and a small area where something no bigger than a piece of paper could slide through.

“Can we help you?” said one of the guards.

“Yes, we’d like to visit our Embassy,” I said, showing my passport.

“I’m sorry, you do not have clearance,” he said half-apologetically.

“What do you mean, clearance? I’m an American citizen.”

“No one gets in the embassy without clearance. You have to call this number.”

I was still in an inquisitive state, but Indi was getting really mad. “An embassy is supposed to be representative of its country. A place where citizens can go for help and familiarity. I cannot BELIEVE you won’t let us in.”

“Sorry ma’am, nobody gets in without clearance.”

“What happens if a local citizen wants a Visa?” The guard shook his head. Indi stopped talking and continued fuming.

“Well, can we get the information for the Indonesian Embassy?” I asked. We were going to verify Visa requirements for our next stop. The guard, happy to have something he COULD do, started writing information down.

I gripped Indi on the shoulder. “It’s okay, hun. I’ll just get a picture to show we made it here and we’ll go on about our day.”

“I’m sorry,” said the other, until-now silent guard. “No pictures of the compound either.”

Now I was the one getting upset. “No kidding?” I said as evenly as possible. I took the paper with the Indonesian Embassy information on it, and Indi and I walked off without saying goodbye.

Indi and I spent the next ten minutes being appalled by our Embassy. I did get a picture from around the corner. It’s no wonder people think Americans think they are better than everyone else. We’re represented as a nation of walls. It was very sobering.

After that debacle, we walked to Te Papa, which is New Zealand’s national museum. It was AWESOME! We spent four or five hours there looking at all kinds of stuff. It’s six stories high and well designed. I got a few pictures there, too. Since we spent so much time there, once we were done it was dark out and we caught the train back to Plimmerton.

Now I’m enjoying some morning tea and eagerly awaiting the unfolding of the day.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
This entry was posted in New Zealand, Old Travelogue. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wellington and the US Embassy

  1. Nanda says:

    So, are you going to call the number, make an appointment?

  2. No, we leave Wellington today and didn’t want to spend another $20 on the train.

  3. That is so messed up! I cannot believe American citizens cannot enter their home base!

  4. Nanda says:

    You shall not pass! without clearance. So, I guess consulate services are only available at the embassy in Auckland. Wonder why they didn’t just tell you that instead of the whole clearance bit…?http://newzealand.usembassy.gov/service.htmlps the secret word is…ovenip.

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