Battle of the bean alchemists

Posted by on Mar 16, 2013 in Wellington | No Comments
Battle of the bean alchemists

Wellington is, by reputation, one of the most laid back capitals in the world. It must be one of the smallest, too.

Positively pocket-sized, it still manages to cram in a decent number of cafés, especially along hipster hang out Cuba Street – where I’ve spent most of my daytimes, busy sketching out colourful mind maps in preparation for my business course with Marie Forleo which starts this week. Yay!

My coffee addiction is coming along nicely. So much so that I felt drawn to watch the New Zealand Barista championship finals at the weekend.

Who knew making a cup of coffee was so very complicated? Baristas presenting graphs – showing the analysis of coffee composition, and thereby proving the higher acidity in their cappuccino than their espresso to the judges – whilst talking about the pomelo juice reduction they’ve added to give fruity top notes. We’ve come a long way from instant cups of Nescafé Gold Blend.

I know I shouldn’t be drinking coffee – it makes your adrenals spasm in a near death rictus according to the ayurveda teacher on our yoga course. But it smells so good!!

And yoga teachers don’t necessarily know everything. Although in the case of hot yoga instructors they definitely know how to get all the hot men through the doors and onto their mats. Maybe guys have assumed that the ‘hot’ bit of hot yoga isn’t related to the temperature in the class studio but to the attractiveness of the female students.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that everyone shares the same tiny changing room, sweaty men and women all bumping into each other as they attempt to peel off soaked lycra. You can almost see the mental images of bendy orgies playing through people’s minds as they try to avoid everybody else’s gaze doing their towel round the waist strip.

The vibe in the hot yoga studio was a far cry from the vinyasa class I took with a lovely teacher in a downtown office block – until the last minute I thought I would be the only student there. It was a salutary lesson for me that I’ll need to get bums on mats to make it a viable living.

Does anyone have a portable calor gas heater they don’t need any more?

I like to think that the reason a smiling young woman stopped me in the street the same day – to ask me if I wanted to join a kirtan session – was because I was emitting shining beams of yogic goodness from my chakras. Realistically it might have had something to do with the yoga mat still slung over my shoulder.

Either way, a very fun evening of chanting and vegetable curry followed (not at the same time, that would be just messy).

Stopping by the absolutely excellent national museum, Te Papa, the sound of Cuban music drew me into the Maori meeting house. A band played Spanish songs as couples twirled each other around on the dance floor. I can’t believe it has been almost a year since that sticky Havana afternoon – eyes closed as my young teacher spun me around the room and taught me to feel salsa, rather than to think it – a lesson I’m applying to life in general these days.

The Spanish theme continued when my front row seat selection at a Fringe festival play, the excellent Cannonball, landed me a spot of heckling from stage. The fabulous Emily Taylor embodied all ten characters in her self-penned play so convincingly it was like watching a tortured schizophrenic wrestle with their inner demons.

And I was the chica to her latino libido character, encouraged to check out the size of her burrito.

Gosh I could do with a burrito now. No! A proper one with beans and hot sauce. Honestly!

I had one at Wellington’s waterfront Sunday market recently and it was delicious. Not as good as my best ever burrito, mind you, but Honduras is a bit too far to travel, even for such beany goodness.

It’s been a while since I went to a proper paid-for gig, so on my first night in town I followed a whim – and a nice looking poster – to the Town Hall, to hear someone called Cat Power perform. And then I googled who she is. Only a nominee for Best International Female Artist at this year’s Brits (she lost out to Lana Del Rey)!

My ideological shunning of everyday media, which seems to loop the same few stories ad infinitum, means I’ve become totally clueless about certain things. Next they’ll be telling me that a boy that went to my school (Holmes Chapel Comprehensive), Harry somebody-or-other, is part of a successful pop ensemble. And I wouldn’t want to miss out on that.

The timing of my stay in Wellington has, by sheer luck, been absolutely perfect – as well as the Fringe Festival offering up some of its treats, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has rolled into town, bringing its reels of gallic goodness with it.

I’m probably a bit biased, but in my opinion the French do romantic comedy so much better than the Americans, or even the Brits. The film I caught the other day had the whole audience doubled over with laughter – and that wasn’t just because we were all tipsy (I love that independent cinemas let you take a (proper) drink in with you). If you like a bit of cinematic fluff and you get the chance, go see Un Bonheur N’arrive Jamais Seul (Happiness Never Comes Alone), I highly recommend it.

To top it all the annual Vegfest was on yesterday – the perfect chance to top up on tasty veggie snacks whilst listening to some chilled out weekend tunes. And I even got a little name check from the fab Bhakti Shakti, whilst they were on stage strutting their kirtan stuff (not sure you can strut a mantra but still).

Wellington you’ve put on a show and made me feel very welcome. Thank you x

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