Leggo my LEGO

We saw the traveling exhibit of LEGO models at the Auckland Museum on its final day last weekend. Amazing details and craftsmanship.

The models all had explanatory cards: a few thousand pieces, a few hundred hours of work, tricky color or shape design puzzles to solve.

Most of the models were as expected… the ancient and modern wonders of the world, depicted LEGO-realistically, but there were some moments of levity… a little Indiana Jones vignette under the hanging gardens of Babylon, spies loitering around the onion domes of St. Basils. And this…

It was a photographic inspiration…

and hopefully inspired some young engineers at the same time.

There’s a fine line

between being a famous architect and being an eccentric crank. But apparently Friedensreich Hundertwasser stayed on the right side. His gift to Kawakawa, where he spent a lot of his adult life, was this fancy public restroom.

If a bunch of other architects looked at the plans before it was built, would that be a pee review?

I’m relieved to have this moving attraction wiped off my bucket list. The tiles sometimes reminded me of a fast-flowing stream. Some people might poo-poo the significance of this installation, but i wash my hands of such critics. If you plumb its full depth you’ll find Hundertwasser to be #1 or #2 in his field.

Hmmm, I suppose that last might be a little close to the line that separates respectful tourism from snark. You be the judge…

To crew or to cruise

Two ways to spend a day on the Bay of Islands… we chose the one with air conditioning and a nice snack bar.

It was a lot of fun… a little history, a lot of views, an obliging pod of dolphins, a fun adventure being dragged through the water on a boom net…

It’s a lot harder than it looks to get one of those cutesy shots… especially when the shutterbug you’ve recruited doesn’t quite get the concept. So just imagine this next one from a slightly different angle…

All in all a great day!


Waiheke Island sits just a few miles off the coast, but for complicated microclimate and zoning reasons has turned into a significant wine production and tourism destination. You take a 40-minute ferry ride, then bike or bus or scooter around from beach to winery to shoppe all day and come back in the evening. Or, you rent a house and do the same thing for longer.

I can see the appeal… it’s beautiful. But we went on New Year’s Weekend, one of the absolute busiest days of the year. It was hot, and crowded, and it turns out wineries and shoppes on Waiheke (none of which are more than 20 or 30 years old) look an awful lot like their counterparts in other places.

Next time we go, it will be for the company we are in, or for a longer stay at a non-peak time.