I spend a lot of time at the docks and getting my feet wet.
These things go together, because the harbour is wet and I’m careless where I put my feet. It’s hard to watch for puddles when there’s so much to see.
I like the walk along the water because, much like New Zealand as a whole, I pass through many landscapes in a quick twenty minutes. I like the industry by the ferries, metal-on-metal showering sparks into the puddles, releasing tiny puffs of steam. The air is slightly fishy, the people are clad in neon reflective jackets and hardhats, and the boats sit heavily at the wharf. Among the industry are commuters, cycling and walking and jogging to work, sifting the city into the harbour.
And all of a sudden I’m in a park. The tangy scent of labour and the sea mingles with fresh greens and bird trills. Strollers roll across the widening walkway and shops spring up in low-lying wooden boxes along the pier.
Buildings multiply among the leaves of the park, and suddenly I’m in a city. People lie on benches and beanbags in the autumn sun, and there’s a bright blue coffee truck, and the water laps up against the docks and the museum and the lone woman’s fishing line.
There’s one boat with a Canadian flag, and I don’t register that it’s out of place at first, but when it hits me I grin wildly at no one and nothing but my wet, wet feet.
The only way to know a city is to dip your toes in, after all.