Journal #4  Casting Director and the Botanical Gardens
    Early the next morning I took a cable car up to the Botanical Gardens in the highest hills on the northern edge of down town.

      First I visited the Bolton Street Cemetery.  The graves date from the 1840s to the 1890s, and since it rests on very steep hillsides it reminded me of Peter Jackson's
The Frighteners.  The graves were nicely kept along the main paths, but there were many vine covered out of the way paths that looked like they hadn't seen a living soul in years.  Those were my favorites. 
    The call from the casting director was unexpected, but I pulled my wits together and started talking business.

     "Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.  I wanted to let you know that I had arrived in Wellington and am available to come in for an interview."

     "Thank you for your interest, but I'm afraid we're already cast at this point," Liz said.

     "Yes, I expected you would be.  If my sword work or any of my skills can be of any use to you, I will be here in town for the next few weeks."

     Sounding sure of herself she stated, "Well you didn't fly all the way from America to New Zealand just to try and get work on
Lord of the Rings."

     In an equally matter of fact tone I replied, "Yes, I did."

     There was a short gasp and then a crash.  "You've made a horrible mistake!  We're already cast!  There's no guarantee that I would even be able to see you!  You've made a wasted trip!"

     Though I was surprised by her alarm I spoke calmly, "I understand that my chances are very slim, but even with slim chances it was worth it to me to come here.  I am also seeing New Zealand for the first time, so I don't consider it a wasted trip.  I know you are very busy.  Thank you again for getting back to me so quickly."

     She sighed and regained her composure.  "I hope you get to see more than just Wellington while you are here.  I will keep your information on file.  Thank you for your interest."

     "Yes, thank you for calling, good bye." 

     It was not my intention to alarm anyone.  Clearly she had not received my previous letters.  They must still be in the slush pile at the studios.  Poor woman, no wonder I gave her such a fright!  I laughed at myself for being surprised by her reaction.  Who would believe that I understood how slim my  chances were and still chose to fly halfway around the world?

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   In the heart of the gardens is something called "The Peace Flame."  It is a portion of the flame that burns in Tokyo in rememberence of the holocausts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It was presented to the people of New Zealand because of their efforts in making their country a nuclear free zone.  The flame is inside a small stone pagoda that sits in a goldfish pond at the base of a rushing waterfall.  Although the flame is incased in glass, the proximity to all that water makes it seem quite fragile.

     I followed winding paths high into the gardens and spent the afternoon enjoying the glorious views of Lambton Harbor.

     Only my profound love of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and the films of Peter Jackson could have brought me here.  Where will this path lead?  I don't know, but I am very interested to see what happens next.