First off, there was the convention itself--which proved that you don't have to be enormous to be a very good convention indeed. Met a lot of lovely people, both pros and fans, and hope to meet a lot of them again at other cons. As I'd already found at Auckland, with people who weren't even fans, New Zealanders are really, really nice folks (a sentiment brought up this morning on the ferry by a woman from Las Vegas, who said she'd like to take them all home with her...I wouldn't go quite that far, as I like the people back home, too. But still...) I'd also been steered to a really, REALLY good chocolate shop on Thursday afternoon (because the shops were all going to be closed for Good Friday--and they were.)
In addition to the convention the wonderful folks at Conjunction (thanks Kath, thanks Daena!) had a great set of extras for me...a trip to a wildlife refuge (fenced, with non-native mammals excluded, so the native ground-nesting birds don't become lunch/dinner/afternoon snackies)...a nice long visit to Te Papa (the big museum, which we'd had only a tiny taste of in '99)...several dinners with really nifty people...and *almost* a trip back to this wonderful bookstore, but Other Stuff got in the way (known as "if I don't wash something this afternoon, and get it dry, I will be in major trouble realsoonnow, and so will anyone within ten feet...")....and, crown of the special wonders...a trip to Weta Workshop.
The fangirl squeeee! on Tuesday (here, Monday at home) was probably heard round the world. I'd been to the traveling LOTR exhibition at the last Boston Worldcon, but everything there (except for Theoden's sword that I got to hold) was behind glass. Here...we were allowed (encouraged) to *touch* things. (Yes, another sword ended up in my hands, all too briefly....) I tried to remain more or less adult and professional....and not say "Omigod, look at *that*!" too often. Probably didn't succeed.
Forewarning: there's stuff I didn't see, and some of the stuff I did see can't be talked about so don't anyone ask "What are they up to now?" My answer to you will be "Ask them." Even more than when I've seen the movies they've worked on, I want Weta Workshop to someday, somehow, be involved in the production of something of mine. Which means I'd best get back to work on something that's good enough they might be interested in it. (The fangirl squeeee of getting to see the place is nothing to the squeeee you'd hear if that happened!)
From here I head by train over the mountains to the west, then down the west coast by bus...I'm flying back on April 3, another long day.