Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Walking Tour

Today I had the intention of doing something a bit more New Zealandy, so to speak. So, I looked at a map, found a walking track near a bus route with dot labelled "Cave", and set off.

Getting there was quite an adventure - someone got airlifted to Ch.Ch. Hospital, and I was there to witness the whole thing.

I wandered around the Avon for a bit...
And was interested by some of the strange things the earthquake didn't get.
(That thing rotates)
Eventually, I made it almost to Sumner, where the track started.
And before I could forget what country I was in...
There was a lot of interesting flora...

And it turns out NZ has the biggest, most scariest bees you've ever seen.
It wasn't too hard of a walk
But the stairs were pretty steep.
Eventually I made it!
And the view was well worth it
I was so exhausted, I did what any self-respecting tourist does, and sampled the local beer - this was a Nor'wester Strong Pale Ale, but I don't know how Pale that looks to me. It was delicious, though.
Stay cool kids, we'll talk soon

I'll take five!

Ch.Ch. Photos I

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
10.30pm, GMT+13

I suppose noone actually calls it Ch.Ch., but that's what the directions to the hospital say, and pronouncing it that way is kinda fun.

Tonight's post, as promised, has some photos, although not of the city centre, on account of your fearless traveller not quite making it there today. Instead, I mingled essential and mindless wandering to find some interesting things...

This is where I live, for now.

Addington is quite an industrial area.

And nerve-racking to cross the train tracks everyday.

But with some hidden gems..

(A coffee shop which a) is a co-operative b) has a decent collection of vintage furniture, and c) makes me an affogato, despite it not being on the menu, is pretty okay with me.)

Hagley Park is, disappointingly, a large expanse of mostly nothing but flat grass. The odd patch of daisies distracts.

But at least the sun was out, and I got to read my book. See Machine of Death for crazy internet existential awesomeness.

The only really bizarre thing that happened today was when I was prevented the purchase of a bottle of wine from the supermarket. I guess Australian drivers licences don't count as legal identification, but I probably would have been more understanding if the poor woman refusing me service wasn't a midget.
(I swear that story is completely true.)

In other news, Christchurch proper on a Monday night is desolate and abandoned. Until, fortuitously, I got hopelessly lost and wandered down a back alley to see what was going on. In short, it was delightful, and I wonder why people don't do that sort of thing more often.
Last night, I had a brief frustrating moment when I tried to go down yet another street which was blocked off by building works. Even knowing about it, it took some time for me to realise that what I was actually witnessing, all over town, was the continuing after-effects of the earthquake in September. Truly sobering.

Until next time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Post the First

Monday 22nd November, 2010

6.16pm, GMT+13


My esteemed readers - the very first entry of this travelogue comes to you from inside the old Christchurch jail. No, I have not been arrested so soon after my arrival, but such a dramatic opening the Jailhouse Hostel implies! There is certainly something about the architecture of a penitentiary which lends itself so well to a youth hostel. The cells make perfect rooms and dorms, the long, wide corridors are perfect for socialising, and the tiny windows are kind of funky. And indeed, the Jailhouse is not unique, there being another jail-turned-hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia (which also doubles as an art gallery).

But, to New Zealand I have come, and thus, I find myself in Jail, just south of Hagley Park, a lovely 20min stroll/stumble-with-a-backpack from the city, through a park, over the Avon River (dodge the punters), past some train lines, and finally to Addington. This is the first stop on my curious adventures, where I promise that tales of hilarity will outweigh the banal, the people I meet will be caricatured, there will be not one photo of food (except perhaps exceptional coffee), and the stories will be greatly exaggerated for comic effect. Maybe.

So far I have spent just more than 4 hours in the land of white clouds, sheep, and ridiculous hobbit jokes, and as such have yet to form an opinion. However, on the flight across the country, the sweeping hills and ice-capped mountains, undulating rivers and worn out gorges did a pleasantly good job of taking my breath away. It's no exaggeration when they (whoever they are) say that New Zealand is very green. I will keep you updated on what I think of here, perhaps tomorrow when I've had a good look around the city (the somewhat forcibly named Cultural Precinct). And so, before I head out to find a good vegetarian restaurant in Christchurch proper, I bid you farewell, until next time (when, with any luck, the story will be told in mostly pictures).

The Curious Traveller.