Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Days in New Zealand

October 11th 2010

Hello from Queenstown, New Zealand!

We made it successfully here after spending several days in Christchurch. Here’s the play-by-play.

THURSDAY: We arrived in Christchurch and moved into the YMCA, and let me tell you; it is fun to stay there (Pun intended). 6 of us to a room… not unusual and I got the bottom bunk. I don’t mind the bottom bunk, it’s not a bad place, however the bed above me was a bit janky and when Meghan slept above me, her butt was inches from my face. Lol. I didn’t mind so much except for when I would sit up and get my hair tangled in the mess above me.

One thing about New Zealand that I was aware of before: it is cold. We wandered around Christchurch for a while outside and my first souvenir purchase was a pair of cheap “All Blacks” gloves.

We found some botanical gardens right across the street from the YMCA and explored a bit. There’s this lovely river that runs through the town filled with ducklings. And the gardens were full of huge green trees. It was a perfect escape for about 40 college students who spent the majority of the day crammed like sardines on an airplane.

Also, I sorted everyone on our trips into Hogwarts houses. It was something that Jim Hassell and I did while we were bored before one of our econ classes back on the Gold Coast. This was just a silly idea but most people in our group have taken the idea and run away with it. We already have house rivalries between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Jennifer Mills lets us do things because: “As the Head of Gryffindor house, I give you permission to go shopping before the Cathedral tour.” Its funny, however it seems like all of the Huffelpuffs are mad they didn’t make it into Gryffindor. Sorry guys… What the sorting hat says: goes.

FRIDAY: Breakfast was fake eggs. Yum? It wasn’t as good as Harding’s fake eggs though. After breakfast a bunch of us headed into the city to buy outdoor sports clothes. I fell in love with this legit jacket from “macpac” but it was 160 NZD and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I left my heart with it though. Instead I bought a cute beanie (hate that word. It reminds me of stoners and crack heads) from Colombia.

After Shopping, Taylor Kee, Marcus Brinley, Laura Kelly, and I all paid 12 NZD to see the “Ron Mueck Exhibition” at the art gallery in town. Woah man. It was absolutely amazing. He is a sculptor and he creates sculptures of people…. And chickens? Well, I was going to upload pictures but the internet here in New Zealand is less than satisfactory, so you’ll just have to look him up on your own.

The museum was wonderful! You know me and art. Taylor and I enjoyed critiquing everything and then journaled in the artists annex. Then we all headed back for lunch as a group. We had these (yucky) sandwiches with cucumbers and slimy turkey, plus some meat pies.

P.S. Aussies and Kiwis alike, enjoy putting Beets (beetroot as they call it) on any and all sandwiches… even hamburgers. I don’t mind, because like a good mother. Nancy DeCamp always made me eat my beets with dinner. Yay for having an awesome Mom!

Soon after eating we all crossed the street to go to the Canterbury museum. It was a lovely museum dedicated to New Zealand! We learned about the Extinct “Moa” and other important birds including (of course) the Kiwi! We also had a chance to discover a little bit about Maori culture. I can’t lie It fascinates me. We learned all about the Haka and the tattooing practices of their culture. Something interesting is the “greenstone, or jade.” You can buy all sorts of trinkets made out of it.

Personally, I wanted a simple ring made of greenstone but our guide told us that the jade is only lucky for the person you give it to. It isn’t considered lucky if you buy it for yourself. Naturally I buy into local folklore and animism so I was pretty bummed out that I could buy myself a lucky ring. Oh well, that’s life I suppose.

Somehow after all of the museum fun I found myself in a marketplace right out front of the cathedral. You know, a bunch of people selling tourists random crap they don’t need. Yeah, that one. I wound up buying a cloth headband from a guy for 7 bucks. In my defense, I have always wanted an artsy-fartsy headband. Plus when I tried it on, the cute shop guy said, “oh… that’s hot.” Who can resist buying random junk from a guy that speaks the truth?

Later on I bought a few souvenirs from a three-story souvenir store: a patch a couple of tea towels, and some postcards. I’ve always wondered why tea towels are so popular to buy. What are they? Why are they here? But Christy gave me a genius idea; I am going to make throw pillows out of them! Yes!

Soon we left and went to eat dinner, but while at dinner my wonderful friend, Michelle, “proposed” to me…. Pulling out a simple greenstone ring! She had bought me one, not knowing that I had wanted one so badly. I was so excited and happy and I don’t think I’ll ever take it off! What a great day.

Friday is also the night, after my shower, we discovered that Meghan’s hair dryer smelled disgusting, and stunk up the room at the YMCA… which is odd, because it’s been fairly reliable. Not knowing what to do with wet hair before bed, I discovered that the room radiator was just as good at drying hair. So, kneeling next to it on the carpet, I flipped my head over and dried it all in a reasonable amount of time.

SATURDAY: This was our last full day in Christchurch. Our first activity was a tour of Christchurch Cathedral. I enjoy going into these cathedrals, because I just love the genius of it all. The whole design is mesmerizing, even though most of them down on this side of the equator are much smaller than their European counterparts. (I threw in that last word to sound smart, but I am well aware that it probably means something completely unrelated to what I wrote).

We climbed to the top of the tower in the cathedral and looked down. Sigh. It was nice. And It worked our bums! Yay, Alyson’s bridesmaid dress, here I come!

Soon after the Cathedral we went Punting, which as we all know… is like one large Gondola ride on a river. It was fun because I sat behind Marcus and Ellis, and next to Taylor… this meant complete hilarity the whole way through. I had a hard time listening to what out boat guy said because they were making me laugh the whole time.

After the “Punting” we took a Gondola…. Which as we all know is actually a large ski-lift-esque contraption that keeps you enclosed while it takes you up to the top of a mountain. It was lovely, but I had a bit of a headache at that point. I am not a nice person when I’m in pain. But, I thought I faked it pretty well. The view helped boost my spirits of course.

We left the mountain and drove to a place called Sumner. It was nice, blah blah blah. I have a hard time remembering it all because I was so tired and had an uncomfortable headache. I remember going back to the room and sleeping, then later on, Christy and I went for a run though the park. It was the highlight of Christchurch.

I just love the freedom of running and It was lovely to be on our own running around the beauty of the botanical gardens in Christchurch. I’m gonna miss it….

Tell you about Queenstown soon!

Peace and Love

1 comment:

  1. Wow. It sounds like Christchurch was amazing. And the run would be your favorite part. And you are grumpy with a headache. But it's okay, because I know that I am worse. This is the first time you have mentioned Latte Boy!! I've been wondering about him!? Lol. MISS YOU!