Hello from the South Island!

Good evening from the South Island of New Zealand!

Today I flew from Auckland to Christchurch, about a 2 hour flight, landed around 2:45pm, picked up a car (much more expensive than Auckland, and they REALLY talked up the insurance. Wow), and made my way to the hostel.

I have to say – travel really wears me out! Yesterday I drove from Taupo back to Auckland, and the total car ride was about 3.5 hours – I was done by the time I got to the hotel – and it was a hotel, actually, or so it called itself. I did get a single room though, which was nice.

Other than the ride out there yesterday, I really didn’t do too much else – I had been to Auckland before so not much exploring required, I did get a haircut (first one outside Canada – whoo whoo!) and I did go see a movie (Looper, was very good). Beyond that.. sleep.

Anyway I got up this morning and went to the airport – tiny little thing compared to what I’m used to, and the security was almost non-existant! I was surprised! No one even looked at my passport… I know it’s domestic, but they still usually want to see some sort of photo ID… no? Also – no food in the terminal! I was counting on eating once I got myself through security, but no such luck there.

So back to getting in… I got the car. It was expensive. I’m hating spending all this money lol. But moving on – found my way to the hostel and checked in… this is the smallest one I’ve stayed in so far, and it’s family run which is actually very nice – the owner who greeted me was very kind, took me for a little tour, etc. They really take care of the hostel, I was impressed.

I decided to go for a walk around Christchurch, knowing that it was still well “under construction”, recovering from the earth quake earlier this year. There is a “red zone” that you’re not allowed in, and that’s all area that’s being totally redone, but they have reopened up some streets in the downtown, and reconstructed some areas.

It was very humbling to walk through though… some of the buildings were ripped right apart – with all the weather going around right now, it’s a strong reminder of what Mother Nature can do when she feels like it. The community is really coming together to rebuild, but clearly there is some concerns as there’s some signs around the city saying to get rid of the committee that’s running it right now, keep the church, etc. Not surprising, a lot of stuff is happening and there’s lots being redone… not everyone will agree, ever.

So I walked around and stumbled on their version of a mall… it was a really cool, outside mall hobbled together after the quake. It used shipping containers cut up as some of the shops, had outdoor food vans, etc. I was really impressed! What a cool way to get yourself up and running again.

Beyond that I am again, tired, after a day of travel so I returned to the hostel, but decided to go for a quick drive outside the city to see some of the scenary, so I did that, returned to the hostel, and… here I am.

They don’t have free wifi, but they do have a couple of computers connected to the internet that they let you use, so I’m on one of those. No pics unfortunately since it’s not my computer, but it works for this.

OK… I think that’s it for now. They have a bunch of free movies here you can watch which is nice, and I still need to find dinner, so I’ll probably do that. I did speak to Patrick today, a friend from home who’s out here, and we’re hoping to meet up this weekend, so that will be nice!

G’day, g’bye, g’luck, etc.