Friday, February 04, 2005

The Christchurch Update

Greetings from the city of Christchurch. I arrived in the city yesterday afternoon around 5:30. I had an easy drive from Queenstown to get here. The roads where mainly flat and straight, which was a nice change of pace. There was hardly any cars on the road so it was a low stress drive. I hooked up with two other cars and we took turns taking the lead. The speed limit here is 100k or 62 mph. With the three of us cruising most of the way at 115-120k or 70-74mph. This made the drive that much quicker. I stopped on the way and took a side trip to Mount Cook (NZ highest). There is only one road in and out. It was a detour of 100k round trip. I only got about half way there when I found the picture I wanted. I noticed clouds starting to come in from the east and was afraid I would get there the same time the clouds did. So I turned around about halfway and continued on to Christchurch. I stop a few more times to get more photos of Mt. Cook from a distance. I look forward to seeing the photos from there. The lake was a grey blue color, well blue with a shade of grey. I can't say I have ever seen water this color but I am sure all glacial melt water looks like this.

About an hour south of Christchurch I picked up some passengers, 4 kids from Sweden. Three blond girls and one guy. I am not sure which one (or more ;-} ) of the girls he was hooking up with but his choices are good looking, good looking and good looking. What's with the Swedes? (sp?) I have yet to meet one that wasn't good looking. They where in there early 20's and spoke English better than most Americans. It was nice to talk with them about there travels and places they had seen and where they where going. I dropped them off just outside Christchurch so they could catch another ride to Picton 4 hours north.

I headed into town and tried to find my hotel. In every other town or city I have come too, there a signs directing you to the main info center. I could not for the life of me, find one. I remembered that where I dropped off the Swedes was near the airport. I headed back out of town and on to the airport. I know they have an info counter. I got there and found out I was less than 3 blocks away from the hotel when I was looking in the city. In the words of Homer Simpson, "Doh". I drove back into town and checked in around 6:45. The skies where overcast and not a break in them, just a solid wall of white. The weather forecast for the next day was more of the same. I grabbed some dinner and went back to the room to watch CNN post State of the Union commentary. I am getting a little tired of people railing on America. If you don't like it, don't buy our products and for God sake stay out of MY country. Sorry about that I am sick of the America bashing I hear from most people. One guy tried to tell me the reason so many people died in the tsunami was because America knew about it but didn't tell anyone about it. I asked him if he was the village idiot and walked away. (rant over) I read until around 11:30 and got some sleep.

When I woke up this morning the skies where the same as yesterday, a solid sheet of white clouds. I looked over the map and headed to the coast to the town of New Brighton Beach. When I got there I noticed a break in the clouds. I did a sun dance in hopes of coaxing it out. This is the first beach I have come across in NZ that reminds me of home. The sand was very fine with a touch of black too it. This may be leftover volcanic sand, it was much finer than the sand in NJ or NC. The surf was just ok, with swells about 2-3 feet. This did not deter the surfers from going in. The sandbar extended from the shore out about 600 ft out. At the end of the pier, which is about 1000ft, the water depth is only 8 feet. The sun started to come out while I was sitting there watching the surfers. I decided I should head into town and enjoy it there. I first went to the Botanical Gardens. What a place, worth the time to come and visit. The place is huge. I spent the next 2 1/2 hours walking around and taking pictures. The sun was starting to really take over from the clouds now. What a day it was turning out to be. I then headed into the city center and drove around trying to find a place to park. As luck would have it I found a parking deck right in the middle of the city. It is in central shopping district. There is a large square where vendors and street performers hawk their wares. I watch a great street performer for about 20 min, walking on broken glass, telling jokes and juggling fire. I spent the next few hours walking around the city.

That brings you up to date. I leave for Australia tomorrow afternoon. It maybe a few days before I get a chance to update you guys.

Look for new postcards in the mail over the next few weeks. From what I can gather, it takes about 2 weeks to get to you. If you asked for one but have not gotten it let me know.

Thanks again to all of you who keep up with my travels. It make doing this worth it.
Running out of internet time.
later dudes

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