Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Zealand, Christchurch

One of the first things we realize when we reach Christchurch is that there is no Kindle. It has been lost, possibly in the seat pocket in front of Dad on the airplane. For the next couple of weeks, Mom and Dad, who rely on the Kindle most for reading, will be stuck without it.

Luckily, Dad has his Jodi Picoult novel, Plain Truth, and the rest of us each have a book bought last-minute in Penang. Books are one of those things you should never be without on a trip. Ever.

The apartment is just two rooms, but there are two couches, and we each have a separate bed. It is, compared to a lot of other things, quite a luxurious apartment. And it's cold.

We've just come from what might be considered a tropical paradise, and now we're freezing our toes off in a small motel room.

Kiwi Country, as the New Zealanders call it, is expensive. It's very expensive compared to Thailand, where we could all eat a huge meal for about $5. Here… it's much more expensive. Mom and Dad head off to go shopping. 

One of the things I'm most grateful for is that I don't have to go shopping. It is, without a doubt, one of the most terrible experiences ever. Especially when there is no car.

It involves walking to the supermarket, filling a backpack (the size depends on the amount of people shopping and the time the groceries are supposed to last), and then lugging it back. Since New Zealand is one of the places where more people take a car than walk, the distances are car distance.

On March 2nd, Dad walks to the car rental place to rent the bright red car we'll be using for a few days to get used to driving on the 'wrong' side. Even with solitary practice before he takes us all out, he constantly gravitates toward the right side of the road. Only when we're about to exchange the car for the campervan do we realize there are big red letters on the windshield that say KEEP LEFT.

On March 3rd, Ileana's 15th birthday, the order of the day is visiting the Antarctica Center. Christchurch is one of the two places in the world with a direct flight to Antarctica. I'm not sure where the second one is, but it's less simple to get to.

The Antarctic Center is basically a tourist destination because one ticket here is about 0.5% the cost of a ticket to actual Antarctica, and because if you get too cold in the simulated storm environment (-8°C), you can leave in five minutes. 

All the same, I'd like to live in Antarctica, if only to see what it's like living in absolute darkness. The operative word is 'live.' We've discovered that Ileana isn't cut out to live anywhere but in the suburbs— she can't be quiet enough for living in an apartment in the city and she doesn't like the outdoors enough to live in the country.

Me? I could live anywhere. Visiting, on the other hand… it's not nearly as interesting.


We drive around Christchurch. I love looking at the houses here. They look so modern— and the windows are big, expansive sheets of glass that are completely different from the relatively small rectangular ones at home (and, let's face it, most everywhere else in the world).

Near the center (or perhaps some other direction?) there are buildings that still haven't been renovated since the earthquake last year. The metal of the railings is twisted into strange shapes, as if a giant decided to use them as a plaything. There is orange netting, like the kind used at construction sites, everywhere. We get out of the car to take pictures.

I'm looking through the worlds I wrote during our stay in Christchurch— March 1st to the 5th, and it's really annoying how many things I've forgotten about.

Like, for example:

The Botanical Gardens: Ioan and Ileana horsed around a bit, filmed a great deal of possibly very disjointed scenes, and then Ioan put them together in a movie reminiscent of the days when Ileana and Ioan had a 'TV series' about Clouseau, a ridiculous French 'detective' with a great deal of friends, family, and co-workers. Ileana and Ioan played 90% of the characters— Ileana's best friend played the other 10%. We tried not to watch them because they were full of inside 'jokes,' incomprehensible language, bad filming, and practically no plot line. 

The Botanical Gardens are a beautiful location, a bit more like a park with more flowers than usual. At the entrance there is a slow-moving creek filled with ducks. 

There is a collection of dahlias and roses, both of which are absolutely stunning. There are so many varieties…

 Akaroa: The only French town in all of New Zealand. We came here in order to swim with dolphins, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) there were swells so high (2 meters) that we decided not to go. Instead, we took the scenic route around the island, went to a paua shell museum/shop, and stared entranced at a great deal of scenery.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment form message here