Sunday, February 8, 2009

Christchurch, New Zealand

9th - 11th Jan

By Friday I had exhausted most of the walking in downtown Christchurch. I went to the arts centre but it was really just a collection of gift and craft shops with the odd cafe/bar thrown in. Most of the day I spent in the library which had free wi-fi internet trying to get this blog up to date (and failing).

That night I met up with the younger Kiwi Jeremy. Lee had gone to work in another part of the south island and another guy Dean had taken his place. So myself, Jeremy, Dean and a German guy called Tobi sat and drank in Base bar where all the drinks were $4 over the weekend (happy days!). Tobi is a bit of a player and got talking to two English girls one of which he copped off with while Jeremy pulled the other one. Myself and Dean who is married just drank and talked and drank some more.

On Saturday I decided to do something and got the bus to the Christchurch gondola. After an impressive trip to the top I went on the very tacky Historical journey ride. This is basically like a very slow ghost train ride but instead of ghosts it has images and narratives of the geological and natural history of area around Christchurch. Hey it was free!

After some photo shots of the surrounding scenery and some overpriced fruit juice I made my way out of the viewing house and started walking on the 'Crater rim trail'.

I had come across a tr eking leaflet for the around the gondola sight and had decided to try a long walk which went from the gondola down to a small seaside village called Sumner.

It all went well for the first few hours - I followed a well worn path round the crater rim with some breath taking views of the Lyttleton bay below until I reached an old WW2 gun emplacement. Then I headed down what I thought was the correct path (stepping in some cow pats along the way) until I realised I was on the wrong side of the valley. Rather than retrace my steps all the way back to the gun emplacement I had the ingenious plan of using a marked mountain bike track to get back on course. Well I say it was ingenious but in fact it was anything but - in fact it was very stupid. Unlike hiking tracks mountain bike tracks tend to meander a lot more when going up steep gradients and even though I was going in the right direction it still meant I was zig zigging very gradually down the mountainside. At one point I just decide 'Fuck this for a game of darts' and headed straight down the hillside until I reconnected with the bike track veered off on a long slow decent across the other side of the valley. The other problem with using a mountain bike track is the mountain bikes. A hell of a lot of bikes decided to use my mountain bike trail that day which meant I was constantly having to look over my shoulder and getting off the track to let them past.

Eventually I came across the track I was supposed to use to get down to the village. I still had the problem of mountain bikes as it was a shared track but at least I was going the right way.

Finally I made it to the village with its interesting cave at the seafront and I awarded myself a big lamb burger meal and a dark ale - yum yum.

Heres the pics of the walk:

Gondola and Walk

Once I got back into town and showered it was time for more drinking. This time after several $4 drinks at the base bar myself, Dean, Jeremy and Dean's friend Susan went out to the local nightclub area. Susan lived in Christchurch so was able to take us to this area where all the hip and trendy people hang out. I just about managed to get in :)

After several more expensive drinks and even some tequila shots - courtesy of Jeremy and Dean we again staggered back to the hostel - I think i remember passing out for a while in the TV lounge before crawling back to bed.

Sunday was another subdued day - especially after all I had done the previous day. This was also the day that I came across the scene of the girl who had fallen (or jumped) to her death (see previous post - sad news) so I was in a rather somber mood for most of the day.

Myself and the two Kiwis spent most of the afternoon festering in the TV lounge. At one point myself and Jeremy went down to the bar for some cheap beer. Jeremy even invited over two youngish English girls to chat to but I am not a very good wing man (as several people will testify too) so he crashed and burned and we ended up back at the TV lounge before having a sober(ish) early night.

The next day I would have to get up early to start my conservation work.

Beers I have Drunk

Compared to the most of the frozen tasteless piss water lagers drunk in Australia and South Africa New Zealand is paradise. Here the most common beers are ales and have taste. Admittedly they are not Real ales as such but as an ale drinker its good to know that not every country in the world turned to lager and alcopops. Also the beers cheaper here too - not as cheap as South Africa but still cheaper than back home. I like New Zealand!

Heres some of the beers I drank in Christchurch:

Tui Ale - named after the Tui songbird of New Zealand - not bad for a quaffing beer and the staple for myself and the Kiwis at Base.

Monteiths Original Ale - Another good ale

Monteiths Gold Export Lager - Its a lager but has some tase as well.

Speigths Dark Ale - the one I drank at the end of the walk - very rich - almost a stout.

There are others but I can't recall if I drank them in my first days in Christchurch - watch this space!

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