Ducky's NZ Trip - Christchurch (first)

Dec 24

We took a plane from Queenstown to Christchurch. The agents didn't want to let us on the plane with the camp stove, so I had to go out to the parking lot and drain out the miniscule amount of fuel that was in it.

Photo by Hala Fauzi

When we got to Christchurch, we didn't discover our bikes. I had thought that the agent in Auckland had said he'd fill out the rest of the form, but it turned out that the destination on the shipping form was blank, so back in Auckland they didn't know where to send them! The Kiwis are really responsible, however. We got profuse apologies, they hustled them from Auckland and dropped them off at the backpackers', AND gave our backpacks a free passage up to Auckland!

Hala and I both walked around the botanical gardens in Christchurch. I liked the feel very much. The trees were isolated enough that you could see the whole tree, and they were clearly marked with the Latin name, common name, and native geographical location. The park was neat enough to look nice, but not so obsessively well-kept that you felt like you needed to keep your hands in your pockets. (There were benches on the grass, for example.)

Photo by Hala Fauzi

Furthermore, there were five or six art installations in the park, most of which I quite liked. It was really quite magical to look up and see chicken-wire chairs suspended in mid-air! Hala saw how easy it was for me to deal with my short-short crew-cut, and so she ended up getting a buzz cut (and a beret) herself.

Christmas Down Under, part II

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas in Christchurch. I went to a recital of carols in Christ's Church given by the church choir that was quite nice. The voices were a little thin, but that was ok. It seemed like such a nice, peaceful way to spend Xmas eve.

But then, walking back to the backpackers', I came across a sing-along in the park. The park was MOBBED with people carrying little photocopied song sheets and candles. "Ah, how nice!" Wrong. It might have been nice once, but it had been turned into a media event. Some game-show host was emceeing the event for production as a TV show. He was giving the crowd instructions: yell this when I say that, make noise here, I can't hear you, etc. It also became obvious to me (with my TV experience) that he was operating off of a script, and he wasn't even trying to be sly about it. He'd ask his floor director questions over the PA system ("Are we on link seven now?"), he did a lead-up which involved his new baby, then when baby couldn't be found at the right time, did the EXACT same lead-up and got the audience to go "Awwww" at the right time. And the audience didn't even seem to realize that they were being manipulated! It downright sickened me. The whole time I was thinking of the kiwi birds, and how they'd gotten wiped out because of being so defenseless, so unsophisticated in the world of predators. I couldn't help feeling that the citizens of New Zealand will get just as rude a shock someday with their unsophistication with the media. Bleck.

Dec 25

Photo by Hala Fauzi

On Christmas day, the people who ran the backpackers' put on a feast! It was a lot of fun and the food was quite good. Dave, a young American (who, with his wife, was working at the backpackers' in exchange for room&board in the middle of their two-year around the world trip) said, "KATE! How would you like to look foolish?" So of course I obliged.

I followed him upstairs to a room FULL of costumes. The proprietor started putting me in a rabbit outfit. "Ok, now take off your hat. Oh. Um. I guess that won't work." She had wanted to put the comb attached to the ears in my hair, and I had no hair to attach it to! But I spied a wig and put that on, so the ears worked.

When I came out, Hala didn't recognize me! Later on, when I ditched the costume (and hat), the other "campers" didn't recognize me! It was fun.

Go on to the next page: The Bike Tour
Go back to the previous page: Queenstown
Go back to the main page

Skip to future pages: Nelson, Christchurch (again), and The North Island.


Copyright, 1994, Kaitlin Duck Sherwood

You may reproduce this document in whole or in part without my permission provided that you do not receive money for it, you do not alter it, and you attribute the author (me). You are enthusiatically encouraged to link to this page.