Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Well, they were right; Christchurch is about as English as you can get without crossing the Cliffs of Dover. The streets are all named Litchfield or Manchester or something, and the stream that runs through it is even called the Avon. It's a pretty place to take a walk or go punting.
They even built a gothic church, which stands in the town square now. It's a pretty nice place to watch street performers or meet up.
I don't know that I'd even call Christchurch a city; it has no skyscrapers and it just feels like a town. I walked all around it the first evening, and along the river, popping into one of the many pubs here for dinner.
Then today I rode up yet another gondola to the top of one of the nearby volcanoes that seem to be next to every town in this country. Afterwards I caught shuttles to two different wildlife reserves, zoos really, but both with lots of roomy areas for the animals. The first one was cool, I saw kiwis, huge rhinos up close, I even got to feed and pet giraffes! The second place had a wallaby that let me pet it, and there was a surprise: one of the Arapawa goats, donated by Betty herself. It seemed to be craving attention; I felt bad to leave it.
I'm also learning to be more open to meeting new people. On the ferry over here there was a guy I noticed who was tall, bald, and looked just like Vin Diesel. He was even wearing weird goggle-like sunglasses; I took to thinking of him as "Riddick". Anyway, as odd as he looked, I never dreamed of talking to him, but near the end of the trip he happened to be near me, and asked me where I was from. It turns out he's from Bavaria, and was a really nice guy! So now, if I'm sitting on a shuttle bus or something I ask other people where they're from, and I've already met a girl from Adelaide, Australia, some folks from San Diego, and even a bunch of college girls from Japan! One of them even asked if she could take my picture after the ride, and asked me not to forget her. I also got a pic of us on my camera, but I have such a stupid, nervous grin on my face I look hideous, so I won't post it!
But I think I'll keep this up, talking to strangers!
Anyway, that's about it for New Zealand for me. This is as far south of the equator as I go. Tomorrow I have just time to visit the botanic gardens and maybe a museum, then I fly back to Aukland, then on to Fiji. (That sounds weird even to me!) So I'l be back here in a few days telling you about that. See ya then!