Friday, 29 May 2009

Auckland - Christchurch - Queenstown

Without going into any boring details, the flight to Christchurch was painless. In fact unbelievably so. After travelling through UK and US airports, where even being 1kg over the weight limit generally adds a billion pounds to your airfare and a thorough fingering up the jacksy, it is a positive relief to fly internally in NZ where it seems the only thing you need to do to identify yourself is look in a mirror and say "Yup, that's me". I think I went through more rigorous identification checks going into bars in Auckland.
I checked into the hostel at Christchurch, which is just opposite the Cathedral. I took no photos, but it is quite an impressive building. In fact, to avoid any disappointment in some, and to evoke elation in others, I took no pictures whatsoever in Christchurch. Although to an extent, I wish I had a picture of the beggar outside the Cathedral, as he played tunes on the recorder. Which I thought no-one played after the age of 7.
Having heard about the penthouse in the hostel I was staying, I decided to fork out the extra buck per night and stay there. 3 rooms, with a total of maybe 20 beds spread between, but with the bonus of a kitchen, bathroom, sky t.v. and Playstation 2. There were 3 Israeli guys already in there, one of whom had hair like Sideshow Bob. And two big fat black eyes from a fight in Australia.
The room wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It was just under the roof, which I can only assume was made of balsa wood, and had a corrugated plastic skylight. Given that I arrived in the midst of what seemed to be a 3 day hail storm, sleeping would have been easier if I was buried up to the neck and consistently stoned for 72 hours.
I moved out after three days, into a 4 bed dorm room which had one current occupant. Another Israeli guy, this one called Serge. A memorable character, he sounded a little bit like Borat. The room itself was a mess. Cigarette butts on the carpet, rubbish strewn all over the place, and an odd smell. Serge offered me "chocolate sandwich". I politely declined, in case that was a jew-phamism for something undesirable. It wasn't, it was actually a nutella sandwich. As he was making the sandwich, he started singing.
Now, for those of you that don't know, I have a recurring fantasy about Celine Dion and Alanis Morisette duetting while lying naked, face upwards on a bed of molten cheese while I am repeatedly stabbing them in the abdomen with a pitchfork. This "singing" of Serge's was not unlike how I would imagine that duet would sound. The only other times I have heard this is when it is on the news, sung by guys waving AK-47's in the air. I promptly made my excuses and left.
Most of my time in Christchurch was spent hanging around the hostel watching season 6 of The Shield on my laptop, or hanging out with a friend from Canada who lives there. Or trying to subtly cough very loudly and for a very long time while watching season 6 of The Shield on the top bunk while Serge begins making the bottom bunk rock oblivious to the fact that I am up there.
There really seemed to be very little else to do there. On the way back from a bar one afternoon we drove the mountain route, which took us around the top of the Gondola. The views from up there were amazing, I never thought Christchurch could offer such views. But that was it.
So on Sunday 24th I packed my bags, walked to the bus stop and embarked on the 8 hour coach ride down to Queenstown.

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