Back to New Zealand!
Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
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Where I stayed
We met at 6.45pm outside the member's area, and Paul was just as friendly as I'd remembered. He went and got the tickets, and we made our way into the stadium. Throughout the game, Paul helped me with the rules, as it just looked like a mish mash of about 5 different sports! After just 30 seconds of the first quarter, a disgruntled Melbourne fan was up in arms at the referee/umpire (whatever you call him!). "We work all week to get here and we have to put up with that" he screamed, almost in tears. Some of the fans were very passionate!
At half time we went for a quick beer, and I was impressed with the facilities on offer to the members. Afterall, some of these people had waited 20 years to use them! I actually started to get into the game after the break, no doubt because it was a close contest. In fact, it virtually came down to the last kick of the game, so I was lucky in that respect. Half of the people around me were ecstatic, whereas the other half were not (and lots of mumbled excuses could be heard!).
We went for a few beers in Federation Square afterwards, and I was amazed that they didn't serve pints. Paul said it's usual to get tubs of beer, which basically equate to half a pint - I felt embarassed standing around with such a small drink! Besides, it was hectic in there so it was a pain to keep queueing up for beers all the time. It wasn't a late one though, although I didn't get to sleep until 1.30am - a mere 4 and a half hours before I had to get up again!
It was a culture shock when the alarm went off, but I sprang out of bed to get organised for my flight back to Christchurch. The Sky Bus to the airport was less crowded this time, so there were no comings together between my back pack and the locals! I had an hour to kill so I spent the last of my change on sweets, converted my notes back to New Zealand Dollars, and read a free magazine I'd picked up on the way out of the hostel. Not only did this magazine have an article on living cheaply in Sydney (useful for February), it also had an account of a girl who'd gone to Japan to teach English! Sometimes I think these little things can be attributed to fate!
Once again, I had extra legroom on the plane, which made for a comfortable journey. As I hadn't slept much, I kept nodding off, doing that thing where your head goes forward then you wake up with a jolt - the guy next to me must have wondered what I was doing! The journey went really fast though, and it wasn't long before I was getting both my bags searched at Christchurch Airport. I'd not shaved for a few days, so maybe I looked like more of a dodgy character than usual! Whatever the reason, it was a struggle to fasten my main back pack up again after I'd been given the all clear.
When I checked in at the Old Countryhouse, the guy at Reception warned me that some people had left because of all the laundry that was hanging up in my dorm. I'm pretty easy going when it comes to tidiness (or untidiness in this case), so it didn't bother me being surrounded by washing lines and girl's knickers! In fact, Anja was a nice girl, although slightly eccentric. For example, she'd been busking earlier in the day, earning $30 for singing opera in Cathedral Square!
The next morning I went to the internet cafe, and thought long and hard about my options. I needed a job quick. My first choice is to go to Nelson and work in the seafood factory where Javier and Diego have been based for so long. Failing that, there is guaranteed work in the vineyards of Blenheim, not too far away from Nelson. So I decided to work my way up to the north of the South Island, spending a night in Kaikoura as there is a walk that I want to do there.
With some basic plans in place, I could now look forward to another evening with Yumi. I'd promised to buy her fish and chips (classy!) after 'forgetting' her birthday a few weeks ago (actually I never knew when it was in the first place!). After meeting at just gone 5pm, we went to this famous chippie that Yumi had heard about - the one that closed 5 minutes before we got there last time. I had a hot dog and chips, and Yumi had her beloved fish and chips - very nice!
Afterwards we went to the cinema, although not to see a Japanese animation this time! We struggled to choose one that looked good, but in the end we plumped for Millions, a film about a young boy who finds a suitcase full of money. I actually quite enjoyed it, but Yumi didn't understand it all, despite the fact she speaks excellent English. It was a bit strange in places I suppose, as the boy kept on seeing Saints from the past!
It was another pleasant evening, but as Yumi is leaving New Zealand at the start of October, I may not see her again (not in this country anyway). Hopefully I'll make it back to Christchurch at some stage before then though.
In truth, I was looking forward to leaving Manchester (fraudulent slip, I meant Christchurch) behind as it is just another city afterall. To break my journey to Nelson/Blenheim up, I decided to spend a night in Kaikoura and walk to the seal colony on the peninsula. As my bus left at 7am, I'd have a full day to explore the surroundings...