Movement in Christchurch

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, October 31, 2010

We arrived in Christchurch in the afternoon and spend most of that time checking out hostels in the centre, it became apparent at that point that they had been hit quite badly by the earthquake, quite a few hostel were closed due to damage and a lot of the surrounding buildings in the city had been sectioned off from the public, mostly old buildings which was sad to see. Chirstchurch is the most English of all of New Zealand's cities, it has the fantastic Cathedral Square where a grand Anglican Cathedral stands and trams rattle contentedly through the streets. 

We negotiated a good deal for 10 nights in a really nice well run hostel which was a 20 minute walk into the centre, we chilled out in the evening chatting to a great bunch of guys who had been living and working in Christchurch for some time.  We then headed off to bed, the next thing I knew we were woken up by the manager about 3am to name check us all as there was a fire in a another dorm...Oh the drama!  Needless to say we all had a lie in the following morning.  We spend most of the following day walking around the city posting car adverts on all billboards in order to get Tony sold, it was a great way to get our bearings and pop in a few shops at the same time.  We were in a vintage clothes shop (don’t worry I haven’t got Justin in a kipper tie) and we were chatting to the girl who owns it and she was showing us the movement in her shop floor from the earthquake, it was such an old building even she was amazed it was still standing.  When we came to leave she shouted me back and gave us a lucky New Zealand penny and said if ever we are not sure which way to go flip the coin and it will all become clear, what a really nice girl.  I decided that I would leave my walking boots in New Zealand as they broke and were really poor boots, so before I did I decided to send HITEC an email explaining that their boots were bad and I can’t wear them any more as the lace hook snapped, and straight away the customer services manages in Australia emailed me back saying she needs the style and would sort it out.  It turned out that she would end me a brand new pair of boots, much better spec than my old ones to Melbourne for me. Excellent result! 
  The following day we drove to New Brighton beach and attempted to walk along their new pier, but it was so windy we turned back after half way, as we walked we noticed hundreds of plaques along the wall with people’s names on them, we actually though they were in remembrance of those who have jumped over the edge until we reached the end and it stated that they were the names of all the people who donated money into building the pier...oops!  We stopped for lunch and wandered around the shops, it was a very quiet little town with not a great deal to do so we continued to Littletown, it has a huge harbour so we walked around the town, we had aimed to visit the museum but it was closed due to earthquake damage so we moved on.  We took a scenic drive back over Summit Road which took us high up and gave us amazing views over Christchurch, it really was a lovely drive but Tony decided to overheat again so we had to stop and take in more views as he cooled down.

We were having our tea that evening and a Kiwi guy (Richard) came and sat next to us chatting about New Zealand, then he moved nicely on to how he heals people on behalf of the lord and how he conducts exorcism on people....great!  He said he can heal people so I made a mere joke for him to heal my fear of flying, and there it was no sooner than the words left my lips he agreed he would heal my fear, and started asking me lots of questions like, have I had a card reading before? Have I done a ouija board before? Oh and of course have I ever been abused? ...What?  He then started preaching at me and I had to repeat, of course as you can imagine Justin thought this was hilarious at this point.  He then started asking me do I feel the evil spirits leaving my body. Does my stomach feel heavy? Yes I have just eaten a chicken dinner I thought!  Then off he went to heal someone else,  yet I must admit I was left wondering, will I enjoy the flight to Melbourne?

We thought it would be good to visit Christchurch art gallery the following day because it was free and took a bet as to how long we would spend in their before one of us said "right that’s it lets go"  We lasted 10 minutes which is shameful, but we just didn’t get it.  The weather was hotting up so we donned our shorts and headed to the botanical gardens complete with a picnic, it was full of people power walking, jogging and cycling through we walked miles through all the lovely planted borders and statues.  We drove around all the hostels in the afternoon reducing the price of Tony as we had no takers.  We did however have an offer of $800 from a guy who saw it a couple of days earlier, so we decided to accept it.  We drove the car around to his house to hand over and he still didn’t test drive it, so we handed him the key and he handed us the cash, he kindly offered to drop us back at the hostel so we stupidly accepted.  Now I say stupidly because on the drive back he realised that the car does not use third gear and kept jumping from second to forth at the lights.  He said this is rubbish, and looked really angry, Justin advised him it doesn’t happen all the time.  We jumped out and ran in the hostel once he pulled up.  I told the girl on reception if a man comes looking for us, we have checked out.  We used the back streets to walk into town after that!  We celebrated with a cheap lunch time curry and some ale tasting that evening.

The following morning we were all woken up by the god squad singing hallelujah in the park next to the hostel, not good with a beer head. I had very little sleep that night as I felt the bed move through the night it woke me up, it’s very strange you randomly wake up through the night and you don’t know why, most of the time but its aftershocks.  I woke up with the movement and the sound of the wooden bed frames moving it is the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced.  Justin slept through like most nights.  We decided to go out Saturday night and conduct more ale tasting and took our roomy Carisa from the US, we all had such fun drinking 6% ale on our little pub crawl.  That weekend there had been a total of 36 aftershocks, some we felt and most we didn’t.

The last day we wandered around Cathedral square relaxing in the sun people watching and there was a group of people who were messing about jumping up and over things, doing back flips they were really good and had most of the attention of the locals, we sat for ages watching them do stunts whilst a friend would take photographs.  When we came to leave we both did a little star jump off the wall to try and steal some attention....didn’t work!  As it was our last day and we were still complete with all the camping equipment which we couldn’t sell we decided to give it to James a young lad in the hostel who spent the whole of the 10 days we were there moaning about being skint, so we told him to try and sell it.  In return he gave us three series of the inbetweeners and a lift to the airport so it was all good.

New Zealand has been one of the most perfect places I have been to, because it sits upon the Australian plate and the pacific plate and has two fault lines running through. It has some of the most amazing geological feature from volcanoes, geysers, glaciers and amazing rock formations, which I just now I won’t see anywhere else.  I have been amazed at the amount of activities this country has to offer, there is nothing you can’t do here.  We have met some great people who have been really friendly and most of the population are very happy, they enjoy life and take a relaxed approach to day to day problems, there is no room here for stress. It has been the perfect place to travel around and slow down after the hustle and bustle of South America.  It has left us with fun memories and a record breaking camping time of two months.
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