Christchurch "the most English town in NZ"
Trip Start Feb 04, 2008
105Trip End Jan 19, 2009
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Where I stayed
Seeing as we are here for at least another month and I don't trust myself to remember everything, here's our Christchurch experience so far - in a nutshell......
When we arrived late on the 29th Aug it was FREEEEEZING! Luckily we had our warm coats and weren't wearing flip-flops - we made that mistake before in Melbourne! We stayed at The Coachman Backpackers right in the middle of town, a really nice place with huge clean rooms, a well equipped kitchen, spotless bathrooms and a massive lounge area with a bar, very large flatscreen tv and Scrabble!
We spent our first day checking out the town, wandering round Cathedral Square, followed the river to an Arts market and generally got our bearings
After a week of hostel life, we moved into a one bedroom flat in St. Albans, about a 20 minute walk from town. We signed up for 2 months hopeful that we would both get (and keep) jobs for long enough to pay the rent and save some too!
I found a PA job within a couple of days working for Ngāi Tahu - the South Island's largest Maori tribe.
I also got an evening/weekend bar job at His Lordships, a funky little bar/restaurant in Sol Square (similar to Bedford Place). It has good food and lots of live music attracting a slightly older crowd - definitely a step up from the student pubs I've worked in before! I quickly realised that I needed to get to grips with the accent. On my first shift I was waiting on a table and the lady asked me for a sieve. Slightly confused I asked her again what she wanted - again she politely but adamantly requested a sieve. Even more baffled I headed up to the bar and repeated her request. Dixie (the incredibly slim, gay, eccentric but fabulous duty manager) replied 'no worries', produced a wine glass and poured into it.... wait for it... a sauvignon blanc! Of course!
I am slowly getting there - but it does take a while to realise that in New Zealand you write with a pin and sit on a cheer
I started working for Ngāi Tahu on Monday 8th September. It was very strange being back in an office environment again but I soon settled in. The people are lovely, the office is huge and open plan, I have weekly Maori lessons and there's even a lady who comes in to give weekly massages! Marvellous!
After signing up with about 16 agencies (no exaggeration!) Will got a job working for the local council setting up a new website for them (I believe his official title was "Assistant Graphic Designer"! He also got a Sunday job working at our local supermarket (starting at 7am - Ouch!) - don't worry, the lovely photos of him in uniform will be attached to this entry!!
And so we commenced our working life, after 81/2 months of being unemployed, free as a bird etc etc we started our 52(ish) hour weeks.
Over the next few weeks we concentrated on saving and didn't really do much apart from the occasional trip to the cinema, a pub quiz or two (really bad idea when there are 2 of you and you are English - we didn't come last but it was close!) and a trip to the nearby coastal village of Lyttelton to visit their Sunday Farmers Market. We went along to a cooking class one evening at our local deli which was good fun - we cooked a 3 course meal and then got to sample the goods - seriously the best gooey chocolate banana pudding in the world (don't worry - we wrote down the recipe!)
One good thing about Will working for the council on their 'What's On' website was that we had a heads up on all the events coming up in Christchurch & Canterbury
As a result, this weekend was pretty hectic. We were expecting Will's Dad to arrive at some point (he finally arrived on Napier at the end of September after 8 long weeks on the sea). On Friday night we caught the bus to Lyttelton to see a play, The Butler, at a little independent theatre called The Loons. We weren't really sure what to expect but it had good reviews so we thought we'd give it a go.
The theatre described it as...
"Combining a Big Top spectacular with intimate comic theatre, it was originally devised to show off the skills of the young performers at Circo Arts but has now been reworked for The Loons. It is jaw-droppingly visual, fiercely satirical and very very funny."
It was certainly an interesting experience! The cast were amazing and performed some incredible acrobatics in a very confined space! About half way through the show however it all got a bit, well, 'arty' - the girls started to take their clothes off, the 'Je Taime' music started and the fruit on the centre table was no longer ornamental. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Needless to say I was pretty glad Will's Dad hadn't decided to join us!
After the play and a couple of G&T's we headed back into town to find Will's Dad as we'd had a message that he's arrived in Christchurch. By the time we got hold of him he had already settled into a camp site for the night so we arranged to meet him the next morning.
On Saturday, Pete arrived at the flat early morning and we all caught the bus into town ready for our trip to Akaroa.