Thought I’d give you all a quick update on what we’ve been up to recently, which isn’t an awful lot, but here goes:
We passed through Kaikoura and saw lots of seals which was pretty exciting – they were just basking on the rocks barely lifting their heads as we walked past within a few metres of them. Some were playing in the sea too, the one that had just come out of the sea and were still wet looked like Josh the Dog!
There were some pretty cool limestone formations in the rocks too that looked like a landscape from star wars. Kaikoura itself is pretty shit though, at first we quite liked its seaside town charms but the more time we were there the less we liked it – it’s very geared towards tourists and is largely soulless. It’s also staffed by the vacuous elite of New Zealand – nowhere else have we seen so many shop staff with so few brain cells to rub together: wrong fish and chips order after twice explaining the order which wasn’t even hard – 1 fish and 2 chips, a ‘work-experience Kelly’ (for those that have seen monkey dust) receptionist at the Department of Conservation and seemingly blind staff at a cafe. The Kaikoura coast is pleasant, the town isn’t.
After Kaikoura we chilled out for a day or so at Mt Thomas forest park and did pretty much nothing all day other than laze around and read which was great to recharge our batteries.
We are currently in Christchurch which we both like a lot – it’s certainly the best New Zealand city that we have been to, the place actually has a bit of life to it AND some architecture that could reasonably be claimed as being historic (‘Historic’ Russell, take note). There’s some really nice green spaces too and the streets have a very spacious air to them. It was my birthday yesterday and for the night we treated ourselves to an en-suite hotel room – such opulent luxury! My birthday itself was great, a lot of thanks to Viv for making it so! It started off pretty damp as it was pissing it down with rain seemingly incessantly but I was cheered by the little presents that Viv gave me – a book about oil and a very nice t-shirt that I had my eye on, thanks Viv! We visited the Christchurch art gallery, set in an impressive modern glass building, in the morning and saw an exhibition of stunning landscape photography from Ansel Adams and a suberb exhibition of Korean art made from everyday objects called ‘Alchemy of Daily Life’ – well worth checking it out if you get the chance.
We treated ourselves to lunch and dinner out, both of which were supreme, as well as a number of beers throughout the day. It even stopped raining and the sun came out for the afternoon which was an unexpected treat too in this country of incessant rain and schizophrenic weather. In the evening we actually talked to some locals at a bar playing dub – the first evidence we have seen that Kiwis actually like going out for a drink! Anyway – thanks to Viv for a really special day, it was great! Thanks everyone else for birthday e-mails/e-cards/cards and texts – nice to know you all still remember me, if only just!
We met up with Mark and Martin for a coffee/beer this morning and will be heading to Akaroa later today and then back to Christchurch on Sunday to pick M&M up to travel together a little down south.
All for now, ta ra!
John & Viv