Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Road to Christchurch

Since there is so much to tell and so many pictures, I’ll split this trip into several posts. Plus, I know you were all on the edge of your seats when Angela posted the 3 part mini-series on NZ history so I’ll follow suit (I’ll try to keep mine commercial free as well). I hope you can all handle the suspense from post to post. Anyway, Angela and I decided to take this vacation down to Christchurch and Akaroa (small French village about an hour out of Christchurch) to get away from the hectic days we’ve been putting in and to celebrate Angela’s 35th b-day.

Well, as you know, our shipping container had just arrived so the garage and house were both in disarray but we decided to leave it all for when we returned. We packed the car on Wednesday morning and headed off. We decided to take the coastal route through Kaikoura on our way down to Christchurch (CC from this point on) and take the mountain route back. I’ve attached a few of the pictures from the drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura. (Again, if the names of these towns don’t mean anything or you are unclear about our route, google a map of NZ to help you follow along.)

This route is along the coast and very sparsely populated. I’m sure we mentioned this to many of you when we returned from our vacation here back in January 2005. We still can’t believe the amount of oceanfront land that just sits, untouched by development. It’s nice. The first part of the route is open grassland with a few farms houses, sheep and cows grazing, clusters of trees here and there, and the high mountains in the distance. Then, almost suddenly, well, not really that suddenly, the scene changes and the road is bordered by a cliff down to the ocean on one side and steep hill covered in dense foliage on the other. No bays or inlets here, this is open ocean baby, rough seas thrashing about with waves crashing against the rocky shore and mist spraying shooting high into the air. Definitely much more active than were we live. We did stop at the same seal colony from our last trip and it looked pretty much the same – rocks with lazy seals sleeping the day away. Regardless, I took 30 more pictures of them to add to my collection.

We then proceeded into Kaikoura for a lunch of fish and chips. I’ve added pictures for your enjoyment and to help you understand the experience. Step one is to find a ‘takeaways’ sign which usually indicates a place to get F&C, burgers, pizza, sushi, etc. Check. Second step is to review the menu…errr…chalk board and decide on the type of fish to be deep fried in grease (still not sure type of fish matters, heck, they should let you choose the brand of grease). I believe we both ordered the lunch special for $5 (fish, chips, & sprite). We selected the white fish (all choices are some type of white fish). They end up making their $ on the extras; we had to purchase cans of tartar sauce and ketchup so that added another couple dollars. Well, once our meal was cooked it was served to us in some fancy grease absorbing paper. Good quantity of fish and chips for the price, overall a fantastic meal; hard to beat fish just caught that day. Notice I added a 5 pound salt container in this picture for scale - the meal was brought out to us in a wheel barrel. So there is a reason they are called takeaways, they actually expect you to leave even though they have tables. As you can also tell, these places aren’t high on atmosphere either. So we

proceeded to eat without any silverware – and you couldn’t get it if you wanted it. Anyway, we left happy and full.

Oddly enough, right after we walked out a man ran by us yelling, “A dead body was found in the old schoolyard.” Turns out it wasn’t any old body but the corpse of Professor Higgins. Additionally, this wasn’t an ordinary death, it was MURDER!!!! Coincidence? I think not…. On the edge of your seat yet? Tune in next time for another installment.


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