We finally touched down in Christchurch at about 5 pm. I had to queue twice, once for immigration and once for biosecurity. They made me get my shoes cleaned before they let me enter the country. There was still some mud on it from Flores. After I got some cash and a Kiwi SIM card I went searching for the bus. Kat – a Zouk dancer who accepted my request of crashing on some fellow dancer´s couch for 3 nights that I had posted in a Zouk group on FB – had sent me instructions on how to get to her place. I had to change at the bus exchange and walk a little bit from the bus stop to her place which is pretty close to the center. It took about another hour in total. When I finally arrived I had left the hostel in Kuta almost 20 hours ago and had been awake for about 30 hours, so I was pretty tired. Kat was not at home but her flatmate Mat let me in. After a long shower I went with him to an Indian place to get some take away food. With a full belly I was even more tired and just wanted to go to bed. But I had to wait for Kat. She quickly came home to show me her room and tidy up a bit around 10/10:30 pm, so that I had space in the bed before she went out for dancing. I was too exhausted and just went to bed. The next morning I slept until 9ish and had a chilled morning while doing my laundry. I ate the leftovers from the Indian for lunch and then took off to explore the city. I had a look at the many Gap fillers – the art they put up after the earthquake, Cathedral Square, some little market, parks and souvenir shops, enjoyed a lovely ice cream and just enjoyed life and being back to New Zealand. It is quite shocking though how many aftereffects of the 2011 earthquake you still see in this city.
I walked back keeping my eyes open for some supermarket to get groceries, but couldn´t find any. I had a little nap and just got up when Kat came back from work. They get free drinks and food every Friday and she had brought me half a pizza. Later that evening we went out for dancing. There was a Zouk Party at Leo&Becky´s dance studio BrazilianBeatz and I was looking forward to going there for days already. I haven´t been dancing Zouk since my birthday in September and I really missed it. I know Leo& Becky from several Zouk congresses mainly in Europe and I love their way of teaching and dancing. I had a blast with some fantastic dances and we got home at around 3 am.
The next day Mat took me to a supermarket since he had to go shopping too. So I could finally get some stuff for snacks and cooking. After shopping I went to the botanical gardens and walked around there for quite long. The roses were just in bloom and it was a beautiful day. On the Avon River you can rent Kaykas or go on a special boat ride called punting where a skilled punter in traditional Edwardian attire propels you slowly along the water.
I walked back to Kat´s place…
…where I cooked dinner and worked on my blog. Later we got ready for a Brazilian Party at a club. We met a few people at BrazilianBeatz for predrinks and later went to Casa Publica. It was free of charge, nice atmosphere, and great music. I had another great night out and to another late night too.
I couldn´t sleep in since I had reserved a rental car for the rest of my trip in NZ that I had to pick up at 10 am at the airport. I didn´t have enough time anymore to take the bus so I got an Uber to the Jucy rental station. After a while I got my ride for the next 44 days – an older scuffed grey Nissan with a CD player but no USB Port. I drove back to Kat´s place, quickly warmed up my leftovers from dinner last night for lunch and packed all my stuff in the car. After a round of goodbyes I drove off to the Christchurch Gondola at Mt Cavendish. On the way I got an adapter for the car – cigarette lighter to USB- so that I could charge my phone. I walked up the Bridle Path until it went down to Lyttelton where I turned off up to the Gondola. It took about 45 minutes to walk up. You have a beautiful view over the Canterbury Plains out to the mighty Southern Alps and the dramatic hills of Banks Peninsula. I also did the crater rim walkway and took some pictures before treating myself to a Brownie and a Chai Latte, roamed around in the souvenir shop and did the time tunnel. They did a really nice job with this ride about the history of the area.
I took the Gondola down and drove to Lyttelton. I walked around and took some pics,
got some veggies and then drove back to Christchurch. I was staying at Graham´s place that night, another Zouk dancer. We talked about dancing, where watching dance videos, had dinner and danced. Perfect dancers evening! On Monday morning I drove quickly to the city center where I had seen a nice jumper that was reduced quite a lot. Getting there and finding some parking was a task since there are many streets blocked off due to construction. But I managed and got my jumper. It was time to leave Christchurch finally and I was on my way to Akaroa.
It had been some nice first couple of days in New Zealand. Thanks again to Kat and Graham to take me in and to all the dancers I had such nice dances with. Also to Leo and Becky to invite me to your preParty and the night out on Saturday and for the great time I had at your nice dance studio!