Monday, January 31, 2011

Heading South

Up early this morning for the flight to Christchurch, easy and uneventful. Our hotel borders Hagley Park, an enormous greensward in the middle of the city, filled with trees much less exotic to our eye than those in Auckland. Oddly (to us), there are no squirrels among the trees, but lots of cicadas, at least this time of year. Can you hear them?

Here's one on the ground that paddled its legs feebly when I tried to pose it for its glamour shot.

We walked into the center of town and came upon the Christchurch Museum, where a very personable guide persuaded us that just about every exhibit was well worth our time. The Paua House was a highlight, a recreation of a simple suburban house where a man collected and polished paua shells and installed them on the walls, while his wife’s job was to dust them. Over thirty-some years they welcomed thousands of people to their house, which they opened eight hours a day, seven days a week for this purpose. If they had not been so charming and sweet, it would have made you jump out of your skin - but as it was, it was a little peek into kiwi life…

The Antarctic exhibit was quite extensive, since this is the jumping-off point for expeditions to Antarctica. I loved the films of Scott’s and Shackleton’s journeys. Shackleton never fails to amaze me.

Strolling on down into the town, we passed by the boathouse and observed people punting (or being punted) along the river Avon.
Next up was Christchurch Cathedral, completing the feeling of an English town circa 1850 or so. Here is the Lord's Prayer in English and Maori, quite beautiful.

The Fyflot cross pictured here in tile is associated with the cathedral and is enough to inspire any quilter.
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We gradually realized that the many construction projects and empty lots were the result of last September's earthquake. Here's a stark reminder

and here is a typically kiwi apology for having experienced a natural disaster.
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Christchurch is called the City of Gardens, and all the gardens we saw, while very attractive, tended to the Victorian bedding-out style. Altogether, attractive but nowhere near as interesting as Auckland.

After some delays, we met up with Ellen and had a happy reunion. Dinner at the only Bangladeshi restaurant in all of NZ, very much to our tongues like Indian food, but less spicy and more subtle. Happy birthday to me! And tomorrow, the adventure begins…


Judy said...


Judy said...

You are asleep as I write this. Thanks for posting the clock! I still have to adjust for the day but I can just manage to do it.

You have chosen a good time to be away as we are having a big snowstorm here. The children are home from school - again.

Anonymous said...

I am thoroughly enjoying this. Learning new stuff and being reminded of old - like One Tree Hill.
Cathie Green