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Christchurch first-hand

So! I was sitting here in my little room at 4 Landcross, in the midst of typing up some crap for my column in The Observer but not really getting anywhere, when I decided, hey! why not make this aclassy procrastination session? And so I did. Now I’ve got the jazz crooning at me as I sip my $6.99 Golden Gate “Crackling Peach” sparkling wine (it’s totally legal here, relax), and suddenly I’m inspired. Inspired to what, you may ask? Well, that’s a great question. Definitely not to write this column, that’s for sure. I would say it’s inspiration of the procrastination kind. And that’s why I’m blogging instead! So, folks, welcome back to my life-changing tale of the Adventures of Bryden, Brandi, and Kelsie on the South Island of New Zealand!

Day DOS: Kaikoura -> Christchurch

  • Before leaving the beautiful city of Kaikoura for(probably)ever, we made a pitstop at a small diner/truckstop-looking-thing, where a sign informed us that we could be given a “Maori Leap Cave tour” for a special student-discounted price! Of course we had to do it. So we bought our tickets in the deserted little diner and waited outside for the tour to start. An old, old man with a very healthy belly was loitering by us as we waited, making small talk with us in that way that old people do. He looked like he was on the verge of collapsing from old age. But to our immense surprise, as the time of our tour quickly approached, the big old dude looked at his watch and said, “Well, I guess we can get started! I’ll get you some hard hats.” He was our cave guide. We soon realized, though, that despite our initial concern, this was as capable a tour guide as any! He even cracked some mildly funny jokes! Including one about the cave housing the real Tooth Fairy! (Apparently he also mistook our ages for about 10 years younger than we really are.) To convince the little ‘uns who visit the cave, this guy managed to acquire minuscule a little pair of Barbie-sized boots, a teeny phone, and real human baby teeth (from a dentist, he assured us) to place in a mini-cave in the big cave. I, for one, was convinced… that this dude was crazy. BUT lovable in his own right. And the cave was very nifty. Chock full of stalagmites ‘n tites.
  • Prior to arriving in Christchurch, Kelsie and I stopped at this place a bit off the beaten path to go zip lining! It was more like a high ropes course than anything, which I personally loved because I love climbing stuff. Kelsie wasn’t as big of a fan. But we befriended the guy who worked there, who was American and named Kyle, because he picked up the camera I kept dropping and acted as our cameraman. We named him “Connecticut,” because it was, for some reason, easier to remember than Kyle, and that’s where he was from.
  • Christchurch was, as expected, depressing. Even now, there is little to be seen of the city itself. It is very much still a broken place. You are not allowed to drive anywhere near the city centre. It no longer exists. We asked the woman in charge of our hostel to help us find this art show that we knew to be in the vicinity of the city centre, and she replied, “What city centre?” It was humbling, to say the least.
  • Speaking of our hostel, we stayed with some very interesting characters in Christchurch. It was just the three of us plus these three guys who had been there for quite some time. When we first met them we thought, okay, cool, new friends. They seemed normal enough. But later that evening, after going to the aforementioned art show, Kelsie and I attempted to hang out with two of the guys watching TV. That was our first mistake. We realized shortly after that the one guy in particular, from England, was a talker. And not the usual kind, as annoying as that would have been by itself, oh no. This one said the word “f*ckin” instead of breathing. Each sentence consisted of something like 50% actual words and 50% “f*ckin.” And that was when I could understand what he was saying at all, which took a lot of brain power to do. But, not only would this guy not shut up, he was also weird as hell. At one point he called me a “sexy septic tank” when he thought I had changed his facebook status (explain THAT logic). I had no idea what he was talking about, or that he was addressing me, at first. But when Kels and I got up to leave, he said “I @$#@$ hope @#$#@ I @#$#@ didn’t @#@!@# offend @#@$ you when I @#$@# called you a @#$@ septic tank.” And then he proceeding to explain that Americans are sometimes referred to as “tanks” because it rhymes with “Yanks.” You learn something new every day, eh? We ran away – to our room next door, where unfortunately the dudes knew we were staying. About 5 minutes after we had recovered from that strange encounter the sailor-mouthed came knocking on our door, asking if we wanted to watch that new gypsy wedding show with them. In order to avoid any further conflict, we joined them. Of course, we couldn’t actually hear the show because the talker wouldn’t stop talking. The next day, he asked us for a ride. Umm, no. We ran away again, for real this time, to Oamaru.
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