Apparently the most 'English' of NZ Cities, but can I get a good strong cup of tea??
Christchurch Travel Blog› entry 19 of 52 › view all entries
Flowers and Fur
Itâ€™s hard to believe that just a few months ago Iâ€™d never heard of airport shuttle buses, and now they are integral to my travelling happiness.
My shuttle from the airport was driven by a sweet, stout man called David. David let me sit in the passenger seat where I could enjoy a superior view and the pleasure of his furry seat covers in 35-degree heat.
I asked David if he had any Welsh ancestry on account of his name and the 3 paper daffodils on his dashboard. He said No; the daffodils were collected on daffodil day (a charity event) over the last 3 years, as a gesture toward his wife.
But he did have British ancestry; his great great grandfather was from Yorkshire. I asked him if heâ€™d ever been. He said No (again) but his cousin had been and sheâ€™d showed him pictures. This seemed to satisfy any curiosity and he showed no interest in discovering the delights of Yorkshire close up. Which is a shame because I think heâ€™d quite enjoy a Famous Fat Rascal Cake or two at Bettyâ€™s Tea Room.
I stayed at a great little place just off Christchurch square and everything about it reminded me of my halls of residence at University: The grungy looking clump of denim in a stripy hat who sat watching TV in a heap on the communal sofa whist absentmindedly eating pasta; the threadbare carpets; the beige and burgundy walls; corridors with numbered heavy doors; the revolting smell of the kitchen; the stark bathrooms with M & F on the doorsâ€¦.
Flowers and Feathers
I had a day to kill in Christchurch and spent it happily pottering about the Botanical Gardens and Museum.
As with the hostel, the familiar environment had a time-travel effect: I was transported back to my Nasty Teenager era. Exasperated, Mum would drag me off to wise and civilised old Oxford in the hope that some of the propriety might rub off on me. Weâ€™d spend the day walking together deliberately discussing art and architecture (and not drug-addict boyfriends). Our happy day would be punctuated with gourmet sandwiches and a turn around the Ashmoleon Museum, before heading home where Iâ€™d pick up where I left off Being Horrible.
Christchurch museum was ok, but the gardens were really special.
The Rose garden won my heart, there were gazillions of varieties and I made a point of stopping to smell the roses whilst loudly thinking â€˜Isnâ€™t life great!â€™
The relaxing day drew to a golden close lying on the banks of the Avon reading Ben Elton with a gaggle of (suspiciously English looking) ducks waddling about pecking at the grass.
Final Thoughts on NZ
If India taught me to reserve judgement on all things social & political, New Zealand has taught me about generosity: the people here, most specifically Graeme, Carole Jenny & Dave, have shown what unconditional kindness is. Iâ€™ve learnt that itâ€™s not necessary to keep a tab on every grace & favour with a mind for repayment, but, as Bini succinctly pointed out to me, â€˜If you try to give back every little thing you just look like a skank; much better to accept with good graceâ€™.
PS, Note on the title, I've totally given up trying to get a strong cup of tea here in NZ. Only weak ones exist. But it's ok - the ice chocolate drinks more than make up for it!