Sunday, October 09, 2005

New Zealand Here We Come

Yaron being a decent sort (if slightly surfing-obsessed), took us to the airport for our flight in his upmarket Porsche 4x4 (did I mention he was well-off?). This scary machine can do 0-60 before I can even think up a suitably snide rejoinder, except in Sydney, where they won't let you go that fast. It's got plenty of room for surfboards and associated paraphernalia, which is all he cares about at the moment, so there you are.

The flight to Christchurch was as dull as all such things ever are. There was a movie, which I didn't watch, but which was about a pre-teen soccer team triumphing in a suitably comic manner over all odds to win whatever league it was in which they were playing. This was all too missable stuff, except that it was an American movie, with American actors (including those scarily serious American Child Actors), an American writer and Americans footing the bill (so to speak). And yet it was football (sorry, soccer) the kids were playing. Not baseball or basketball or that inscrutably moronic pastime Americans usually call football (you know the one - each play takes about five seconds, with a half hour gap for advertisements in between, and they bring on specialist players for each different type of play. I mean, is that a sport? Sound like ballet to me, only without the aggression), but football - David Beckham, Gary Linekar, Jumpers for Goalpost (grazed knees, humiliation, terror, schoolmasters with grudges as referees). As I said, I didn't watch it, but it struck a chord nonetheless, flickering in my peripheral vision as I tucked into yet more inedible airline food (It makes me queasy, but I've paid a king's ransom for it, so I'm bloody well going to eat it).

At the airport the New Zealanders showed themselves to be even more quarantine obsessed than the Australians. This turned out to be quite useful, as I felt it only honest to declare my walking boots, still in a plastic bag from first departure, never used in oz. The nice young girl at customs took one look at them, clarted with month-old dry sheepshit (Welsh version), and took them off for a good clean. Next time I'll bring my wellies too.

And so Christchurch. The most English of New Zealand cities, or so I am lead to believe. It seemed nice enough on first acquaintance, though there was a bit of the New Town about the place. Not in the same league as Canberra, however. Perhaps more Garden City. Due to time differences and other malarky, we arrived at about six, were in our hotel by seven and looking for beer and food not long after. My infallible nose lead us to the nearest brewery-pub, but the beer was expensive. Thinking the food might be more reasonable, we asked for menus. Twenty minutes later when no one had come to ask us if we wanted to order anything (or if we wanted more to drink) we left. So much for first impressions.

I could say much of Christchurch, if I could be bothered. On the other hand, we're going back there at the end of the holiday, so maybe I'll leave it until then. Suffice it to say we managed to find a reasonably cheap hire car before heading off into the wastes.

Next: Into the Wastes.

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