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Jon’s Travel Diary

Monday, 06 Mar 2006

Location: Christchurch/Dunedin, New Zealand

MapWhere to start? I guess where I left off. Well on the weekend Taka and Oz and I went up to Christchurch to spend the weekend there and pick up Jim from the airport.
Before we met up with Jim at the airport we stayed the night at this girl Kate's house that Oz knew. She lives on this hill that overlooks Christchurch which is sweet, she lives there for free (sweet), but in April the city is tearing it down. So the city has basically asked Kate and her two roommates to live in this house so no homeless people move in (which I don't understand). So Saturday night Kate holds a "Kiwi style" party which is something I haven't experienced before, only scene from the outside, from living in Dunedin (the student capital of New Zealand). Remembering the house is getting demoed next month but still they do have to live in it for another month, people started punching holes in the ceiling, spray painting the walls (this included furniture and kitchen appliances) taking an ice pic axe to the wall, using it to climb the wall with crampons on as well. People were jumping around on the roof, one guy tried to rip down the chimney and there was a fire going on in the fireplace below. It was nutty. I have never experienced such a thing in my life and probably will never again, but again proves my theory of New Zealand night life around here where people (and not to generalize but most kiwi students I have met) seem to turn into little werewolves at night! The hammering of the walls and the punches to the ceiling didn't end until 2:30 and then having to meet Jim the next morning I decided to crawl into a quite place in the house (which there weren't many) and get some shut eye.
I met Jim at the airport on Sunday morning, which was incredible to see my best friend fly half way around the world, to come for a visit for two weeks. I really hope my wife is as great as Jan! Thanks Jan.
So Jim and I pick up the rental car from EZY rentals which we're excited about, not to sure what kind of shape this car will be in. The guy pulls Jim's car up and it's a brand new little car but it's "baby blue"? Our car stands out like a moose would in a sheep field! Also the car is standard which puts a whole new twist into the equation of driving. When one of us is driving in the city the other person seems to be driving as well telling the driver which lane to turn into, reminding them of the weird right of way they have over here (at a light the person turning right has the right of way over the person turning left which is opposite to back home), which lane to stay in, etc.
Yesterday was Jim's first full day in New Zealand. I had lectures in the morning, Adventure Education as well as Bio-mechanics, that Jim sat in on and then we travelled around the Otago Peninsula, and did a tramp in the evening to a waterfall and then hiked to the top of this small mountain and then proceeded towards the glow-worm cave. The Peninsula drive was on this very narrow winding road that was literally half a meter and there was a drop off into the ocean. For some odd reason Jim didn't let me drive? I don't know why?! On our little expedition we toured and saw the Albatross visitors centre and learned about these big birds that look like seagulls to me and we also saw some seals.
The hike we ventured on took us approx. 2.25 hours and took us to the top of this mountain that looked out over Dunedin which was nice as we could see where we had travelled during the day. As it became dark quickly we ventured down to the glow-worm cave where we waited for it to get dark enough to see these very small bugs, the size of a bread crumb, that glowed fluorescent yellow. They were everywhere on the sides of this cave. It was fascinating to find out that these small bugs give off light because it attracts their predators to the light and then they have sticky larva that tangles up there victim in which then they proceed to tea (supper).
This morning we were going to go for a run with Oz around the reservoir which is this nice small lake at the top of this hill 20 minutes from my flat but it was raining so we decided to stay dry. Maybe Thursday we'll try for it. Today I have lectures in the afternoon and then the who knows where Jim and I will venture.
This weekend is our big exploration to the West where we will be taking on Fox Glacier (which is this huge ice glacier, using pic axes and crampons) the white water at Queenstown, and then heading to Milford Sound to Kayak the Fiordlands which are huge mountains that emerge from the ocean. Three days we plan on doing this, we're going to be busy.
Hope all is well back home, New Zealand is officially into it's fall season. I will be envious of the weather back home soon!