Well, our first full day in New Zealand has come to an end and Wednesday has broken here dramatically cooler than yesterday. It rained over night and we awoke at 6.30am to grey skies. It’s now about 8:50am and already the weather has changed, the sky is the bluest of blues and the sun is stretching its rays from behind the scattered clouds. However, with a visit to the famous Botanical Gardens planned this morning, I won’t be going out without my umbrella.
Yesterday was tinged with the weary pangs of jet-lag. Both Martin and I were oscillating between sheer excitement that our plans were actually going smoothly for once and the creeping feeling of needing to sleep for a few days straight. Martin returned from his first interview as I was finishing uploading pictures to the blog yesterday and sat down with the expression of a man who was trying very hard to contain his glee. After a cup of coffee, he explained that the company had offered him the position, pending the receipt of references and the negotiation of wage/expenses package, and were going to be picking him up at 9am sharp on Friday to show him round the sites he would be working on. I literally jumped for joy.
After a quick stroll down Bealey Avenue, me snapping away at miniature wheelie bins and Martin rolling his eyes, he was off again to meet with his recruitment agent to discuss how things had gone.
Upon his return, we drove literally 2 minutes down the road (were didn’t have much time!) to Freights Ale House, which had been recommended by the owner of our Motel. We ordered a couple of cokes - as we can been told beer is about $6-7 a pint - and some Oamaru Skins from the bar menu. Went they arrived, the guy told us ‘They come highly recommended. I think they’re really nice’ which kind of took us aback, not being used to these personal touches from bar staff and waiters back home. A mountain of potato skins with melted cheese, big chunks of bacon and topped with sour cream...absolutely delish.
Martin hurried off to his second interview and I settled down to start watching Friends from the very first episode, trying very hard to keep my eyelids from drooping too much. The urge to sleep was getting stronger and it was only about 5 o’clock.
We then headed out to visit Sumner on the coast at about 7, a drive of approx 10-15 mins from Christchurch central. This is somewhere I had imagined we might live: picturesque and in comfortable communing distance. However, as we approached, it became clear this district may be a little out of our price range. Houses were balanced precariously on the steep cliffs, accessible only by private individual ski lifts from the main road to the front door. Weirdness in the extreme. All the houses were giant architectural master pieces, each unique and quirky, as if designed to reflect the owner themselves.
Sumner beach was lovely. Covered in driftwood (my Ma would have a field day making natural sculptures) and draped in strange looking seaweed that I kept thinking would make very pretty necklaces. There are caves set into the rocks where you can normally venture, if you make it past the crashing waves, which are now barricaded due to earthquake damage. Along the Esplanade barriers had been erected to keep people from going near the damage and someone had created some Wool Graffiti, woven through the mesh in red yarn the word ‘Boundaries’.
As we walked back to the car, I became a little over-excited by everything I was seeing, taking pictures of every little thing and stopping every two seconds to point at something. The plants were incredible, really tropical looking, like they’ve escaped from the rain forest. Giant towering asparagus spears next to fat palms and cactus like heads that reminded me very much of Little Shop of Horrors.
After another quick shop at Countdown, we came home to make sausages and mash (missing English food quite badly) only to discover the Kiwi grown Kamaru Potatoes came out grey and tasted like ash. Yummy.
Bedtime again. Martin was so tired he could barely function so we called it a night. Feel much more awake today but we will see how long that lasts before we start lagging again....