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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Christchurch

I continue From Here 

Backpacking NZ : Day 01 (03-Dec-2016)

A Sad City...

When I reached Auckland, it was 9:40 AM. It was a long flight of about 10 hours. As the aeroplane descended below the clouds, the first view of the city was spectacular. I was there! in NZ!



Immigration was pretty fast but NZ has a very strict Bio-Security check that sincerely scrutinises the imported goods to prevent any kind of unwanted pests or diseases. Camping equipments and trekking shoes are specially checked for cleanliness  All food items that are carried are closely inspected as well. Luckily, I just had dry fruits and the inspector was fine with that but he did want to check my trekking shoes. After a quick inspection, he said that  I was good to proceed. It is always good to declare what you are carrying as this is a serious matter in NZ. Every bag is scanned and there could be heavy fine on those who fail to declare goods that they have marked for checking. 

After that extensive check, I stepped out of the airport and bought a SIM card. Spark travel plan seemed to suit my needs with several minutes of international calls, 500MB data etc. I paid about NZ$ 29.  I also bought a power adapter and withdrew some cash from an ATM.

I tried to check in my bag to my domestic flight from the international airport but there was some confusion and the helping staff were not very knowledgable about the process so, they recommended that I take the free shuttle to Domestic airport and check in the baggage there. 

The sign boards are very neat and clear. So , it is not very difficult to find what you want. Also, the people seemed to be very kind and helpful in case you asked them for directions. 

At the Domestic airport, I checked in and grabbed some quick lunch - Roasted vegetable toast and a Feijoa juice. Fejioa is  a local fruit and the juice has a tangy and soar taste. It was good though. 



The flight from Auckland to Christchurch left at around 2:00 PM and I had some great views of the land below. I saw the farewell spit just like one does in google maps and a cluster of snow capped mountains. The sight of the mountains quickly lit me up. It was then that I got really excited to be there.




Route - Auckland to Christchurch


At the airport, I took a local bus and got to the city. Google maps helped me find my hostel - Around the world backpackers. I checked into my dorm. A boy, perhaps in his teens was busy browsing on his laptop. But he did greet me as I entered. I got unpacked, took a shower and then decided to step out. I checked at the reception about the town center and they provided me a map. It was 7Pm and there was still daylight, which was good. 

I enjoyed observing everything as I walked by. I was surprised to see so many rose plants along the road. The plant was completely covered with extra large roses.   


Christchurch has a sad history. Two major earthquakes shook this city in 2010 and 2011, shattering many ancient building and killing hundreds of people. Most of the city still appears to be under construction. The cathedral at the centre of the town remains in ruins. 




The church authorities have decided to demolish it as they do not have the fund to renovate it. This is not just renovation but also making it resistant to future earthquakes (By perhaps providing isolators). That is a very expensive affair, specially in case of existing buildings. However, some who feel that it is a national heritage have brought a stay to the idea of demolishing the church. 

Even otherwise, Christchurch is a very dull city. On a Saturday evening, there was hardly any crowd on the streets. I saw a few bars packed with people and rest almost empty. What was interesting though was that all these drunk guys and girls would greet me, give me a high five. That was indeed a funny but also a welcoming feeling. One lady shouted - Namaste to me while she drove across. It was evident that all this was a result of their intoxicated state but still the act was warm and civil. 






I ate my dinner at a Mexican restaurant. The quesadillas were not that great. I headed back to the hostel and decided to book the next bus available out of this dull city. I badly wanted to go to Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook but I was unable to find accommodation there. I figured out that some advance planning is required in this country. So, I booked my bus to Queenstown for the next morning and also booked a hostel there for two following days. 

After that long flight, despite the excitement that superseded my tiredness, I knew that I had to rest for a while. So, setting my alarm for next day, I went to bed. I looked forward to my travels further south, in the south island. 


Continued Here 

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