Christchurch, New Zealand.

We made it across the Cook Strait this morning all in one piece (or, two separate pieces). We got up at the crack of dawn (6am) in order to catch the 8am ferry from Wellington to Picton (which is on the south island). As we drove our car onto the boat I couldn’t help but compare our Kiwi ferry experience to ourFijian one; this morning everything was so organized and well-thought-out and flowed so
smoothly…when we took the ferry from Viti Levu to Ovalau there was lots of waiting around, lots of exhaust from the various diesel vehicles (our still-packed-with-human-cargo bus drove into the hull
of the ship with twenty other buses and vans and trucks, and created a very unhealthy breathing situation for its riders), and lots of rust covering a great majority of the ship. I felt so at ease this
morning on the beautiful new ferry that I ignored the safety instruction video that they played at the start of our journey (something I never do; even on the airplanes I still pay serious attention to the “crew members” doing their silent moves at the front of the cabin); instead, I went to one of the four coffee bars on board ship and ordered a “long black” coffee and muffin. Casey and I played a few games of gin-rummy (guess who’s ahead?) and moaned to each other about how tired we were and how much our tummys were in turmoil. Yes, we had/have something wrong with our digestive tracts…Casey had it worse than I did, but I still had that icky feeling. We have pinned it down to the Malayasian food we had last night for dinner; Casey ate more of the spicier dish than i did, and so we think that that plate held the bad bacteria! The place we ate at was nice, too, so I’m a bit surprised–it wasn’t dodgy at all. I guess you never know what goes on behind the scenes.

Oh, we had an uncomfortable day today driving from Picton to Christchurch (about a five hour drive). Casey was dopped up on Pepto and Immodium and Dramamine, and then his sinuses started hurting and so he took some sinus medication. I had a Dramamine and we both had less than six hours of sleep…uh, we were not in a state for a driving spree. But, we had booked a B&B in Christchurch and wanted to make it here before evening. We both felt better by early afternoon and started to get hungry so we stopped at the Mussel Boys in Kaikoura and had mussels and mussel soup and salad. Yummm! But, perhaps not the best meal for tortured stomachs because…it all came back.

Well, we made it anyhow and took a nice long nap on the big comfy bed and then got up and went into the city (we are actually staying about five minutes outside of Christchurch in a town called Avon).

The countryside of New Zealand is so beautiful…There are so many shades of green, and they’re all in one spot! The color ranges from a dark brown green to an almost flourescent lime color.We’ve seen rolling hills covered in green(s)and sheep and spotted cows, and dry hills that remind me of the East Bay (before it became so developed), and rows of grape vines, and turquoise ocean (in Napier), and houses dotting tree-covered hills (Napier again, and Wellington)–which remind me of the Bay Area!. Oh, and lots of men in cut-off jean shorts worn just a little too short. Shocking.

The Cambridge Hotel WAS very nice….we had a TV and a small fridge and a very cute (although small) bathroom, and a BIG BIG bed that was so comfortable, and came with three pillows. The Rowena Backpackers
was a “dump” (to quote my man); I even had an asthma attack while we were there, and I don’t have asthma! Even Casey was uncertain as to whether or not the sheets had been washed, and we both slept in the blue silk liners that night.That’s when Casey decided we’d spring for something nicer (the Cambridge).

Question: If you were in New Zealand for Thanksgiving, when would you celebrate it? NZ is one day and a few hours behind the US (four hours behind the West Coast). So, although Thanksgiving is on the 28th of November, if we celebrate it on that day in NZ it would be the day before Thanksgiving in the US. And, since NZ doesn’t (obviously) celebrate Thanksgiving (so, really, it doesn’t exist here), I say we
celebrate it on the 29th (which is a Friday here, but Thanksgiving in the US). Casey disagrees (and so did another American man we met; his wife agreed with me–they had actually had the same debate).

Time to go…the email money clock is ticking and Casey is getting restless.