A day mostly spent travelling on the coach and recovering from the previous night’s drinking. Getting into Christchurch and hunkering down, rather than heading out to explore – unless of course you count curry…

Wednesday 09/04/08 

(Writing on the 12th at the “Seal Colony” that is currently empty of seals, in Kaikoura)

This should be a fairly simple entry, most of the day was spent on the huge drive up to Christchurch. Although, whoever I got the bus time from was wrong, or Kane the new driver was late. I was outside the hostel, but nobody was showing up. I put $2.00 in a phone box to ring the office and check driver times, but that was swallowed by the phone-booth. Then I spent $5.00 trying again, got put on hold, only to find that the reception in the hostel could have rang the Kiwi Express office for free. The bus then turned up just as the reception finally picked up the phone. Murphy’s law.

The panic of thinking that you have been stranded is probably the price you pay for deviating on the hostel plan, and staying on your own. I made a tiny bit of conversation with the “quiet girl, but I could have tried better. The hangover and lack of sleep were grinding at me. There were lots of little stops for toilet breaks and sightseeing purposes, but nothing major.

Eventually we got to Christchurch and I checked into the YHA on Manchester Street. Interesting fact, Manchester Street is the home of Christchurch’s red-light district. I went for a short walk and was planning to go for a curry at the Two Fat Indians, as Stephen had recommended, due to their “Art of beer and curry” menu. But looking online, they had nothing spicy on the menu, and it was miles away back on ‘dodgy’ Manchester street. Instead I walked around the corner and found another “Little India” restaurant that I had been to in Queenstown. I hadn’t realised it was a chain at first, but I was so bored, hungry and miserable, that I went in and ordered the same as the night before, only to get twice the amount!

Struggling to finish, I asked for a doggy bag (which was a masterstroke), went to the shop and bought an FHM magazine to read. There was very little choice  of reading material, but as I had nothing to do, was bored of the PSP, and didn’t fancy watching TV, it was that or nothing. The woman in the shop probably thought I wanted proper porn, but was too polite to ask.

SOUNDTRACK” “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths.

Because I can’t think of anything else, nothing happened that day other than watching a film on the bus. I probably got super homesick through boredom. So, asking myself how long left to go home or “how soon is now?” is as good as I can get. Good job I had the mega curry.


Wow. What a miserable day! I seem to remember it being a long drive, perhaps the longest of the trip. It seems like a contender when you look at Queenstown and Christchurch on a map.

I suspect a massive hangover was at play here. Our last night in Queenstown was not a quiet one! The World Bar’s unique-selling-point (which I swear should have caught on here by now, but still hasn’t from what I’ve seen) is that they served cocktails in teapots, and so you ‘poured’ yourself a drink into plastic tumblers once you took your teapot back to your own table. I believe I may have indulged in several Gin and Tonics.

A thoroughly long drive, hangover, and some very warm weather from what I recall, all made up to a miserable journey towards Christchurch. The diary does not even recall a stop off at the popular tourist photo-spot of Lake Tekapo. This is where the memorial to Scottish sheepdogs is built, next to a very remote and tiny church. This location also offered spectacular views over a lake towards what I assumed was Mount Sunday. I asked someone to take my picture, but it was a tricky exposure into direct sunlight, and I evidently did not have the energy to change the settings or ask for the pic to be taken again. A shame, as it looks like the perfect location to take one of the more memorable photos of the trip!

Looks like I checked into a solo room again quite happily, probably wanting the peace and quiet to catch up on a hangover and not to risk the randomness of a city-centre hostel. I was still stung by the Auckland experience that I had when I first got to New Zealand. Although it reads badly that Manchester Street is their red-light district, it did not seem dodgy at all, but I could have just been at the more civilised end! I am choosing to think of it more as Amsterdam red-light, than seedy anything-else. Needless to say, it looks like I just stayed indoors moped for an evening.

I think I judged Christchurch by the view from the coach windows whilst on the way in, perhaps way too harshly. It looked like a modern city, a very English modern city. Surely this was what I had come to get away from? I wanted to see something different? I have no doubt now that I treated Christchurch badly, and it was probably confounded by the breakup of the last members of my ‘original gang.’ This was where the last of them were getting flights to the next part of their global adventures. Sadly, me dumping on Christchurch would continue to be a theme in the diary, though looking back now, I cannot imagine why. It is something I regret, that I did not find more to do whilst there, but in the spirit of honesty, I’ll continue to lay it all out as the diary says.