Friday, January 15, 2010

New Zealand Trip, Part 1

Friday December 25, 2009
We got up really early on Christmas morning as our flight was at 8.30am and we wanted to be at the airport by 6.30.
We woke the boy and pointed him in the direction of his present from Santa, a Transformers Devastator toy. of course, just looking at it wasn't enough, we had to open it, which meant unwinding what felt like 4 million little wire-ties. I gave up after a while and got the side-cutters out of my beading kit, but it was still tedious.

After showers, last minute shoving of extra stuff in suitcases, and an abortive attempt at breakfast, the taxi turned up 15 minutes early and we all piled in. The extra 15 minutes turned out to be a good thing, as the taxi driver ignored the new, quick route to the airport and took us the old way, which seemed to take forever and ever.

In the end, though, we arrived in plenty of time to check in, get through security and customs and have a cup of coffee before the flight.

Probably due to our relatively early check-in, we got seats in the front section of economy, where they have better seats with more leg room that they reserve for frequent flyers and nice people who check in early. We all watched movies or TV on the individual screens and got to Christchurch about 3pm local time.

We got our rental car, found our hotel (The comfortable but perfectly ordinary Holiday Inn on Avon), had a swim in their indoor, heated pool and sat down to think about dinner. As it was Christmas and very few restaurants/food outlets would be open, our hotel had kindly arranged a buffet dinner. It certainly sounded nice, but with a price tag of $89 per head , no discount for children, and the fact that one of us was, in fact, a child and the rest of us were tired out from a day traveling and were unlikely to be able to eat $89 worth of food, even if it was oysters, we decided to go into town and try our luck anyway.

Inner-city Christchurch certainly wasn't buzzing on the evening of Christmas Day. There were a few people wandering around, especially at the Cathedral, and the souvenir shops were all open so if we wanted to eat fluffy toy sheep and overpriced knick-knacks for dinner we were set. On the food front, there were a surprising number of sushi restaurants open but virtually nothing else. Since the Boy would sooner eat BROCCOLI than sushi, this was a problem. Finally we found the fast-food district, where the familiar golden arches beckoned. So this was how we came to have quarter pounders, cheeseburgers, fries and coke for Christmas dinner.

Back at the hotel, we encountered a problem. It doesn't get dark until about 10pm in New Zealand at this time of year. Between that and the fact that it was 3hours earlier in Brisbane, there was no way The Boy was going to go to sleep as it was "NOT BED-TIME YET!". We watched part of the Iron Man movie on TV and tried to turn out the lights and go to sleep at around 9pm but none of us were sleepy. We ended up getting up for a bit later on, eating some cereal we'd bought at a corner shop and going back to sleep much later.

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