February 10, 2002 - Another Slow Sunday

I stayed an extra day in Christchurch to rest--and I still rode nearly 20km, just around town. Most of it was an unsuccessful attempt to find the Riccarton Sunday market. I found Riccarton on the map as just past the park where the Botanical garden is. I rode out to what I thought was Riccarton and asked for directions. The guy said to go about 2km to a big roundabout and turn right. I went about 4 without finding one and realized that the wind was directly at my back so I turned around and headed back.

As I cut across the park, I ran into an Edwardian Fair, complete with a large exhibit of early automobiles and even some motorcycles. There were two motorcycles with wicker sidecars. I arrived just in time for the final parade of highwheeler bicycles and the cars, with all of the occupants dressed in period costume.

On my way out of town, I also went by the Art Center in the old college buildings just before the Botanic Garden. It was quite crowded, since they have a crafts fair there, and also had free outdoor music performances today.

I moved from the Foley Towers to the Old Countryhouse, which is further out from the center. It is much smaller and less hectic. It seems to have been completely remodeled in the past couple of years and has a well equipped kitchen, nice new showers and comfortable beds, a real improvement of over most I've been to. The only thing it doesn't have is any way to allow me to connect my computer, so I don't know when this will get out. It only has a coin-operated Internet station and a pay phone with no data port.

The Old Countryhouse Particulars

Unless it rains, I will head on towards Dunedin tomorrow. I will try to make it to Rakaia, the next town where I know there is somewhere to stay. It is 58km from Christchurch. It is on the other side of the Rakaia River, which is very wide. The bridge across it is supposedly 2km long. I hope it's not to windy.

Christchurch seems to be a place where people are either beginning or ending their travels. Virtually everyone I've talked to in the hostels, the last two days, is either waiting to fly out, usually to Australia, or just got here and are trying to buy cars to travel. There is evidently a large market in very used cars that go from traveler to traveler, usually in the 800 to 2000 dollar(NZ) range. You can tell the car travelers, they come into the hostel with hampers, and sometimes coolers of food.

The guests at this hostel seem to be somewhat older than the bigger ones that attract the busses full of backpackers. There seem to a large number of 30+ couples and there is even a fellow from Germany who is older than me, who is traveling around the world (In somewhat of a hurry, being that he has allotted 7 days to New Zealand).

Updated: 20 March 2002