Sunday, April 6, 2008

First night in New Zealand at the Jail House

Promised pictures from the Jail House.

We didn't stay in Christchurch very long. After leaving the airport for our hotel at 5:00PM, the plan was to drive to Queenstown the following morning. More specifically, the plan was to figure out the plan as we went along. The only problem is that the same red flag kept rearing its ugly face. Most people we talked to had been, or were staying for over a month. When I mentioned my 12 days, the next question was always, "Oh, so which island are you visiting? And what area?" followed by a surprised, "well good luck with that..." response to our plan to see it all.

Randomly wandering into a tour place late at night may have been our saving grace. Who would have guessed that tours book in advance? That we might not be able to get a cheap motel room on the weekend on the spot? That the auto ferry that we depended on needed booked tickets that sell out and get more expensive? Or that the numbered highways on the maps whose distance in kilometers weren't great, but will take many hours since they're windy and only run one lane in each direction? So Åda, our booking agent from Sweden, helped us come up with a plan and reservations.

Most of the places were closed so our bookings had to be done in the morning. Here are a few pictures from a central area in Christchurch near Åda's office. It would have been a great place to hang out for a few days.

It's unfortunate that our awesome scenic drive has been watered down to a collage of thumbnails. But I suspect that scenery pictures will only get better with our trip and those photos will be better viewed in a web album. The blue lakes look amazing - due to the rock base instead of soil. New Zealand was formed as a volcano, not broken off of Australia (thanks, Kelly). That hill picture had a rainbow projected on the side of the hill - first time I've seen anything like it. We drove through a flat region at first, then hills through a varied landscape.

I thought "Fish & Chips Chinese Takeaways" sounded great for lunch. Austin decided that it looked like cafeteria food. So after rejecting my first idea of a sit down restaurant on the basis of it taking too long, we ended up a different one. My award winning lamb curry was excellent as were his fish and chips.

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