Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mt Cook to Christchurch (Sort of).

Alright, I am absolutely no condition to post right now, but I am doing so to reassure myself and others that I am not dead; I have indeed made it from Mt Cook to Christchurch. The problem? Today a lot of people were either leaving the bus (having completed their Stray pass), or hopping off the bus, so we had something of a goodbye party for everyone down in the bar tonight. My specific problem: I had six drinks (four rum & cokes, one gin & tonic, and one jaggerbomb), which is more than I have ever had in my life in one sitting, and I am extremely out of it right now... I think the best thing for me would be just to go to bed. (Damn drink deals; I went down with $20 in my pocket, and I still have $5 left...).

Thankfully, we didn't do anything terribly exciting today; just drove from Mt Cook to Christchurch. Nevertheless, I will try to post the details tomorrow when hopefully I don't feel nearly as nauseated and like passing out on the floor.

The best thing for me to do right now would be sleep (I have to be on the bus at 7:45am tomorrow, ugh!) so I am off to bed. Night!



Okay. It is now 7:35am Friday morning, and while I am still not in the best of shape (sleep deprivation, what else is new) I can chronicle yesterday's events a bit more fully.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 7am (sigh, so much for sleeping in) and I went to watch the 3D Movie that was part of my Mt Cook Lodge package; it was called "Mt Cook Magic" and screens specially at the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre in the Hermitage. While it wasn't really my style (I thought it was going to be some sort of documentary, how silly of me), with minimal talking because it is trying to appeal to international audiences, the film had a superb animation of the Maori legend of how Mt Cook came to be, and then featured many shots of flying over and around the Southern Alps, and examples of the various activities done on the mountain (mountaineering, ice climbing, hellisking).

Hermitage Valley in the early morning

Sir Edmund Hilary gazes at Mt Cook, where
he practised for his ascent of Mt. Everest

The film over, I took a brief look around the museum portion of the Alpine Centre, then made my way back to the hostel to load my bags onto the bus. And then at 10:00 we were off!

Say hello to Aoraki/Mt Cook (centre)!

The beautiful Hermitage Valley

A vintage ad for the Hermitage

We stopped at Lake Pukaki again for a photo opportunity, which wasn't nearly as nice due to the cloudy skies interfering with the stunning blueness of the lake we were lucky enough to photograph yesterday; in fact, we were extremely lucky for the weather we managed to have while at Mt Cook National Park, as it was sunny and bright, with not a cloud in the sky (Mt Cook, normally shrouded in cloud, was fully visible).

Lake Pukaki

Sometimes, inexplicably, the best photos are taken
from inside a moving bus through the glass.

Our next stop was in Tekapo, where we photographed The Church of the Good Shepherd, a stone church built in 1935 on the shores of Lake Tekapo; it's said to be one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand, and I can see why... its quaint architecture, beautiful pews and altar, and absolutely stunning views of the lake out its windows.

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Beauty of faith, or faith and beauty?

The back of the church

The church's waterfront view of Lake Tekapo

When we arrived a wedding had just taken place; there were rose petals strewn on the ground to the right of the church, and the bride and groom were down amongst the purple and pink lupen by the lakeshore, having their photographs taken.

Apparently this is a hugely popular location
for Asian weddings

Grenadine was our lunch stop, where I had my first sushi in two months (it wasn't really that good, sigh), and then later on we had a fuel stop in Rakia, and the public toilets were located in a playground, so of course I couldn't resist swinging around and hanging upside down on the monkey bars like I was twelve years old.


An interesting variation on the ubiquitous sheep transporter
trucks that can be found on roads all over this country

Then it was on to Christchurch! Seeing as I have been here before I wasn't terribly excited, but I was a little apprehensive to be staying at Base (thankfully, it wasn't as bad as the ones in Auckland or Wellington), and a little sad, because a lot of people from the bus are leaving us, either finishing their trip in Christchurch, or hopping off here for a few days. As such, we went out last night to celebrate and say goodbye, and you all know what happened after that...! Suffice it to say I will be taking it easy today, simply relaxing on the beach at Kaikoura rather than risking getting seasick whalewatching or something (come to think of it, I can whale-watch in Victoria! Why does one never play tourist in one's own neighbourhood?).

Base Christchurch

The lift in Base Christchurch. If you don't
close the wire cage mesh upon exiting, it
beeps angrily (and annoyingly) until
someone runs over and shuts it properly.

Christchurch undergoing repairs from
the September earthquake

The bus is leaving soon, so I will post this before my wifi internet connection dissapears as we drive out of range! Bye!

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