Monday, October 6, 2014

Kiwi life!

Escaping life continues, now in totally different part of the world. We are in amazing New Zealand. 

A country where in October we are heading towards summer, the moon is upside down and the sun crosses the sky through north, meaning from right to left. Weird world!

A month has passed since we arrived here and we have learned many things.

We wanted to come to Christchurch because it's the biggest city in South Island and fairly close to the Southern Alps. With population less than 400 000 it sounded small enough not to shock us too badly but big enough to offer job opportunities. 

So we moved in, found a job, a place to stay and a car to drive around. We've felt the international ambiance of the country by meeting lots of great people from all over the world.

One significant feature of Christchurch is of course the traces of the earthquakes that shook the city in 2010 and 2011. The destruction is still very visible, both in the city centre and in the residential area that are now called the red zones. In the centre it means plenty of construction work all over the place. Actually it feels like there's no centre at all. 

In the residential area the houses are abandoned and left to decay because it is not safe to live there anymore. Eventually everything will be taken apart but the work is slow and now the area is just combination of sad buildings and scary ambiance. People are planning their everyday chores keeping a possible earthquake in mind. Babies can't lie on the floor next to a bookshelf and wine bottles can't be left on the counters.

Otherwise Christchurch is a pretty place to be in. Beaches and hills are not too far.


The weather here is getting warmer little by little but the nights are still pretty chilly. We've had a few rough storms with 100 km/h wind gusts and rain like we've never seen before. Since climate is pretty moist the air feels colder than it is, especially inside the houses that aren't insulated or equipped with very good heating systems. It basically means steam coming out of your mouth when coming out from a shower and it makes it impossible to dry clothes inside. It's just too moist. But at the same time neighbourhoods are pretty, usually decorated with huge rose or even lemon trees. 

And it's only spring. Can't wait to see everything in its full blossom in summer time.


We have spent plenty of time walking on the streets and avenues of the city and suburbs and thought many times we should have purchased a better health insurance. Of course the first confusion was caused by the left-sided traffic that totally messed our heads about whether to look left or right when crossing a street. We took a habit of watching both ways at least three times which of course makes it slower to get to a destination but at this point we can't trust our instinct about right directions at all. 

Unfortunately being this careful doesn't help much since the drivers of New Zealand are, to put it nicely, insane. The simple rule is Nobody Yields Pedestrians or Cyclists. Nobody even slows down when you are about to cross a street. So you're on your own. It makes is very exciting to run and bike to work. You're just happy you survived another deathtrap.


If you're coming to New Zealand thinking it will be easy since it's an English speaking country, you are sadly mistaken. The Kiwi English has little common with normal English. Tents are tints, pens are pins and vice versa, chairs are cheers and decks are, well, dicks. It makes it challenging to work as a outdoor gear retailer when you have no idea what the customer wants. Especially if they try to tell you over the phone. It is a very humbling feeling when you come to a country thinking language won't be one of the things you need to worry about, and then having a customer who's willing to buy, to your understanding, license for boats. It takes only five minutes, many "sorries" and "excuse mes" and finally two helpful co-workers to clear things up and get the man what he needs: laces for boots. 

What to do and see?

We've been working pretty full weeks since we only have little time left in Christchurch, so we have had only few opportunities to go out and explore. But we've already seen baby seals in Ohau Point, drove to cute small town called Akaroa and enjoyed the curvy mountain roads and visited a few beaches. 

 On the way to Taylor's Mistake Beach

 A sheep herder on Akaroa Road

 Ohau Point Stream and baby seals resting at the shore

Beach on the way to Kaikoura

Inland Kaikoura Road and millions of sheep

Add a couple of All Blacks rugby games to that list and we are basically Kiwis. 

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