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New Zealand Trip Report

Day 11 of 24

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Monday, March 11th

After a room service breakfast, we drove over to Worcester Street to do some shopping. We shopped for sheepskin rugs, mainly. New Zealand's the place to do it. We also walked over to the visitor's center, where I found a map of Arthur's Pass (our next stop).

We walked over to the Christchurch Arts Centre. There are lots of little arts and crafts stores here and we spent some time looking at woodwork and greenstone necklaces. We went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. A tour group was just leaving, and we were one of the only ones left in the restaurant. The food was pretty good, but the service was a bit slow at times, especially considering the fact that they weren't very busy.

We went back to the hotel where I quickly checked the Internet to find out the NCAA men's basketball pairings. Then we drove off to Akaroa, on the Banks Peninsula. The drive starts out flat, then starts winding up through the green hills. We had great views, but it was very cloudy and misty. Once over the summit, we had great views of the water below. We arrived in Akaroa in a little over an hour from Christchurch.

Foggy hills on the way to Akaroa


Further along the road toward Akaroa

Akaroa was originally settled by the French, and it still tries to maintain some of its French character. Many of the streets are signed as "Rue" instead of "Street". Most of the guide books seem to rave about Akaroa, but there's really not much here if you don't intend on going out on the water. There's not much in the way of shopping -- just a handful of gift shops. If you want to hike the Banks Peninsula Track, you'll have to pay money, as it's on private property. It didn't help that we arrived on an overcast day. I can imagine that when the sun's out, the scenery must be better, though. And there are cruises out on the water to see dolphins. Unfortunately we didn't have time for that. Akaroa also apparently has a lot of historic buildings, but I'm not really into that.

Rue Lavaud street sign in Akaroa


Warning: the pigeons around here, probably trained by years of being fed by humans, are very aggressive. More so than your average pigeon. They swarm and nearly brushed up against me as I walked to the car. If you have any food, you'll be sure to be followed by them.

Akaroa pier

We drove back to Christchurch as the sun finally came out. We discussed the issue of why, when we eat chicken we call it chicken (and we call salmon what it is), but when we eat cow we call it beef, and when we eat sheep we call it lamb. My general statement was that fish or poultry is called by the same name, but four-legged mammals are referred to by a different name. The only exception we could think of was kangaroo. Oh by the way, I just found an interesting entry for beef on Look it up -- has something to do with French nobles ruling England and how that explains why we have "cow" and "beef".

As we were heading back, we were following a light truck. It took me several kilometers, but I suddenly realized that the back of the truck was crammed with sheep. Not "lamb," hopefully. Anyway, we drove back to the city and onto Cashel Street to possibly do some more shopping. Unfortunately all the stores had closed by around 5:30pm. We ate dinner at a Korean BBQ place and then went back to the hotel to do laundry.

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