I’m on another 2 month stint of travelling. Since returning from The Philippines and my last 2 month adventure, I’ve been planning and deciding what to do next as my visa runs out in November. I couldn’t stay any longer as I didn’t do the farm work but it was time to move on. However, I didn’t realise how emotional it would be in the run up to leaving. A year is a long time in one place, making friends, working and settling there.
After packing my room up during the day, doing some last minute organisation and saying my final farewells, I did my last walk to Central to catch a train then bus to the airport. It was usch a good decision to take an evening flight.
I checked in with jet Star with my bag being 16.5kg (a little over the limit but I didn’t have to pay extra. I went through immigration and security before sitting at my gate, waiting to board the plane. The previous aeroplane was late landed, consequently, we board the plane later than the scheduled time. However, the pilot caught up with the time in the air. On the ground, the pilot was driving fast and turning abruptly, which made me slightly scared. Even in the air, he was a rough driver, again spinning the plane quickly. The 3 hour flight flew by in no time and landed in Christchurch at about 1am in the morning.
Once I was through customs (another stamp in the passport) and security, I picked up my bag from the conveyor belt. In the airport, I exchanged some money, which was not a good idea as the exchange rate plus fee was terrible. Then outside I found a shuttle which would take me to my hostel door in the centre of Christchurch. By the time I arrived there it was late but my body was 2 hours before New Zealand time. I checked-in and rested for the night.
The next day, I had to be out by 10am, which doesn’t seem early apart from my body was still in Sydney time zone. I had a relaxed morning sorting out my visa and superannuation, skyping my mum and eating some food.
The reason I flew into Christchurch was to surprise my friend, which I lived with in Thailand, for her 21st birthday party. She had no idea I was coming. Mid-afternoon, her sister picked me up from the hotel to take me to her work place where the party was being held. Along the way, we collected some pre-ordered balloons for the celebration which took forever as they weren’t ready.
At this warehouse, I opened the door and her face was a picture. She was in total shock. She didn’t know what to say. It was so great to see her.
From here, we went back to her house to get ready for the evening antics. We drove to the place earlier than the party started to make sure everything was set up: balloons, food, drinks, music, TV screen with flashing photos. Most of the night consisted of drinking, dancing, chatting, playing pool and eating. It was such a lovely party which ended early hours of the morning. For New Zealanders 21st, it is a big thing where friends and family gave speeches with an email being read out from our friends from Thailand.
Slowly and delicately, we arose with our heads feeling a little worse for wear. I, however, wasn’t as bad as the others who were vomiting. Eventually, we pulled ourselves out of bed to get some fatty food. Yes, that means Maccers. Then we headed to my friend’s work for her to open her presents and help with some of the clearing up. For the rest of the afternoon, we really didn’t do much except talk and nap.
In the evening, we decided to get all dolled up again and have another night on the town, mainly because my friend’s sister doesn’t go out much and wanted to try out an RnB club. After a couple of glasses of red in the house, we took a ride to the club. At first, it was slightly dead but it soon picked up, where the music was actually pretty good. Most of the night, we just danced plus larger Samoen guy joined our group, which was fun. Mostly in the club, there were guys trying to get with girls, which was amusing.
At about 3 in the morning, we left the club and stopped off at Maccers (AGAIN!) before sleeping back at my friend’s.
With a little lie in, we immersed from our beds to get ready for the day ahead. We hopped in the car and drove to the centre of Christchurch, where we got a tram ticket to go around the city. Christchurch is a small city with not too much there due to the earthquake 6 years earlier. There are still buildings including the cathedral which are damaged with scaffolding. However, they have managed to rebuild a lot of the infrastructure.
First stop off the tram was the casino, where we decided to explore. It had a roulette wheel on the top of the building. Inside was fancy with slot machines and different table games. The girls wanted to try the roulette so the lovely lady explained the rules and etiquettes of the game. Placing a chip on a number, the host spun the wheel with the ball zooming until it landed on a number. It dropped on 1, the number my friend had put a chip on. She won $70! She was so excited. They played a couple more games before cashing in the chips.
Next, we wandered around town where there were many impressive art sculptures and graffiti features. For lunch we ate at a recommended place called C!, which was crowded. It was a unique café, where there were sewing machines as water dispensers, hot chocolate served in Ice-cream cones and tubes on the ceiling. These pipes were to deliver fries to different areas so I ordered some to see how it worked. It was so cool. They had my name on in a medal twisty tube filled with chips. Alongside the food, I had one of the best soy chai latte I’ve had ever had.
After, we walked to the Re:Start mall, which are a variety of shops in large containers that was set up when the earthquake happened as the city had so much damage. It was worth looking around. We jumped on another tram, taking us around the city and back to where we had parked our car.
We cruised to the outskirts of the town up a mountain to The Sign of the Kiwi. On one side was a view of the city stretching for miles and miles. My friend thought it would be hilarious to get a shot of them mooning with the city backdrop. On the other side was a magnificent view of colourful hills with water surrounding it. We hiked higher up the mountain for an even better view to have a photoshoot.
Later, we chilled at the house before going to the airport to wave my friend’s sister off to go back to Melbourne. The whole family gathered in the pub to enjoy the last hour with them. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when we left as one of the family members lost her carpark ticket. In the end she had it in her hand but when she went to pay, her ticket was faulty. Eventually we escaped the airport and dropped into a Mexican place to have dinner.
By the time we entered the house, we were knackered so we headed to the bedroom, where one of the girls started have a laughing fit. In a lovely, comfy double bed, I fell asleep in no time.
The other girl was leaving for the airport at 4.30 in the morning but luckily for me I had a bit of a lie-in as I wasn’t being picked up until 9.30 from the international airport. Once I had gathered all my belongings, threw some coffee and toast down my throat, I was ready to leave.