One 11 hour flight later, I landed in Christchurch, New Zealand around 5 PM. It feels good to be in a country where I can speak the language and read everything again. My shuttle driver informed me that Christchurch would be crazy the following night for St. Patrick’s Day and I’m tempted to stay another night. However I’ve been city hopping the entire trip and was really looking forward to being able to see the stars again. I stayed in the Jailhouse Hostel, the only hostel I’m planning to stay in this trip. Although Air BnBs have proved the cheapest way to go for a private room(when I’m not camping), hostels are a lot of fun to stay at and a good way to meet people. I shared my room with a girl from San Diego who’s been in New Zealand for two and a half months and is planning to spend the year here. I hit a local pub for some live music, a beer and a big of bowl of potatoes before working on some music and crashing.
The next day I made my way back to the airport after grabbing breakfast at a local coffee co-op with my temporary roommate. I still needed to buy fuel for my stove, some groceries, and a SIM card, pick up the rental car, and turn in my homework before I can leave town. It all takes way longer than I thought it would and it’s almost five by the time I leave Christchurch. I had promised myself I wouldn’t drive at night so I wouldn’t miss out on the gorgeous scenery, and there I was breaking that promise on the first day. Luckily, it didn’t get dark until after eight so I was able to catch some of the rolling green hills and crystal blue water I had seen from the airplane.
My car is a Japanese car and it took me a long time to figure out just how to play the radio, so I drive with one headphone in which is actually legal here. Driving on the left is weird, but it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be. The hardest places to drive I find are parking lots where there’s no lines separating the sides. I do catch myself driving on the wrong side once after a right turn, but I correct myself pretty quickly. By the time I made it Tapeko, it was pitch black so I took the opportunity to practice some night time photography. With no rain in the forecast, I decide to leave my rainfly off and brave the cold to get a full view of the stars tonight.
For some reason, I’m getting more embarrassed here about my lack of knowledge than I did in China or Japan. In a drive thru at KFC, I asked the cashier for french fries instead of chips… which are the same things. At the gas station I asked the attendant if they didn’t have 1 cent coins here and he looked at me like I was dumb. Maybe now that I’m free to ask whatever questions I want with no language barrier, I’m just destined to make a fool of myself.