Christchurch once more

I arrived yesterday from Sydney at around 2pm. And I didn’t get through to meet Rob in the arrivals area till almost 3pm as I was “randomly” selected to have my luggage gone through by a very pleasant (no sarcasm, he was) customs official.

Apparently it was to check for drugs and stuff as I’d been to Thailand on my travels. My issue is that although I have been there, it was in March. Since then I’ve been to Vietnam, into New Zealand once, back into Vietnam and then through Singapore (where I’d have been given the death sentence for carrying anything dodgy if I was stupid enough to do so), then Oz where my luggage was checked with typical Oz-style thoroughness before going back into NZ. So let’s face it – given the timescale, had I bought any drugs I’m sure I’d have used the damn things in that length of time.

Anyway, as I said, the guy was pleasant enough and he didn’t even bat an eyelid at the three bags of piratebackup DVDs I’d purchased in Vietnam. In fact, he at first thought they were bags of photos I’d been taking on my trip!

So bags once more packed, I wandered through to be greeted by Rob who’d waited patiently – along with my ATM cards which had arrived that morning. YAY!

We stopped for some shopping on the way home and had barbequeued burgers for lunch. By this time I was famished and the food was very welcome. And rather delicious. We sat and watched Dodgeball which was still fun the second time around, killed a few (actually a lot) zombies in a game demo and then Rob went to collect Pam from the airport as she’d been up in Auckland for a work conference.

Tea was had and beds gone to.

The best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks, and to top it all I had two cats on the bed for most of it. I miss having cats snuffling under my arms when I’m snoozing!

In the morning, Rob and I decided to go to the QEII leisure park and partake of the water slides. And swim. Because swimming is healthy. But mainly for the water slides. This turned out to be a really good idea. The leisure centre is superb with a semi-sunk ship with slides in it for the under-8’s, wave pool, circular pool with a “current” pushing you round, 25m pool, 50m pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath and five water slides (two of which you zoom down on rubber rings). All this for NZ$16 per person. Just a swim is only NZ$5. As it was a Saturday, the place was heaving but nicely so. The queues for the slides weren’t more than a minute or so and the larger pools were fairly empty.

After we towelled off, we drove round the corner to… mini golf! Rob had located four in Christchurch I’d not already been to and one was right next to the pool.

I won. But only by three strokes. Quite a nice course with some entertaining scenery, based on a “lost world” scenario. Two statues in particular really make things great, both squirting water. One of them jets a stream over one of the bridges you have to cross, so if it’s windy you could be in for a soaking!

Afterwards, we drove back to the house and checked the weather for Sunday… and decided that snowboarding was a no-go due to rain and fast winds. Ah, well.

It did turn out, the following morning, that the slopes were open but by then we’d have been pretty short on time. Mt Hutt is two hours away, I hadn’t packed and my bus for Invercargill departed Christchurch at 17:30.

So after batting ideas around for a while, we had lunch and Rob handed me the X-Box360 controller and I spent 4 hours playing Elder Scrolls IV; Pam painted, pastelled and in other ways was arty; Rob did internetty things; the cats chased wasps, dug holes in plantpots and – on the whole – were just cute.

In all, everything a Sunday should be. Utterly chilled out and relaxing.

My hosts gave me a lift into town for my bus around 5pm, even arming me with some supplies for the journey – one of Pam’s triple chocolate muffins. Like Elven bread, one piece of muffin is enough to keep anyone going for hours! If bigamy were allowed in New Zealand, I’d marry Pam purely for her baking!

Again, a “thank you” to the five of you (Pam, Rob, Merlin, Amber and little Mogglet) for two cracking nights’ sleep and a chance to wind down after all the travelling – and rest up for the next lot!

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