Feb. 25 - Arrival In Christchurch

So, I'm here. I got a shuttle from the airport, and sat up front with Debbie, the driver, trying to absorb some driving tips and rules. For instance, EVERYONE'S DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE! Sorry. No, actually, for instance, you can't make a left turn on a red light. AND EVERYONE'S DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE!

I arrive at the hotel at 9:00 a.m., and am told that I can't check in yet - they were full last night and rooms will not be available until 12:00. They take my bags, give me a tourist map, and I struggle back into my knapsack and lumber off downtown.

I am headed for Cathedral Square, but I take a wrong turn and head east into the Botanical Gardens and park. I wander along the "river" (stream) for 20 minutes or so, and finally collapse on a bench in the shade and contemplate the ducks. If you've been on planes for 17 hours, in transit for 25, and then sent out for a walk with no shower, I heartily recommend sitting in the shade, near a stream, contemplating the ducks.

After contemplating a duck willing to walk 100 yards from the water, in case I had food, I leave the park and go through the Art Gallery and Cathedral Museum. The museum has an exhibition of hand weapons through out the ages - just for me!

I wander by the Art Center, along the tramway, and then north again through a floral exhibit and competition, surrounded by children in school-type groups. It's now noon, so I head back to the hotel.

I get checked in, and have the best shower of my life. I try desperately to stay awake, but finally have to nap for an hour. Hey - guess what? There's very few places to eat between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. Found a fish and chip place, finally. Excellent. I work on the page for the 23rd. I then try to upload the page. After a couple of false starts, I finally read and follow the instructions provided, and connect with no problem. Thank you IPass.

I go out again, and this time tour the touristy Cathedral Square. Very nice architecture - even the street kids are friendly and polite. In a fit of tiredness, I drop my camera - although a couple of unimportant bits fly off, it all seems to be working. I have a very nice meal at the hotel restaurant, and am asleep before I get back to the room.