Dunedin being rather sleepy and dead, I naturally headed off to Christchurch the next morning. Hitching wasn’t quite as fast this go around, though I was at a decent spot, the rain deterred most from picking me up (and unbeknowst to me most travelers would be on the other end of the road). I finally caught a ride after a few hours with a rugby player originally from Tonga with one of those beautiful stories of coming to NZ on travel, finding a job with a rugby team, falling in love, getting married and having his first child, applying to the police force in Oamaru now at only twenty five. I felt very amused when he assumed me to be a Native American – perhaps from a solidarity standpoint, as we talked long on the oneness of the peoples from America, Hawai’i, Polynesia, New Zealand… He took me on a detour to the Moeraki boulders, oddly round things on a very muddy beach. On a mini exploration up the hill he took a big spill down into the mud. His character showed as he burst into laughter halfway down. Not miffed at all. Quite the antithesis of what I expected form a professional sportsman.
He dropped me off at the end of Oamaru at a perfect spot just where cars began to pick up to highway speed with a huge extended pullout, a bit past where he lived with his wife. Such a spot yielded a ride almost instantly, with a young man, John, heading all the way to Christchurch. Almost a carbon copy of my interests we spoke on music, rockclimbing, IT, hiking, and travel all the way. He even dropped me off in Riccarton, where I’d contacted a surfer for my initial attempt to go to Christchurch. I just knocked on the door (my host to be was in Zurich and had told me to just show up) and voila! All well. Peter and I got some souvlaki later and I finally got access to a computer (his laptop) after many days without any access.
What with the CBD still roped off (though the state of emergency was declared lifted on my first day there) and the dismal grey weather that’d followed me, I didn’t bother bringing my guitar on my walk about Riccarton. Maybe I should have done, as I found a beautiful buskable street right by the Westfield Mall. On heading back to retrieve it, however, I noted that the shops would all close in thirty minutes, at five thirty. I’m continually surprised at how early shops close in this hemisphere, though with over a month in it I should be used to it. In Gainesville, even, places don’t close ’til nine!
We ate a freshly roasted goat chunk with our burritos and then I assuaged some of my loneliness on Peter’s flatmate Alex with photos of climbing, and more demonstration of technique on the various furniture. How I miss rock!