March 28th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Kirsten, Andy, Malisse, Chris – a tickling session, I think, in which I am attempting to assist Andy.

Took our farewells of Steve this morning – I’ve grown to like him a lot over the past few days – he is very definitely one of the people I would like to see again.  Then the 3 of us drove into Christchurch.  I’ve been predisposed towards the place ever since I read about it, + my first impressions confirmed that sentiment.  We drove straight to the centre, Andy collected his mail, + we had coffee.  Then, just as we were about to leave, Andy spotted Kirsten’s van, + we shot up + parked next to them just as they were finalising the sale of it.  Talk about whoops of surprise + delight.  Not only had they relieved themselves of the van, not only had they made a healthy profit on the deal, but young (34 years young) Andrew had appeared out of the blue as if by magic.  The girls, Kirsten + Malisse, were both very excited, so we all went to a favourite coffee shop, where they treated us to coffee, salad, + cake – we could all unwind.  Kirsten also mentioned a folk festival over Easter weekend, which appealed to us, + possibly altered plans for an almost immediate departure down to Fjordland.  However, that was for the future.

For the present, we drove Kirsten back to her camp ground, + then drove out to Lyttelton, Christchurch’s port.  It was good, tho’ even better was the drive over to Sumnor.  The wind was fierce + wicked, + we sat in the car watching an immensely skilled windsurfer battle against what seemed to be an impossible wind. 

Drove back to Christchurch, out to the campground, + tho’  neither Kirsten nor Malisse were there, we fixed a sandwich,+ I rang John + Pat, the contacts we’d made while in Tongariro.  Fortunately, all was well, + we were invited to stay… as we had hoped + expected.  Andy dropped us round, + this time it was his turn to watch us read mail.  Our passports had arrived with Australian visas – excellent.  Gill from Fullers had written to say we had to pay more money for our air ticket – not excellent.  Otherwise, application forms for IRD nos, + a letter from my mum, tho’ not Val’s.  Odd.  Said we’d see Andy tomorrow, + spent the evening with John + Pat.  They share a huge house with 4 others – all of us ate together, after which J + P took us on a drive around the night sights of the city, both from within + without – we drove up onto the hills above the city, + with the clear night had a lovely view.  J + P are very kind, but not our sort of people at all.

Slight plot-spoiler – this was not the “end” of Steve, lest you think I am ignoring him. But good to re-connect with the girls, all the more so since it was unexpected. And the opportunity to receive mail was always a red-letter day. Otherwise, we are moving inexorably towards our departure from New Zealand, as evidenced by talk of air-tickets etc. This will be our first commercial flight since we left, so not at all a bad effort. And (very mildly) better for the planet too, though we didn’t know this at the time, and our avoidance of flying was cultural and financial rather than ecological.

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