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<-- my life, by webgoddesscathy -->

:: Saturday, January 24, 2004 ::
Here I am in Dunedin, just south of Christchurch.

It's a lovely little city! Lots of beautiful old buildings. There's a bicycle race going on in the centre right now. And a canon-shot ringing out right beside us reminded us that it's Robbie Burns Day today. Lots of Scots living here, I guess. Hence, the name.

We're staying at Manor House Backpackers, in our tent. At least it's attached to a hostel so we have access to all of their facilities.

Last night, we stayed in Oamaru, in the Top 10 Holiday Park where there was a kitchen and bathroom. But it was pretty basic. We realized we aren't really equipped for that. We decided at the last minute to stay there, due to the blue-eyed fairy penguins and the yellow-eyed penguins. We saw BOTH! It was very exciting for me. Especially when one of the fairy penguins scuttled out from under the car when we went to get in. Cute!

We also saw the Moeraki Boulders. And this morning, we saw lots of seals at Shag Point.

AND I got to DRIVE!! I drove all the way from Timaru to Oamaru! I'm wondering if driving is the best way to get around. Although if I look at the Magic Bus, doing the same trip, it's probably the same price. But I wouldn't be able to stop wherever I wanted. But it might be less fuss...

Doesn't matter. This is good too. And I DROVE on the left side of the road! Come on, am I the coolest or what?!

Sad part: Jaap just told me he snores. So, either my earplugs last night were really good, or he slept on his side all night. Friggen him. If he snores, I'm punching him in the face.

Finally, tomorrow morning, we're driving the scenic route south, through the Catlins on the way to Te Anau. The next day, we'll do our cruise of Milford Sound. This is supposed to be one of the best things to do in NZ! Can't wait!

:: Cathy 5:46 PM [+] :: 0 comments

:: Thursday, January 22, 2004 ::
Poor Jaap's car is feeling a little under the weather. It's going in for a little check-up. On the wiring.
First, he was mad about that.

Then, he lost his car keys. Then he was upset, thinking someone might steal the car. I didn't think that was a big deal, since they wouldn't get very far when the car dies every few kilometres.

Then, this morning, he sends me an email, I read it, then delete it. I think he was more upset about me deleting his email than anything else. He was very proud of the email.

All that means is we're here in Christchurch for another day. Which is fine with me. I like it here. It's pretty. Very European. And the Busker Festival is fun. We went to the Busker Comedy Club last night again and saw the Canadians, Acromaniacs. They were very good. But I think that the Japanese Gamarjobats stole the show.

I also managed to make it to the Christchurch Art Gallery, do two of the city walks and have a sinfully delicious chocolate treat at the Copenhagen Bakery, recommended to me by an old, old friend, Rachael.

Today, Jaap and I will go to the Museum and to the Botanical Gardens while we wait for the guy from the garage to call us about the car.

Had to check out of the lovely Stonehurst hostel and back into Charlie B's for tonight, as Stonehurst was full. Sad. But I suppose it's just a place to sleep, so I shouldn't be so picky. But sometimes it's just nice to be comfortable.

Actually, I'm kind of happy about the extra day here. I was able to get my haircut this morning, where I met a woman from Reno, Nevada, who's living here now with her husband who's job puts him somewhere different all the time. Her daughter is a hairdresser in Toronto. And I also met a man from Vancouver this morning who's hiked almost all of New Zealand and gave me a lot of good suggestions on what I shouldn't miss.

I'm happily starting to get my travel legs back.
Still miss Melbourne, though.

:: Cathy 2:39 PM [+] :: 0 comments

:: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 ::
So, do you want the good news or the bad news?

Bad news: just found out that Dave won't be arriving in Perth until March 19th. I leave Perth to go to Sydney (in order to get home in time) on March 20th. I'm pretty sad, but life goes on. At least I'll see him for a day...

Good news: Jaap is in Christchurch! We met up yesterday evening (were staying in the same hostel yesterday, but I moved to a better one this morning) and got caught up on our travels and then went to the Busker Comedy Club at the Arts Centre for an evening of truely amazing and bizarre entertainment. Excellent.

Jaap wanted to buy a tent, so I'd noted a few from notice boards. We bought one from some English girls for $50 (a 3-man, barely used tent with 2 ground mats included). I figured that, even if I'd rather NOT sleep in a tent, it might be a good idea to have one. I'll try it out at least and it's only $25/ea plus campground fee (usually $10). So, even if I decide it's too cold for sleeping outside, it won't have cost me much.

Today I'm going to check out some of the many art galleries in the city. Will try to get a haircut too. Really need one before we leave the city tomorrow and head south.

Only 17-degrees in Christchurch today. But nice enough to wear my nice black skirt and my cute black top that I bought at the Myer Stock-Take Sale in Melbourne. So I don't have to look like a traveller today.

:: Cathy 1:43 PM [+] :: 0 comments

:: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 ::
Wow, things turn around quickly for me!

First, I walked into the map store across the road from the last Internet Lounge and found a Let's Go, New Zealand second-hand for pretty cheap. Bought it.

Check. Have an NZ travel book.

Next, a quick walk to my hostel to check it out, grab some food, use the toilets. Discovered that it's not the nicest hostel. Friendly, busy, but shared-sex bathrooms and not many at that. Don't really wanna stay there long. So I looked around at some other hostels. Got a bed tomorrow night at Stonehurst which is supposed to be much nicer. I figure that I don't wanna stay in a dump, even if it is cheaper.

Check. Have a nice place to stay.

I was in the middle of looking for a hostel when a car pulls over and this guy yells out to me. Ohmygosh, it's Bo! We met on our Fraser Island trip. So I've got his number now and we'll get together at some stage to catch up. Yay, I like knowing people!

Check. Have a friend.

Then I went and watched The Stretch People at Cathedral Square. Very funny.

Check. Did something fun.

From there, I discovered a great place that specializes in phone cards and mobiles for travellers. I GOT MYSELF A NEW ZEALAND PHONE NUMBER! Vodafone offers a $40 SIM card that includes $5 credit and an additional $10 of credit after you fill out a questionnaire. It's a bit expensive to use, but at least I can receive a phone call now. Yay!

Check. Have a phone.

Finally, I found a great little Internet Cafe down this little alley that offers web access at $3/hr (standard) but an extra 15 mins free with purchase.

Check, check. Have Internet, have coffee.

Too bad that the coffee is not as good as The Daily Grind. Ah well.

At least I'm happy.
At least I'm feeling like I know what the hell I'm doing here.

Thanks to all the lovely people who wrote me nice emails and kept me from feeling too lonely here. It is much appreciated.

:: Cathy 5:11 PM [+] :: 0 comments

Have changed hostels. Yay. Not sure it it's good yet, as it was too early to actually check into the place. I just stored my bags there and headed out to alert Jaap via email that I'd changed hostels, incase he'd arrived in Christchurch and went looking for me at the old place.

Well, no need to worry.
He's no where near Christchurch. Or maybe a little near, but his car has broken down somewhere and he has to get it fixed. Which means I'll be here for a while.

Which is fine, I suppose. It'll give me some time to get settled, get organized, see the city, take in some of the Busker Festival, etc.

I suck. Here I am in exotic, beautiful New Zealand and all I can think about are family and friends elsewhere in the world and how I'd rather be there, with them. Seriously, must shake this off. It is always like this when I first start out, though. I just have to go out and do something fun, meet interesting people and I'll be fine.

At least I have found great coffe in the city. "The Daily Grind" is really nice coffee, even take away. The secret is the double shot. Mm. Good, strong coffee. Think I might end up there a lot. But will also have to try ALL the nice coffee spots in the city... not a very big city at that.

Well, I should get out there. I have spent way too long here in this Internet Lounge. Will start enjoying myself starting... NOW.

:: Cathy 2:26 PM [+] :: 0 comments

:: Monday, January 19, 2004 ::
Fish and chips dinner. Ugh. Sick.

Now back to my lonely hostel room, where I'll read all the brochures that I picked up today at the YHA.

In good news: I have another hostel for tomorrow! Cheaper in a 4-share, at Charlie B's.

The good thing about loneliness is that makes me wanna write...

:: Cathy 11:03 PM [+] :: 0 comments

OK, David.

Here is your chance to laugh and yell "I TOLD YOU SO!"

Arrived in Christchurch. Called the YHA. Booked. Called about 8 hostels. Booked. All booked.

Am now in a dodgy hostel (albeit in my own double room with ensuite!) called Foley Towers, paying way too much. Ah well. Life goes on. Live and learn.

Forgot about the fact that there was a busker festival on right now. I suck.

Now I'm just trying to get in contact with Jaap, who's supposed to be in Christchurch either today or tomorrow. Then I have to find a room for tomorrow night. And get some food. And look into getting a SIM for my phone that works in NZ. And buy a Lonely Planet New Zealand. And lots of other things, too. Sigh.

Don't want to make myself sad by thinking about leaving this morning. It was tougher even than I thought it would be. OK, need to stop thinking about it now. Tearing up. However, the flight was otherwise fine.

Christchurch is about 15 degrees right now. Fine in the sun, but will be cold later when it goes down.

I'm feeling lonely. Always feel this way in a new city and when I first start travelling. Maybe I will buy a phone card and reach out and touch someone tonight....

New Zealand 20 January: 05:07 pm
Ontario Canada 19 January: 11:07 pm

:: Cathy 7:46 PM [+] :: 0 comments

:: Sunday, January 18, 2004 ::
Stepped off the bus from Adelaide this morning at 6:30am. Thank God I slept most of the way, as I have about a zillion things to do today!

  • bank for NZ$
  • pack
  • laundry
  • site updates
  • charge camera, offload photos
  • book a hostel in Christchurch
  • buy Lonely Planet New Zealand
  • emails
  • drinks with Scott
  • have a BATH!!!

    Jaap called yesterday to let me know that he'll be meeting me in Christchurch with his car and we're going to travel together! Yay! Big sigh of relief.

    :: Cathy 8:02 PM [+] :: 0 comments

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