CHRISTCHURCH CITY SQUARE BY NIGHT
Christchurch is cold, wet, and wonderfully misty as I am driven to my hosts’ apartment at one in the morning.
The streetlights infuse everything with a warm orange glow, and I’ve already made new friends while standing in line at customs. I like New Zealand
Marina [a.k.a The Swiss Temptress] and Matt [a.k.a. The Vagabonding Kiwi] are my Couchsurfing hosts for the next couple days as I make preparations for a short roadtrip south to Queenstown for some snowboarding fun. They met at a Backpackers’ pub in London and between them have traveled through Europe, South America, the United States, and Japan; we are meeting up later tonight at a CouchSurfMeet held on the couches of, Le Plonk of course, with some of the local Couchsurfing Crew. Should make for a fun night out…
LE PLONK, AFTER A COUPLE GLASSES OF LE PLONK
Breakfast this morning was at an organic café called Vic's 5 minutes walk from Matt’n’Marina’s home that makes the world’s best fresh bread. Think home-made sourdough and honey ciabbata and rye loafs – I love the smell of fresh bread in the morning!
Christchurch is one of two cities in the world whose drinking water is so pure that it comes out of the tap untreated. The other city? Evian, France. I am drinking the equivalent of expensive, pure bottled spring water straight from the tap.
Lunch à a café-come-boardroom aptly named, well, The Boardroom where you can meet clients for a cuppa, or hire a private conference room for more privacy. I’m here to interview Peter ‘Pink Gloves’ Taylor, Organizer of Christchurch’s Greendrinks event, and all-around Sustainability Marketing Guru. He quickly turns the tables on me and produces his own video camera to record an impromptu interview with me …
Peter is a bright-eyed man with a quick wit and twinkle in his eye who is involved with a projects in the business and political areneas, all focussed on helping businesses and community embrace and adopt sustainability.
There are many different accents and faces in the streets of Christchurch as I wander around to sort out my new cell phone and find an internet café (there’s a good one next to Starbucks in the city square, $3/ 1st hr, highspeed wireless connection). The sales girl at Vodafone hasn’t heard of the EntirelyWorldFamous competition, so in a fit of shameless self-promotion I take it upon myself to educate her about it, and of course ask for her vote. Thanks Hannah!
Dinner is a yet another café (there are some good ones here) called The Honey Pot that is a favorite of Matt’n’Marina …serving breakfast all day, this is my kind of place.
STEAMING HOT BLACKCURRANT
The customer favorite on the dinner menu here is the B.B.C. - Chicken breast stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes ad smoked cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with baby potatoes, panfried seasonal veges and a spicy BBQ sauce. Fowl Play is also recommended, while Hot Lips and Jimmy The Fish also look like good choices.
I opt for the breakkie customer favorite: The Breakfast Muffin - strips of chunky bacon, fried egg, sliced avocado smothered in home-made hollanaise sauce - and am not disappointed [thanks for the recommendation Sharla!]. It lasts about 2 minutes as I wash it down with some Hot Blackcurrant, a wine-colored drink that tastes medieval and warms my insides.
There is all kinds of art on the walls and a mellow roots-reggae soundtrack soothes and chills me out.
Welcome to New Zealand!