Friday, August 14, 2009

Couchwarming Party!

Theme Song for the Day:
  1. "Wonky Donkey", by Craig Smith


The mist in the streets of Christchurch today was a superfine drizzle that you could barely see swirling gently down from the grey skies above.  It sits on my hair and clothes like dew drops in the morning. 

We tour the Arts Center Market early in the afternoon and wander through stalls of hand-made merino wool clothing, carved greenstone jewellery, and beautiful photography of wild Kiwi landscapes.  Lunch is a spicy Lebanese Lamb Wrap from a street vendor, while my hosts and tourguides munch on a Czech Potato Pancake with Beef and Sauerkraut [I’ve never seen a Czech Food street vendor before!].


Hagley Park is 400+ acres of lush greenery that we walk through to go home.  A crowd is cheering on a rugby match as joggers bounce past us along the river, which is lined with willow trees and other Seussian water plants.  Ducks paddle and dive and waddle their way along the fast-flowing water, which is crystal clear and looks no more than thigh-deep.

It's a laid-back Saturday afternoon in misty Christchurch, and we spend it preparing for the party tonight; Marina is making chocolate truffles! Turns out last night that we missed the CouchSurfMeet by a day - it was on Thursday, not Friday - so Matt and I commiserated by sampling a couple rounds of the bubbly drink specials before Marina joined up with us an hour later after her work event.  When life gives you lemons, make ...sparkling wine!

After-drinking food is good here: the souvlaki joint was unexpectedly closed so we found a good Chinese take-out place right across the City Square.  This one even sold fish & chips ...apparently, not uncommon in these parts!

The festivities tonight are over at award-winning local musician Craig Smith's new diggs.  His new song, Wonky Donkey, won the 2009 APRA NZ Children's Song of the Year Award, and I am lucky enough to sneak a peek at the children's book version which is released in October.  

Craig is an easy conversationalist with a warm smile and a welcoming aura.  We swap stories about our respective journeys and find that we have walked similar paths: a few years ago, he closed up shop - after running his own business in sales and marketing for ten years or so - to feed his soul and pursue his music, and hasn't been happier ever since.

Craig also happens to be the Couchsurfing Ambassador for Christchurch which means that tonight I meet more locals, as well as fellow Couchsurfers from France, Germany, Canada, and LA... and, believe it or not, met someone whose Mum may have worked with my Mum in the Dole Pineapple Cannery in Hawaii... !  

I *HEART* Couchsurfing.

The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and to take the risk of living out their dreams - each according to his or her own talent."
-Paulo Coellho-

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