We landed in Christchurch a little before noon and I found it peculiar to be setting my watch ahead twenty-one hours. For me, flying long distance is one of the most surreal experiences ever. To pass through so many time zones and to see the sun’s confusion of setting and rising is startling. I always am amazed and bewildered when I finally step foot off the airplane that transported me miles away from home, across continents and oceans and into a new, unexplored place.
As I mentioned in my last post, I was feeling like a deflated balloon when we finally stepped foot into the Christchurch airport. The gray skies and pelts of rain were effecting my mood. Thankfully our luggage had made it through three different flights and two airlines (that is always a bonus!). Yet we had a little mishap with the car rental agency that took an hour to square away. It was my first encounter with a native Kiwi, and I instantly realized that New Zealanders are perhaps the most laid-back, fun-loving people on earth.
We were finally on our way, heading in our rental car towards Christchurch while driving on the “other” side of the road and trying not to get killed by forgetting to turn into the “other” lane at the roundabouts. This proved to be a daunting challenge that would remain with us for the full two weeks of the trip. For some reason driving on the left side of the road seemed against reason. It also always proved a challenge to remember to not hit the windshield wipers as opposed to the turn signal when we were desperately trying to pass. Countless times, in the heat of the moment, my husband inadvertently hit the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal while we were frantically trying to pass some unexpected soul along the curving New Zealand roads. This should have made us panic but instead we burst out into laughing attacks which only made it worse.
Christchurch is the provincial capital of Canterbury and the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island. Often viewed as a gateway into the South Island’s magical wonders, Christchurch is a fabulous launching off point and definitely requires a few days to visit this lovely, charming town with outrageously delicious food.