Thursday, December 11, 2008

Odds, Ends, and Queenstown

On a dreary day in Christchurch, I finally made it over to the Canterbury Museum just across the street from the YMCA. I had heard they had a great Antarctic exhibit and was curious about what else they might have to offer. The Antarctic exhibit was a great historical look at the place I've spent the past year in. They even had a set of the bear claw mitts that I wore over the winter.

Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House living room wall.

Beyond the Antarctic exhibit, I struggled a bit. Artifacts from ancient cultures just don't engage me. I need the stories behind them which is why the Christchurch Press exhibit and Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House are the ones I remember the most. The press exhibit had photographs from the Christchurch media from 1940-1970. The Shell House was truly impressive. In viewing, I felt like it was a testament to everything tacky and kitchy in American collectibles. With the background story told in a short movie, it explained the couples' brilliant love and personalities, the story behind the collection, and how it gained its place in the kiwiana phenomenon. However, almost all of this was forgotten when I was exiting the museum via a fictitious street made to represent old Christchurch. It was there that I learned about John Bain's double life.

John Bain's secret double life revealed.

John Bain in disguise.

I've talked about the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch before and I'll probably continue to talk about them until I return home. I love them. When I first got here, the rhododendrons were blooming in more colors than I could have ever imagined. A couple weeks ago, these roses came into full bloom. While the roses are still going strong, my favorite lilies are starting to bloom. I imagine they'll be in full bloom when I return to Christchurch again in a few weeks. Just amazing.

A rose in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens.

The Rose Garden in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens.

Odds and ends:
  • Portable coolers are called Chilly Bins.
  • Opposing traffic turning right has the right of way if you are also turning left down the same street.
  • They sell pierogies here!
  • American outdoor sporting equipment is manufactured to be ready for the northern spring (Feb-Mar) which makes it really hard to find the bike you want in NZ in December. All their supplies apparently will come in around January.
  • Trails are called Tracks.
  • Multiday hikes are called Tramps
  • The Christchurch Ultimate community is one of the best I've ever been in. They are small, but made up of fantastic people.
  • They have a cheese here called Tasty cheddar. I feel like the same people who named the Remarkables also named this cheddar. It reminds me of the old Indian names in North American that described that place instead of paying homage to someone or somewhere thousands of miles away.
  • I've been accidentally telling people that I moved to Denver two years ago. It is really three and for some reason I am just deleting my year on the Ice from all my personal chronologies. This has happened numerous times.
  • For some reason, I tend to think of England as more prim and proper than the 'crass' US so I assume that old English colonies, like NZ, have that attitude to (even though it really doesn't hold true). Because of that, I would never have expected the product below to be sold in a bookstore. I guess the rest of the world isn't as uptight about sex as the USA.

    A cheeky chocolate.

Queenstown lakefront.

Queenstown is beautiful. It is nestled beside a lake among the mountains. The attitude there reminds me a lot of the Gore-Tex Vortex (Boulder, CO), but might be even more Boulder, than Boulder. Queenstown is the adrenaline capital of the world. They have skydiving. They invented bungee jumping. A polish guy told me the best bang for your buck is river boarding and he did everything. It is good to visit, but not quite my cup of tea. That just might be because of all the kids out partying and then coming back to my dorm really late to wake me up when I'm leaving for a hike early the next day. It is also a great launching point for some of the best scenery in NZ.

The Remarkables mountain range from Queenstown's lakefront.

According to Wikipedia, "[These] mountains were allegedly named The Remarkables because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south. An alternate explanation for the name given by locals is that early Queenstown settlers, upon seeing the mountain range during sunset one evening, named them the Remarkables to describe the sight."

Queenstown Bowling Club.

I'm not sure why, but lawn bowling just never caught on in the US like it has in other (English?) parts of the world. I feel like I've seen it played everywhere, but in the US. I think they have a club in every town that I've visited here in NZ.

Also, new and exciting was LED indicators to let you know if someone was already in the toilet. This is for those of us who can't quite figure it out by knocking, I guess.

Fancy restrooms indicators.

1 comment:

  1. While in Q-Town, the gondola ride up Bob's Peak is worth the trip...especially to ride the luge at the top and watch others bungee. If you stop over in Te Anau en route Milford, be sure to stay at Rosie's BBH and eat at the Italian restaurant in town...I think it's called Toscano's and it's awesome.