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Greetings and salutations to you, flist!

I am presently in Dunedin, the City of 45 000 000 000 hills! I'm loving the New Zealandness but having just returned from a walk into town, I wish I was dead! But more on that later. I'll take it from the top.

The first night, Tuesday, we were in Sydney, but you don't want to hear about that, do you? Sydney is just Sydney. We did however, get a fabulous meeting from the good Clare, Lady bathmat from Obernewtyn.net. She came bearing a sponge cake!!! Also, she had a palm frond with which to worship us, as she does of course do our bidding, hence having lunch with us.

Beds: Comfy enough.
Roommate: English lass, quite nice, clearly thought we were green un-travelled bumpkins.
Bathroom: Yick!!! Not as bad as all that, but needed thongs in the shower, just to be safe... Hairdryer was good, though.
Kitchen: Dunno. Didn't use it.
Lounge: Pool table!!! Other than that, meh.

Wednesday, we were up brand spanking early (5am!!!) to get to the airport. In the end we caught a cab, after considering train and the hostels' shuttle. It was cheapest to get a cab, since it was between the three of us.

We checked in good and early, then hung around the airport for three hours, reading the dodgy novel we got at the hostel. More on that piece of hysteria later. Anyway, the flight was, I imagine, a pretty typical airline flight. Not all that exciting, really. The Jenny (flippyfrog) read her book, while Nusha and I watched the Hillary Duff movie. Oh the Drama! Oh the Bad Dialogue! And they tried to pass the horrid Dillary Huff off as a GEEK! And a BLOGGER!!! Do they know nothing of geek culture. At first, I was watching it without headphones and asking Nusha if what I thought was happening was happening (it was, incidentally. So predictable.) In the end my curiosity and boredom took over. Hysterically bad dialogue! Not as bad as a Mills and Boon novel... Again, more later...

Anyway, the views flying into Christchurch were FANTASTIC!!! At first, all we could see was a single snow-covered mountain, peering out of the clouds. The lower we went, the more we could see: more snow-capped mountains...

Note: The Jenny has just booked us a trip tommorrow, and there will be PENGUINS!!!

Ahem... anyway, I had the window seat, due to my motion sickness troubles. So, though there was a big wedge of wing in my way, I could see a LOT. After the mountains, the next thing I saw was fields. Beautiful from the air, just like England looks on TV!!! Different coloured fields, on rotation, presumably. Surrounded by hedges, even! So quaint!!! Also large fields of trees: plantations. Then we got lower, and went over a river. Not sure what river it was, but it was an unusual shape, being largely river bank, and minimal river. Then of course, we spied Christchurch! It was pretty much as any city looks from the air, except that it is on a MASSIVE plain. Completely flat. Is great. We landed at the airport, got through immigration, customs and all that (I was the only one with nothing to declare!!! :P)

Also, Gillian, all the flight attendants were female. Sorry about that.

Anyway, Christchurch.

First of all: BOGANVILLE!!! Oonce ooncing cars full of the type of loser bogan I am used to seeing at home. But... MORE OF THEM!!! Bogans! Everywhere!!!
After arriving at the hostel, we had to get our groceries from the Pak and Save. Apparently, everyone in New Zealand likes to shop in bulk at cheap stores. I admit the food prices WERE good, but it was the most awful place. Terrible!!! I don't like crowds that much at the best of times, but ICK!!! People all over the place, in different directions with scary trollies (called trundlers here, incidentally). Had a panic attack, which I didn't really notice until I got out into the fresh air, and went "Ooh!!! I feel a bunch better!!!" Even Nusha, the only one of us with no history of anxiety, found the place unpleasant and claustrophobic. This is a part of New Zealand culture, I guess. Don't think much of it.

I don't think much of Christchurch, to be frank. Bit of a grimy, horrid place, but we were only there overnight, so we didn't see the sights yet. We're going back later. What I did notice is that the place is choccers with churches, and just as choccers with strip clubs. Next to churches. Weird! I do have to put in a good word for the public transport system, however. They have trams, buses and a free shuttle bus that goes around the town centre (though not as punctually as it claims: but I'm used to Canberra buses so WHATEVER!). The view was quite nice, too. Standing on a massive plain looking up at mountains... but now I've seen Dunedin and WOW!

Beds: Better than Sydney. Nice comfy coverings.
Roommates: Didn't see or hear much from them. Both female again.
Bathroom: Much nicer than Sydney, but the hairdryer was not as good!
Kitchen: Large, but dominated by a group of Spanish people, possibly part of a sporting team. They were cooking for 13, and accordingly took all the space, stove-tops, dishes and tables! But we managed, and Jenny cooked pasta, while I assisted by running around doing her bidding!
Lounge: Pool table!!! None of us can play pool (not even LOSER POOL, which has special rules for LOSERS). This does not stop Jenny and I being determined to summarily whoop each other. In a friendly way. Until Sydney, Nusha had never played pool before, so we go easy on her. Of course, if she ever beats us, Jen and I will gang up and show no mercy. But for now, it's a two way battle to the death! Well... not really. Any good shot wemake is pure luck.

Ahem. Anyway...

Today we got up at 7, later than was ideal and skipped breakfast in order to make our coach.

Oh God!!!

The three of us shared the backseat (me on the window again), with the most pathetic man I've ever encountered. We shouldn't have listened to his phone conversation. Believe me, we TRIED not to!!! But GAH!!!
He had quite a whimpering and unavoidale English accent and he talked to his boyfriend for OVER AN HOUR!!! Not sure why he bothered: it's doomed. Jenny and I, forced to listen to him, repeatedly descended into silent giggles.

Sample Monologue: "I know you're offended, but I... No... No... I didn't say that... No... I really don't mind if you get a job before I do. Where was it? No... I didn't say that. No I didn't. Well, she says you... How can you talk to her like that? You should try... yeah, yeah I know. Well, I know how you feel about us. I know. I'll only be here two more days. I'm sorry. I know, I'll... I'm sorry... I... I know."
Obviously, this was punctuated by long, incessant rants from the boyfriend on the other end.

I felt like leaning over and saying "Look, Buddy!!! Grow some backbone, and tell this guy you're an independent man with a right to your own life!!! Tell him to shut up and listen to your opinions! What about YOU, what about YOUR NEEDS???"

But I didn't. Instead, Jenny and I dealt with our irritation and frustration (remember this went on for over an hour), by writing messages on our mobiles and passing our phones over to share them. I named the boyfriend Steve.

Then we changed coaches, and the one or the other hung up. The guy spent the remaining six hours of the trip staring at his phone, writing text messages and waiting for replies that never came. Dear oh deary me. Celibacy... YEAH!!!

The remainder of the trip I played Moo-Baa-Neigh, a game I have invented. The rules are fairly straightforward. When you see an animal, make the noise of that animal. If you, at any point, utter the words "Moo Baa Neigh", you win. That is all. I won three times!

There are a lot of sheep. But, there are ALSO a lot of cows. Not that many horses. I saw some deer being farmed... They also have wood plantations of... gum trees. But they trim them to make them grow straight up! They look... wrong... Very wrong. Out of place, and not at all like gum trees. Is strange indeed...

Dunedin is a lovely place, but very hilly. VERY VERY HILLY!!! In fact, the steepest road in the WORLD is located here. We haven't seen it yet. We did, however, walk down to the town, to amend the fact we hadn't eaten since yesterdays dinner! The walk down was lovely, but steep. The walk back up... KILL ME!!! Christchurch was a plain, and Dunedin appears to be overcompensating for that!!!
Of course, the view is bloody fantastic!!! Beautiful mountains, beautiful view of the Otago Peninsula, and lots of pretty buildings. Like Christchurch, a lot of churches, but these ones are older and beautiful. We really ought to go inside some and see the windows. Maybe tommorrow. Anyway, haven't been here all that long, but lovely, lovely!!! My dodgy hip (the war wound...) doesn't think much of the hills, either. Oh... and it's cold. Chilly Antarctic winds just go breezing through!!! Nasty!!!

Well, that pretty much brings you up to date. My pressure-point travel-sickness bands, combined with sitting by the window are working marvellously! Only headaches, no spewing!!!

All: Eeew!

However, I do have a special treat for you all.

In Sydney, we found a book in the otherwise empty lounge. It was a German book. As no one seemed to want it, we took it to the Book Exchange to swap it for something else. We decided to go with a trashy romance novel, which we picked cos the author was called Winifred. It was truly dreadful. I read bits aloud to the others, and it kept us in stitches: especially Jen and I, who mocked the bad writing with all our hearts. Having read all the way through, only to discover there was NO SHAGGING we swapped it in Christchurch for a Mills and Boon, to see if it was as bad. It was, but differently so.

We now plan to swap our Mills and Boon for another dodgy romance, as I've been collecting the worst crimes against literature. So, for your entertainment, and mine, see my Friends Locked post, above.

Bye bye all!!!


( 9 comments! — Make Remark! )
Nov. 24th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
Oh dear, sweet, merciful - a FOOTBALL lodged in her throat!

*rolls around on the floor, dying with laughter*

I had this image of her standing there on a football pitch, shouting out to somebody, only to have a stray kick land a football in her gob. It's too hilarious.

Oh, and that piece of exposition should be in text-books, under a heading: NEVER, under any circumstances, do this (unless you're a Mills and Boon writer.

It sounds like you're all having a plendiferous time and I'm quite jealous.

Next time you're on the bus, try and Cat and Dog Game. Two points for a dog, five for a cat and at least one other person has to see the animal to verify its existence. One thousand points for a lady walking a cat on a leash. Of course, you might need to change the animals, considering you're travelling through the country. :D
Nov. 24th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
Ack, missing parenthesis. Here 'tis: )
Nov. 24th, 2005 08:13 am (UTC)
Tehe! Thankyou. I rather wanted that parenthesis back!!! I felt jipped!!!

We are having a spifferific time with our dodgy novels!

Later, Bunly one!!! See you in December!!!
Nov. 24th, 2005 08:34 am (UTC)
Hello over in Kiwi land!

Sounds like you're having an interesting time so far!

Miss ya!
Nov. 24th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
Oh darn! Female flight attendants should be against the rules!

I'm glad you're having fun! Christchurch isn't all bad, make sure you punt down the "river" Avon at some point. It's quite delightful..you can pretend you're all classy and speak in English accents.

And dude! I thought I was the only one who played the moo baa neigh game! Did Flit poke you when you did it? She hits me!

Anyways...Love to you and Dinusha, and give Jenny a big kiss from me! Looking forward to future updates!
Nov. 24th, 2005 09:20 am (UTC)
What? Bogans in New Zealand? I don't believe you!
Nov. 24th, 2005 09:27 am (UTC)
Sounds like you're having muchos fun!! :-) Am so jealous of your fab trip!
Nov. 25th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC)
*massive slimy grugs*

Ahhh the memories of the YHA system... - although my experience was in the USA.

Tip the first: You will never have to buy butter or margarine . Mel and I lived on baked potatoes for 2 months. Cheapest food ever!

Also what kind of noise does a deer make...

Don't they bark? or something...
Nov. 25th, 2005 06:01 am (UTC)
Actually, while you're there try to catch breakfast radio. I want to know if it sounds like Tum and Phul: Easy Lustening Edution :)
( 9 comments! — Make Remark! )

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