Ok. Ok. Calm down, Joanna.
Right. I'm in Christchurch now, have been since Tuesday. My first day in the city was fairly uneventful. Spent the afternoon hanging out with the one other person who was on the bus from Kaikoura with me, who had also been staying in the same hostel there that I was. We had a bit of a mission finding an Indian restaraunt for lunch. (Of course, later I found about five, all within a two block radius of our search.) The place we eventually found was really good, though, and reasonably priced, so that's OK. Butter chicken, yeah. Then we went and played cards in a pub until he had to meet his connecting bus, at which point I settled into my hostel to spend a quiet evening with my book. At one point, a new arrival came through the common area, and it turned out to be Kristel, a french girl I lived with in Blenheim! She caught me up on the last week at my former haunts, and we talked about our plans for the rest of the country. It's fun to run into people I know unexpectedly- makes me feel important, or well-informed, or something.
Yesterday I caught the shuttle to the gondola outside the city, and rode it to the observation port at the top of the hill. I shared a cabin(?) with a girl from the Netherlands, and we talked for a time about our travels and the sorts of things that backpackers always discuss. We ended up hanging out for awhile- walking one of the short tracks of the Crater Rim Walkway at the top of the hill, getting a coffee at the Gondola Cafe before riding back down and catching the shuttle back to town. The rest of the day was less interesting, consisting mainly of email and window shopping, although I did find a couple of fantastic bookshops, Scorpio Books for new books, and Smith's Books for used (on three floors! beautiful!) both of which caused me to wander with my hands in my pockets for fear of starting to browse in earnest and thus become trapped forever.
Today in Christchurch is rather grey and damp. I spent some time this morning browsing around numerous craft shops and art galleries. I bought some fudge. I turned in a roll of film. I arranged to take the shuttlebus to Akaroa tomorrow for a day trip to visit Kathleen. I tried to book a train ticket to Arthur's Pass, but the computer system was down. Bummer, that. I talked to a travel agent about the possibility of a short trip to Australia in September. Got some stuff to read over and ponder. I still have two and a half hours before I can pick up my photos, so I don't know what I'll do until then. I will not go to Starbucks. I will NOT.
Tomorrow I'll be visiting with Kathleen (Whoohoo!), then returning to the city. Adam (guy from Kaikoura) is supposed to be back in town that evening, and I'm supposed to hang out with him too. He was trying to convince me that I wanted to go to the casino. We shall see. We shall see.