Several days have now gone by and our adventure in New Zealand continues.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Currently, we’re staying at a hotel named the Fino Casementi which is just across the street from the Crown Plaza where we began.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The room rates are a bit lower here and they have an excellent free breakfast included.
Our biological clocks have finally adjusted to the five hours difference between Pacific Standard Time and new Zealand Time.
We’ve had fun the last few days exploring in and around Christchurch.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Just for fun, to see what’s different and what’s the same, we’ve been going into supermarkets, hardware stores, furniture store and superstores and looking at stuff.Ã‚Â A tall can of Pringles here was $3.65NZD which is $2.37 USD.Ã‚Â In general, things are quit expensive here and salaries are lower.Ã‚Â Sharon’s got a new hat which we paid $75 NZD for ($x USD) – it was her birthday present.
Yesterday, on Sunday, we took a long ride out to Sumner (Christchurch’s equivalent to Orange County’s Laguna Beach or Seattle’s Kirkland and had a walk on the beach.Ã‚Â Then we drove out onto the Banks Peninsula and explored and took a lot of photos.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â There’s still snow on the higher ground from a storm they had a day or two before we arrived.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â We ate lunch in Akaroa which is a very fun little town on the central harbor.Ã‚Â The Banks Peninsula is an old extinct volcanic cone jutting into the ocean just to the east of Christchurch.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Long ago, part of the cone’s wall collapsed and the sea came in forming a harbor like Italy’s Santorini or French Polynesia’s Rapa.
We’ve had one gloomy cold blustery day and several of bright winter sunshine.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â They’ve had a hard winter here (worst in 24 years) so everyone is excited to see the fine weather.
Today, we may get out to the botanical gardens which are part of Hagley Park – an 800 acre park in the middle of the city.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Yesterday, we had a lot of fun looking at the various plants and trees which are new to us.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â At one point, we found a one-acre natives only nursery and pulled in.Ã‚Â The folks there were very friendly and we had a great time talking about plants and how they do things and how we do things.
We picked up information on two different techniques which we’d never heard of which may prove to be of great use to us and nurseries like us in western Washington.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â One involved copper spray and the other involved felt. I’ve been disappointed with the Internet services offered in the two hotels we’ve stayed in.Ã‚Â Both charge .68NZD/minute and it is a hassle to establish the connection.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Maybe the connection issue has to do with the CAT5 plug on the back of my system but the cost per minute is outrageous.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I’ve discovered that they have a WiFi hotspot down in the lobby and it is a pay as you go as well but I think it is cheaper.
In the next day or so, we hope to strike out into the countryside and see a bit of the West Coast.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I’ll write more soon.