061216 – Saturday – One month

Walking back from coffee this morning, I realized that it’s been exactly a month since I arrived here in New Zealand on the 16th of November.

Time is a strange thing – and getting stranger as I age. A month ago, I looked at my watch and it said the 16th, today I look and it says the 16th and it is as if I’ve just reached out and torn a gossamer veil between then and now. ‘Then’ was just a moment ago – hardly any further from me than now – and now will be just a moment away on February 3rd as I’m landing in Seattle having returned from this trip.

Christchurch is a beautiful city. A dynamic brew of old and new. Walking, I’ve several times looked down to see a brass plaque affixed to a small concrete block saying something like, “This tree was planted in 1885 by so-and-so” or “The first game of Rugby was played in this park in 1863“.

Here they have the concept of protected trees. This means that the trees cannot be cut down, pruned or dealt with in any way without obtaining a resource consent from the Council first. And, yet, the city grows and is economically vibrant. Historic buildings and trees co-exist with new flats and office buildings.

They have a bus system which allows you to get to nearly anywhere in the city and it is efficient and cheap – you can ride it all day for $3.80 NZD.

I have been less than happy with my broadband Internet service since I’ve been here. I had the bad luck, apparently, to show up just as they tried a major upgrade to the system and offered new plans. The upgrade seems to have introduced problems and they are having growing pains as their service grows. I’ve called Telecom (the local Internet service provider) and complained about my DSL signal dropping every ten minutes. This has been very frustrating but I have to say that the people I’ve spoken to a Telecom have been uniformly polite and as helpful as they could be, given the unfortunate circumstances. The truth is, I’ve yet to run into anyone unpleasant here in Christchurch.

The good news, at the moment is, however, that one of the people I came in contact with on-line in the course of my agitating on this issue has found a work-around and since I’ve reset my ADSL modem according to his prescription, I’ve had no drops.

Of all the people who immigrate to New Zealand each year, only 2 to 3% of them are from the USA. But, of those I’ve talked to, the majority cite their increasing rejection of the directions the US seems to be going in. The ascendancy of right-wing political and religious conservatism in the US is driving some of her best and brightest away and that’s unfortunate for those who feel driven to leave – and for those who are left behind.

The founding principles of the US are some of the brightest acts of pragmatic idealism in human history. But, things drift and change. The deep hold of basically unfettered Capitalism on the US and the rise of hugely powerful corporations there have diluted what was the best and brightest model of nationhood on the planet. I mourn these changes as all of us who love liberty should.

I’ve been talking with Sharon, my wife, back in the US. She’s stayed home this trip to watch over our nursery business (www.woodscreeknursery.com). Last night, western Washington had a huge wind-storm and she said that this morning, eight of our 54 greenhouse had the plastic ripped right off of them.

The winter weather at home this year has been outrageous, to say the least. As I was leaving in early November, massive rains had driven many of Washington’s rivers over their all time high water flood marks and created huge chaos. Then, a week of two later, they received an enormous snow storm that threatened to crush many of our greenhouses from the weight of the heavy wet snow. Our workers labored all night pulling the snow off the greenhouse tops until there was so much snow gathered in the spaces between the sides of adjacent greenhouses that its weight was beginning to crush them in from the sides. And now, a terrible wind-storm. I feel sorry for and very grateful towards my wife who stayed home to watch things and has had to suffer through all of this while I’m enjoying the Christchurch summer.

For those of you who have discovered the wonders of ShoutCast Internet radio broadcasts, I have a couple of recommendations for you. You can catch a low bandwidth versions of Seattle’s KUOW at http://128.208.34.80:8000 and you can find an excellent New Age and Meditation music site from Auckland, New Zealand at http://207.44.154.48:8000.

I use WinAmp to listen to Shoutcast broadcasts and it is a great combination.

Cheers from Aotearoa!

One Response to “061216 – Saturday – One month”

  1. lisa g says:

    Hey you. Was just dealing with my little difficulties and saw Samadhi on the band of regular sites. I haven’t looked you up in a long time and I read 12/16, which is 12/15 for me. I will read backwards. Just wanted to say hi. Sounds like the change over is happening. Slowly but surely. December in California is crazy. As long as I don’t go out my door I remain sane.