Weekly photo [63]

Looking down on the Canterbury Plains from Mount Hutt during a snowboarding trip with some workmates. It was so awesome to be back on the snow, but it did remind me how spoilt I was at Whistler. To compare the hills, Mount Hutt has 3 lifts that provide access to 902 acres of terrain, while Whistler has 28 lifts and 8171 acres. To make matters smaller, two lifts weren't functional due to high winds. And the final remaining lift kept overheating. The lines got worse and worse each lap and eventually we gave up and claimed full refunds. Mad props to the lovely folk at Mount Hutt for turning what could have been a huge waste of money into a decent, free morning of snowboarding.

Weekly photo [62]

Bored on a Saturday afternoon, I cycled for half an hour without any destination in mind and ended up in Sumner, a coastal suburb of Christchurch. The place was absolutely beautiful. This dog is thinking "That water was much colder than I had expected and I deeply regret the whole incident."

Weekly photo [61]

The public were told to avoid New Zealand's first ever building implosion because of dust fears, but that only served to spur me and many hundred others to get out of bed for the 8am extravaganza. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Funnily enough, the company I work for was founded in that building a decade ago, so I felt a special connection as it concertinaed into the earth launching a cloud of dust into the screaming crowd.


So I've decided to stay in Christchurch for a year, possibly longer. I have a comfortable office job which pays double any job I've ever had before. I have my own desk and my own computer with two screens. I have routine and responsibilities and weekends. I have a nice house in a nice suburb with a nice wife that cooks me dinner when I get home every night. Okay, perhaps not that last part but I'm working on it. The point is my lifestyle has changed quite a lot recently.

This change of pace raises some issues for this blog. This blog was supposed to be about travel, and being stationary for over a year doesn't fit many definitions of travel. In fact, this whole trip was supposed to be about my reluctance to enter the "real world" of graduate employment, a world I have very much entered.

So here's what will change:
  1. The title. I actually changed this a couple of weeks ago but I don't think anyone noticed.
  2. Photos. Daily photos will become weekly photos. I would decommission them altogether but they've already proven themselves to be a really awesome way to document my time away, so I'll carry on weekly for that purpose alone.
  3. No facebook. I won't tell facebook every time I update my blog. It's too spammy for such little content. back by popular demand
I'll pick up the blog whenever I start properly travelling again. And don't worry, there will be plenty of that in the future. This is just an interval while I accumulate the necessary funds. The future's bright.

Cheers guys,

365 photos [414 - 420]

Photos from week two in Christchurch and week sixty abroad.

Last week I asked you to help christen my lovely new bike. Here are your suggestions:

- Horse the bike (Owen). Sorry Owen, you've completely lost me.
- Lacey (Rob). Named after Lace Street in Nottingham where my old bike was prophetically stolen. I really like this name.
- Old Red (Hopper). Just brilliant.
- Paihikara (???). Some anonymous smarty pants (I suspect it was you, Dave) translated "bicycle" into Māori. If I had any idea how to pronounce paihikara it might have stood a chance.

So it's between "Lacey" and "Old Red". What do you lot think? Any more suggestions?

My gradually fattening folder of sentimental travel nonsense.

The main park in Christchurch is called "Ipswich Park". It isn't really but I thought it was a clever joke.

In my spare time I like edging towards wildlife until they appear visibly uncomfortable.

The Bridge of Remembrance, closed to traffic because of the huge cracks in the structure. Not somewhere you want to be standing if Christchurch gets another big shake.

The container mall (aka Re:START mall) is something really awesome to emerge from the earthquake. It's a bunch of old shipping containers fitted out like shops. It's supposed to be temporary while they rebuild the rest of the city centre, but everyone quite likes it.

I don't think many cities in the world have their welcome sign beside one saying EXTREME DANGER KEEP OUT.

365 photos [407 - 413]

Sorry these photos are late, my dog ate them.

Christchurch had a really bad earthquake last year, and you can't go far without being reminded of it. It killed 185 and levelled huge portions of the city, with a quarter (!) of buildings in the central business district either collapsing or facing demolition. It's grim, but it's also an amazing opportunity to build a brand new city from almost nothing.

Monday was my first day at work so I arrived in town cautiously early. I had an hour to kill so I thought I'd check out the library. What I didn't realise until I got there was that today was the library's grand opening. The mayor gave a speech about Christchurch rising from the ashes before ceremoniously cutting the purple ribbon. After lots of clapping he turned to the public and said words to the effect of "and now for the library's most important asset, the people of Christchurch!" and motioned us in. Everyone else hesitated so I took my chance and raced past in first place attracting more applause from everyone. You can watch the news piece here. (skip to 7:45 for my cameo and 10:55 for something else great).

This photo sums up my new job very well.

I stayed in a hostel for a week while I searched for something more permanent. I'd been staying in hostels since living in Whistler two months ago and was beginning to feel like Alan Partidge in the Linton Travel Tavern. As much as I love hostels, are they not designed for this.

Walking to work one clear morning.

My beautiful new bike. I haven't named her yet, suggestions in the comments.

I moved into my new house just as New Zealand arrived into the Olympic Stadium.