Feb 11th, 2010, Christchurch, New Zealand, written on the back of half of my “ticket” issued to me by Flight Center, through which I bought my ticket from Auckland to Christchurch, the extralong layover during which I ate some squash salad with feta and stretched out on three seats and drooled into the carpet, my camera hugged to me as though New Zealanders were nothing but a set of rampant camera thieves.
This was my first evening in Christchurch, and it’s what I wrote, with a pen, on paper, something we (gasp) probably don’t do enough of. I was eating one of my only restaurant meals while in New Zealand, and I believe it was noodley and sweet and the portion seemed too small and overpriced, and I think it had shrimp in it. My waitress was from a smallish city in Japan and had been living in Auckland for six months.
And here is it, decoded from my dad-was-a-scientist and only-righthanded-person-in-my-family handwriting. Starting with the asterisk.
2/11/10 7:19 PM (or as we say in Chile, 11/02/10 19:19)
It’s not fair to compare Christchurch to anywhere–not fair to Christchurch and not fair to the other places. That said, there is an element of Seattle, of San Francisco, of Ushuaia and of Stanley (Falkland Islands).
Seattle for the green smells and bicycling everywhere, watercovered, determined backpacks, all gear and hip(ness) and weeping willows.
Ushuaia for the giant tourist shops selling sweaters and cruise wear and in general for being fairly full of grey-hared practical older travelers in (matching red) wind breakers and fanny packs.
Stanley because it’s kind of dead and touristy and filled with tourists and no locals and if you do find some it’s like you’re interrupting and talking too fast.
San Francisco becuase it’s heavily Asian-influenced and because of the trolley.
But in the end, Christchurch is just Christchurch, a place I landed today after 28 hours of travel, happy to stop moving and with that tinge of “where am I, exactly” which will probably dissapate as I spend the night and wake up again. It’s like I have a place-repellent on me. Sometimes it just takes a while (for it) to sink in.
Anyone else want to share a page from their book?