As the customs forms get handed round on the plane i think back to australia and how the lady had a right go at me cus my boots was muddy, and then threatened me with a 220 dollar fine. this time on the way to new zealand i sit a bit comfier knowing that i haven't worn them since then so they're still sparkling from when australia washed them. i fill out the necessary boxes before the plane lands, go through passport control and hand in my form. the lady sends me to this guy and iam thinkin, "not the bloody boots again!" turns out it wasn't the boots he was interested in , but rather the drugs i might be carrying. spent nearly an hour while he combed through all the items in both my bags crappin myself thinkin someone might have planted some on me. in the end i got the all clear and headed into christchurch, by public bus rather than shuttle since the hole in my pocket had bee stretching. didn't have a hostel booked so got out my map and headed towards one. 20 minutes later as the road came to a dead end i realised i'd misread me map.
So, christchurch was pretty nice, though not as great as i thought it'd be. cathederal square was pretty cool with the market, live music and outdoor chess - a novel idea, but could never be implemented in england cus people'd rob the pieces. plus i don't think the youth of today know how to play. also, the botanical gardens where real nice - me and bhav went kayakin down them one day - i managed to knock my hat off into the river by rowing into a branch, but luckily retrieved it, although i have since properly lost it on a hike. but the main streets and shoppin area weren't much more than a slightly gentrified version of halesowen if iam honest. Didn't do a great deal in the week i was there but did a pretty easy climb to the top of mount cavendish in nearby lytlleton which had some good views.
Everyones always on about how you meet loads of people whilst ure travelling, but most of them are the annoyin type you hoped to be leavin at home. that said ive met some interesting people perhaps none more so than this israeli guy shimon who was at our hostel. he'd basically hitched all around the south island for months doin various hikes. he did one which was a 3 day hike with no path to follow. he also couldn't use a compass since there was iron or something in the mountains which made the hand just spin in circles. so just him and a map, since he didn't see anyone for the trip. i'd 've thought it'd be pretty scary, but turns out he was good at navigatin from his time in the army - all israeli men must spend 3 years in the army. turned out he'd left for new zealand upon his discharge and therefore had fought in that war with lebanon that was on the news last summer. i asked if he'd shot anyone and he said that he shoots but doesn't know if he kills anyone, though he hopes not. i said i guess if someone shoots you then yopu're gfonna shoot back. but sometimes they weren't allowed to shoot back because the arabs would fire from civillian areas - this meant that he used to have to crouch behind a wall while bullets flew into it and over his head. the blokes just turned 23. i couldn't believe it.