There. First full day in New Zealand will soon be over. Tomorrow a bike will be purchased. By me.
The flight here was long and grueling, and by the end I'd gotten enough of flying! Unfortunately, I'll have to do a bit more tomorrow. But I digress.
Before I left I had a going-away party for close friends and family. It was really great having everyone gathered for last goodbyes. Many didn't know my route, so I took half an hour or so to explain what I've planned for the first six weeks. A few stayed late, and after a great night I hit the pillows at 7am.
Besides thanking them all for coming and explaining how loved and proud it made me feel, I also told them about how it feels like i'm starting my life anew, having quit my job, sold my apartment, and left everything behind for this grand adventure. A rebirth of sorts.
I'm happy to know that my family and friends holds on to the bit of me which always belongs to Denmark. And that they're cleaning up the mess I've left behind! ;)
This is the party. The center of attention is Fri, who is sitting in her father's arms. The girl on the left is Maya, her mother.
My father's amazing skill with a camera. Notice the artistic touch of having almost no people in the shot. Genius!
sunday, I packed the last of my stuff and my mother, father and brother drove me to the airport. It was a bit hard saying goodbye, but as I climbed the stairs to departures, all the worries of planning fell away and I was left feeling light and eager. A spring came into my step then which haven't left since.
I didn't get much sleep on the plane, nothing good anyway, but somehow I managed to avert the worst jet-lag. On the 12 hour flight from London to Hong Kong, I thought I had a good idea and drank two big glasses of wine to make sleep easier. What I'd forgotten is how fast alcohol works in lower pressure, which meant instant hangover and no sleep at all due to dizziness and headache.
I slept a little in Hong Kong, which meant I didn't get to see anything but the airport. It's ok though. I'll go another time.
Arriving in Christchurch, the first thing that came to mind was how suspiciously absent my bagage was. I waited by the retrieval rollers for quite some time, but since my rucksack stubbornly refused to appear I went to the baggage service desk and asked if it was them who'd been teaching it bad manners. The girl at the counter was very friendly, and said that a few other bags from my plane had picked up the same rotten attitude, and that the australians were trying to beat some sense into them in Sydney. She said she hoped it'd be with me in the morning. It turned up today at around seven looking very ashamed, and to my dispair I realized my sleeping bag had run off and left my bag alone to explain things! I called the airport again and asked if they'd seen the sleeping bag, and she sent out a notice to all the airports I've been through (which is five!). She said to call back in the morning. I really hope they find it, but I'm really afraid they wont.
One thing to note: Even though the immigration is almost as strict as in the US, especially concerning foodstuff and other bio-material, it was a great pleasure to see how friendly and personable the officers were. All smiling and joking, they made me feel at home right away, which is true of all the kiwis I've met so far, really.
Thankfully, all of my essentials were in my carry-on luggage so I took a shuttle-bus to Christchurch. I don't remember if I told you, but I'm staying with a guy called Mike whom I met on couchsurfing.com . He's developing an entirely new type of motorcycle called a Mountain Moto which weighs only 57kg! They fit on the back of a truck just like a mountainbike, and you can lift them fairly easily. Check them out at fxbikes.com It seems like they handle like a mountainbike on steroids, and it looks like a world of fun! Too bad he doesn't have one at his house, as i'd have loved to give it a spin! Be sure to check the videos to get a feel for how zippy it really is.
Mike helped me a lot in deciding what bike to pick, and even took me to some bike shops to see if we could find something interesting. He told me about Britten bikes , a legendary kiwi-made custom record-setting racing bike (breathe!), and showed me the little museum which is all that's left of the company. They only ever built ten bikes, but became legends in their own right, and I got to sit on one of them! Bizarre colours. What you can't see on the picture is how the rear end sort of "floats", since the rear wheel is bolted directly to the engine (see the wikipedia link above for a better image). The yellow spring in front is actually the rear suspension!
Stumbled upon this somewhere in the city, but I didn't want to go in. They don't sell coffee.
Tomorrow I'm flying to Nelson to look at a Honda XR250L. Wikipedia describes it as simple, indestructible, and reliable - which sounds like just what I need! 250cc is a lot less than what I had hoped for, but the bikes here are very expensive. Even Mike is surprised by the prices! This one seems like it's in a good condition though. It's tall enough for me (I'm 1,93 meters so I need a lot of legroom, which was part of the reason I didn't sleep much on the plane), and it's only done around 21000kms. I'm borrowing Mikes riding jacket, buying a helmet, and boarding the plane at 2:05pm.
While waiting for the images to upload, I read about bacteria at home in the clouds that might have evolved to control rainfall. And we thought we were crafty!
It's 10pm now, but already I'm really tired. It must be the last bit of jet-lag. I'll chase it off with a good nights sleep starting ... NOW!