Feeling Tipsy Turvy Down Under
Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
360Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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We disembarked at 2pm New Zealand time. The approach to the airport gave us the first tantalising glimpses of a country we have been very excited about getting to. I was surprised that it only took about 10 minutes to fly from the west coast over to Christchurch on the east coast. The first sight of land was Lord of the Rings type mountains. We then hit The Canterbury Plains which I am sure we will be cycling back over in the next week (I say 'sure’, we don’t actually have a clue where we are going over the next 6 weeks). Then the plane swung around to show off a beach that went on for miles before circling Christchurch and hitting the runway
Walking off the plane we immediately noticed the change in climate. It really was like an English autumn day. A little sunshine but really cold and fresh. We have not felt this freshness since back in November when we left Europe and it made us feel really strange.
The formalities at Christchurch were very quick, even though we had to go through a very tight check of all our gear. No mud is allowed into New Zealand through fear of a threat to their farming. Polly had done a great job of cleaning the bikes and trainers, the customs officer was more than satisfied. The tent did not pass the test but the lovely lady did a hoovering job to remove the dry mud and we were clear.
Outside of the airport building they unbelievably had a Bicycle Construction area, specifically designed for people like us. The bike hangers made for a much easier time, in fact if you look back to how we did at Trivandrum airport in Southern India, it was a breeze. It took about an hour to get them back together and we cycled out of the airport buzzing with excitement
It was cold on the bikes and our t-shirts and shorts from Singapore were not appropriate. The green fields and fresh air around us made us feel very at home but as we have not been home for 7 months it was a very weird feeling. The traffic was much faster and we even had one nutter beeping at us in an aggressive way.
We found the campsite easily enough and put the tent up. Again it was all very strange having checked into hotels and hostels for the last few months. We located a local supermarket and spent a good hour salivating at the sight of sausages, steaks and salt and vinegar crisps. Simply gastronomically satisfying.
So, back at the sight we enjoyed our first steak for a few months (unfortunately more medium than rare, my fault adjusting to the campsite cooking). The last steak was in Pokhara, Nepal. How the places contrast.
Our time clock is all over the place and having finished the meal at 7pm we snuggled up in the tent. It was chilly but we soon snoozed off. When I woke at 2am I thought it was morning. Polly was watching Prime Suspect on the laptop, what day is it now?
Miles cycled: 5, an airport departure and a few more to find a very Waitrose like Supermarket, heaven!