|"Is it my turn to drive yet"?
I've been entertaining the question for nearly a month now and I've run out of reasons and excuses... I don't think she believes me when I tell here that I get sea sick (road sick?) when I sit in the passenger seat, especially with the way the roads are laid down in New Zealand. Eventually though, my rope had to run out. Today was the day. After enduring countless attacks pointing out that I am a control freak (well that part is true) and a sexists bast#$% who won't let women drive (that one's not true), I had no choice but to pull over the rig and swap sides...reluctantly.
Kristine is a very good driver, but I'm not a great passenger. I am also a good driver, but she is a much better passenger than I am. Following my logic, let's use our strengths as best as possible. All seems easy in my little head! Anyway, we did the switch, and away we went. I was queasy almost immediately. YOU'RE TOO CLOSE TO THE DAMN GUARD RAIL!!! Maybe it was just my eyes but it sure felt close to me - I nearly had a coronary.
Assist handles are cool though. I use mine all the time and people think I'm insulting them or something. I can't figure that out. They're called "assist handles", not "Hey, you're driving like a bloody maniac handles". Why do people get so upset with that? It's the only way I can steady my stomach a little anyway.
Some things I don't understand. After about 25 km, we pulled over again and it was time to swap drivers? Huh?!? I thought you wanted to drive? "Well, I did and I have", she said. "I just wanted to do it, and now that I have, I'm done (ha, ha)". Somewhere in there there is a message but I'm not sure what it was. Anyway, I cruised us into Christchurch at about 6 pm.
The Mother Ship has been everywhere, and in some places she has left her mark more strongly than others. Sometimes it seems that the English colonized the entire planet (even though that's ridiculous) and CHCHCH (that's the abbreviation for CHristCHurCH) is one place that seems to have been modeled after an English town - right down to the gentle meandering river (called the Avon) flowing through town to, you guessed it, Brighton Beach. It is however, a very nice, if not quiet, city. A beautiful cathedral stands in the centre of the town square not far from the regal stone buildings of Canterbury College, where Ernest Rutherford performed his groundbreaking work with respect to atomic physics. Here, there is a preserved classroom with graffiti on the benches dating back to the late 1800's.
There's also the excellent Canterbury museum which houses a strong collection of Maori art along with an interesting section on Antarctic exploration over the years, complete with a few early snow cats used during various missions to the pole. We spent a day walking around and touring the city, and then the time finally came when I had to turn in the car up at airport. I drove up and checked it in, then took a bus back to the city where we stayed one more night at Dorset House, a great hostel in an old Victorian home built in 1871 with a very grand common room that used to be a ballroom. The only downside was getting up at 3:30 in the morning in order to catch our 6 am flight to Melbourne
New Zealand has just been fantastic. Some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. There is so much to see here, all packed into a relatively small place. You could easily spend 6 months here and not see and do all that would be worth doing, and for that reason, I think we might be back someday.