Strange Seals on the South Island

The next morning, I woke up feeling a whole lot better and ready to conquer the South Island. After a small breakfast provided by the hostel of scones and cereal, we packed up and headed out. I grabbed a coffee at a local shop and checked my emails. I had some business to take care of back home and worked on Skype.

The day was bright and sunny which was perfect for taking to the coastal road. The air was warm and I remembered the tiny seaside town of Picton just as it was the last time I was here. I like the small town energy here but the transient nature of a ferry/port town keeps things always in flux. It is unique. I would have liked to stay a bit longer but as usual, we were in a hurry. There was a moment where I questioned whether I should continue on with Billy because I was getting some really strange vibes. I went against my better judgement and got back into the car. I guess I was putting more weight on finishing what I had started than listening to my instincts. Bad idea.

Passing Blenheim, I noticed heaps of vineyards, wineries and even olive farms. One after another after another, this is quite the wine region. We got to Kaikoura and found a point on the peninsula where a cheeky seal was posing for photos. I was amused when the big brown mass of fur started huffalumping towards the people. There was no fear at all and the cute whiskery face looked as us with nonchalance, as if he owned the place. Indeed, he did. I got close enough for a photo when he stopped to rest on a wooden footbridge but not without a little bit of a warning bark. As comical and adorable as he was, it was a reminder that he is still a wild animal.

We stopped for a moment in Christchurch before continuing on to Billy’s brothers place. They lived just outside of the city in a suburb and have pigs, sheep, cows and chickens. And kids. The have four of those too. They were all very delightful and roped me into jumping on the trampoline, shooting a sticky target gun and playing Go Fish. It was fun to have so much children attention and I was entertained by the questions they had about all things Canadian. My mood got lighter being around those kids and I started feeling a little less down on myself.

After a scrumptious home cooked dinner, I settled into bed FINALLY getting some decent rest. After a leisurely breakfast with the fam, B and his bro went into Christchurch to pay their Grandpa a visit. They dropped me off in the center where I didn’t waste anytime at all. I explored the Arts Center, the Canterbury Musuem, and wandered all around the downtown streets. It was a lovely summer day and even though it was a holiday, most things were open.

We were able to stop by the Cookie Time factory which just so happened to be on the way home. I was thrilled to be able to get a photo with the red furry cookie monster muncher. I was a bit sad to see how touristy and impersonal the whole operation has become since the last time I was here in 2003. I picked up a big bag of broken cookies for the kids but also disappoint to taste that the quality of the cookie had also gone wayward. I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

I have been somewhat fascinated with earthquakes lately so coming to this area was quite educational for me. I got all the dirt from Cara who even pulled out a commutative book of the most recent shake up back in Sept 2010. I was in awe as Andy took me on a little tour of some of the more affected areas, still in shambles. Most of all, I was rapt by their first hand experience which they relayed to me as we nibbled cheese and crackers at the kitchen table.

Billy started getting antsy again so I knew I had better get my butt into the car so we could go again. We drove down and over towards Mount Cook, stopping for some fruit and veg at a local farm. I was happy to have had the chance to grab some fresher than fresh produce before heading into the mountains where everything is much more dear.

We got to take a small break around Lake Tekapo where I took some award winning photos. The thick earthy sagey turquiose waters were crashing waves into the rocky shores. In the background I marveled over the snow capped Mount Cook surrounded by feathery long clouds. It was a sight to behold and it made my heart so happy to have such beauty in my midst. This by far one of my favorite views in the world.

Grateful for magnificence.

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