Category Archives: New Zealand

ChristChurch Cathedral, two thousand and one days later

2001 days ago, I paid NZD 1.50 to climb 134 steps up the spire of ChristChurch Cathedral in New Zealand with my friend Vania. Now that spire is just a pile of rubble in the centre of the South Island’s most populous city, after an earthquake destroyed buildings and killed dozens of people.

Back when we visited Christchurch, in August 2005, I took a bunch of photos from the Cathedral spire 30 metres above ground:

Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand
Chess in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand
ChristChurch Cathedral spire, New Zealand
ChristChurch Cathedral spire, New Zealand

Vania returning down the spiral staircase back to ground level:

Returning down the spiral staircase. ChristChurch Cathedral, New Zealand

After our visit to the cathedral, we went and enjoyed hot chocolate at Starbucks, appreciated the beautiful weather, and laughed as we watched this seagull eating someone’s unfinished cake.

A seagull enjoys someone

None of my Kiwi friends were badly hurt in this earthquake, but it’s still pretty sad. Christchurch is a great city, and it’ll take a long time to recover from this.

Toroa House

One year to this day, just before midnight NZ time (which is right now in Vancouver) I walked into the flat that would be my home for the next 9 months in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Time passes pretty quickly sometimes – for a while I thought my time in New Zealand would stretch on forever, then suddenly, as with all good things, it came to an abrupt end and I was back on a plane bound for Asia once more.

The problem with physics is that particles, behaving like waves, can exist in two places at the same time. Unfortunately, people cannot.

Ink Art

On the 23rd, three of us went to the tattoo parlour. One of us got a tattoo. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t Anna. That leaves Vania.

Anna drove us to Dig A Tattoo, where Vania had an appointment for 330pm.

The dude printed out a copy of her tattoo and went into his ‘office’ to prepare a stencil (it’s really an ink transfer… sort of like a temporary tattoo to guide the tattoo man’s needle).

After some waiting, the three of us went in to the room. First Mr Tattoo guy cleaned the foot.

Then he applied the stencil thing.

Then he set up his ink needle.

Then he started tracing those lines very, very carefully.

Anna spent the first half hour holding Vania’s hand, and I took the second shift. Turns out I got the worse half of the deal, as the tattoo became more painful toward the end. I tried taking a photo of my hand with the white marks where it was being squeezed, but it didn’t turn out.

The finished product:

Christchurch and beer

Later that afternoon, after finishing our walk, we headed to Christchurch. And there were sheep on the highway.

We stopped at Lake Tekapo for a few minutes for petrol then shortly after at a nice beach spot so I could take some landscape shots. (The pink cloud colour was really white… I just wanted to play with this one)


After arriving in Christchurch in the evening, we went to bed pretty quickly. The next day after eating at our holiday park accommodation, we headed into the city centre to do some walking. First we parked in Hagley Park then took a walk through the Botanic Gardens through which the River Avon winds.


After our stroll through the gardens we stopped for a basket of reeeeally delicious fries and lazed in the sun on the restaurant’s patio, then crossed the street to the Canterbury Museum.


Tired from all the day’s walking, we went to bed. The next morning back into town to check out Cathedral Square. We walked around inside Christchurch Cathedral then paid the $1.50 each to climb the 134 steps, 30m up the spire. Down in the square, people were playing chess. Crazy.

They were also checking out the market, which was being set up as we checked it out.

And this chalice artwork is pretty neat – it’s been there since 2001.

Then we walked back down 134 spiral stairs. I jogged a bit and got kinda dizzy.

We sat outside the Starbucks drinking hot chocolate for some time, enjoying the unbelievably warm and sunny weather we were getting – after all, it’s the end of winter here. This seagull was cool.

And THEN we headed out to do the Canterbury Brewery Heritage Tour at the home of Canterbury Draught. It was a nice tour, and as there were only 5 of us on the tour it was easy to ask questions and get a full response from our cool guide.


One of these storage tanks holds 120,000 litres of beer.

Kegs being filled:

12-packs of Tasman Bitter being boxed.

And of course, what would a brewery tour be without the requisite beer tasting. We tried five of the beers brewed at Canterbury Breweries: Canterbury Draught (their main one), Guinness (under contract), Steinlager, Speights, and Speights Old Dark.

To be continued…