I cannot recommend to arrive in Christchurch at the unearthly hour of 5am – it sucks to spend a whole day fighting against the jetlag. That said, even without suffering from jetlag Christchurch is not exactly exhilarant. That has nothing to do with the wonderful people that live here. They are as amicable as everywhere else in the country. It’s because Christchurch has the look and feel of a ghost town with many houses blocked up or torn down, leaving empty houses and open spaces. It was depressing and I admire the people that still live there and are trying to rebuild the city – despite of a certain fear of further eartquakes.
On the positive side we had tickets for the ODI series cricket match between NZ Blackcaps and Sri Lanka at the Hagley Oval – which turned out to be a cricket field with a grass rampart. The interesting part was not the game, the rules of which we barely knew, but the crowd that enjoyed watching: people of every age basically having a picknick on the lawn while sitting there as if watching TV (with a few cheers in between), the kids amusing themselves on the bouncy castles outside the rampart, all dressed for the occasion with shorts and skirts (not many brand-name clothes), barefoot or in flip flops. So relaxed! A great spot to people watch!
Here is what I love about NZ: when entering we were kindly asked to empty our (half empty) water bottles. When seeing the ??? on our faces the woman apologised, explained that it was to make sure that we don’t bring any alcohol in (luckily they don’t know that trick at the Waldbühne yet) and handed us two full water bottles in exchange. Plus everyone could get a free water refill at the many refill stations around the field. Unimagineable in Germany!