Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happenings Over a Couple of Days

Sumner Rock and beach

The Tram Through a Pedestrian Alley

Punting in the park

The customs of a country are always interesting to experience. This weekend is Easter and New Zealand takes this as a four day weekend. Good Friday and Easter Monday are official holidays. As it is the fall here and March is the equivalent of September in the Northern Hemisphere, this weekend could be considered the last hurrah of summer, somewhat like our Labor Day holiday. But when they declare a holiday like Good Friday, it is a real holiday and nearly everything shuts down, like Christmas or New Years. No big box store or mall sales. Everything except a few restaurants were closed. A couple of years ago we experienced this four day Easter holiday when we were in South Africa. Now on Saturday, that is not the official holiday, so many of the stores are open again, and the downtown has come back to life.

The weather on Good Friday was another warm sunny day. We went on another of the three hour Mary Ann forced marches. We hiked out of the downtown up toward where the Avon River was starting towards the ocean. The hike then proceeded on the river paths back into and through the downtown to the Botanic Gardens on the west side of the central business district. The trees, lawns, river and views, as the Avon wanders through the city, were remarkable. When we reached the Botanic Gardens we explored it much more thoroughly, along with hundreds of the Christchurchians. Hmmm, maybe that is not a word.

We found that the Christchurch Art Gallery was open and it was a pleasant surprise. They have an extensive historical art section showing off the works of Christchurch, Canterbury, and New Zealand artists. Some of them, although not household names like the Dutch or French, are very good. It is a very new building in the Culture Precinct and architecturally striking.

Saturday started out pretty cloudy and raining a bit, but that did not stop us exploring the Pacific beach areas of Christchurch. We drove the mm to Sumner and then up to New Brighton. Good sandy beaches which we are sure would be packed if a sunny day. Even with the cool weather there were a lot of crazies trying to learn how to surf.

Quirky Living Note: I was reading a sign in a store window promoting a child care music program. The mothers, or stay at home dads, were being tempted with the closing line of “followed by a cuppa and a time to chat.” How can you stay away from the Tippy Toes Preschool Music with a come-on like that!

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