Monday, January 30, 2006

color photography by Abby Morton

The Christchurch Resolution

Saturday night Tim introduced the "Christchurch Resolution" into our lives. It was originally intended to keep us from giving up on good ideas after, say, one or two things go wrong, but Abby pointed out that more often our problem is not quitting before things get ridiculously out of hand. I'd liken it to a hiker setting a turn around time. Whether they reach the summit or not they'll turn around at a set time so they don't get caught in dangerous conditions. In life we also need turn around times. As an example I give you our story from Christchurch; however, there are many others. (sorry this is so long but it's necessary)

On our way back from New Zealand we had a three-hour layover in Christchurch right around dinner time. Flying over and seeing the coast, Tim had the idea to get a cab and get to the beach for dinner. We'd never been to Christchurch so we didn't know how far it would be but it looked possible in three hours. Upon landing we scoured the information booth for restaurants around the city and the coast. There were a ton of things on the strip so we decided to head there. But how get there? We found some buses and taxis but realized all we had to our name was $20 American, $6 New Zealand, credit cards, but no debit card, and a closed money exchange counter. We could charge dinner but how to we get to and from the city with $6 and banks closed throughout? The information lady couldn't help us book anything with our credit card but a travel agent offered to take us to a restaurant and drop us off...then we pray for a waitress to take us back again I guess. Then Abby found it. Like a golden nugget in a stream, The Five Dollar Bus. Well, at this moment we still can't afford it but it's so cheap - there had to be a way! We walk further down in the airport and ta da! Another money exchange was open. It would have been informational if the woman at the information counter had told us that! So Tim exchanged our last $20 and we rushed out to the street to wait for our cheap chariot. The brochure said it came every 20 minutes. If it came in 20 and we ate dinner for an hour and caught the shuttle back within 30 minutes we'd make it in time for our next flight. The plan was falling together perfectly...then it just started falling apart.
After sitting on the curb for 10 minutes, we started to worry. Another shuttle driver with higher rates had told us The Five Dollar Bus only comes every hour or so.....maybe. We watched eagerly and anxiously, but no bus. Meanwhile, a teenage girl drove her car through the bus lane with excessive speed - backwards - and pulled a sharp 180 to park in a restricted area. A security guard accosted her and it seemed she was on the verge of moving the car when the police arrived. Unfortunately, a large tour bus full of Japanese arrived simultaneously and blocked our view of the drama. When it left a few minutes later, we saw the officer apparently writing the sullen girl a ticket, but then a moment later a second bus obscured our view again. It was now about 20 minutes into our wait but we were beginning to be almost as concerned with the rebel punk girl as with catching The Five Dollar Bus. Then suddenly, the police cruiser emerged from behind the bus with the girl in the back seat and drove away! We were elated. Criminals get what they deserve! Traffic law reigns supreme in New Zealand!
30 minutes into our wait. No Five Dollar Bus. Dejected, we began to decry the lack of integrity maintained by the operators of The Five Dollar Bus. A few last longing looks down the lane, and we decided it was over. But just as we were headed back inside, a city bus pulled up to the terminal. "Let's try that!" said Abby, and we ran to catch it. We jumped aboard and asked the driver what it cost to go into town. Seven dollars. Seven times two, times two again, for two of us in and back, $28. For the first time in my life, I experienced the humiliation of telling a bus driver we couldn't afford the fare.
Once inside the terminal again, our efforts to find good food were equally elusive. There was a bar that advertised good burgers, but then it turned out their kitchen had just closed. The cafe where we'd eaten breakfast on our last layover was completely closed. Our one remaining option was another cafe downstairs with sandwiches and the like. There was pizza on the menu but when I asked what kinds they had, learned they were out of all pizza. I feel like there were a couple of other interesting things that they were also out of, but we settled on paninis and carrot cake.
I cannot describe how terrible the food was - all of it. And I shouldn't try because this story is way too long. But I hope it's conveyed the trouble we have in carrying out what seem like good plans. This sort of thing happens to us all the time.

Friday, January 27, 2006

This is "our" pier in Glenarchy, New Zealand. A year ago Tim carved our initials at the end and we went back to see them this year. If it hadn't been so windy and cold I'm sure the reunion would have been more romantic but either way it's nice to have your love graffittied into a beautiful landmark on the other side of the globe.
Ahh the Milford Track. This miniature waterfall was just off the side of the path. Most people probably miss it. How can so much beauty be packed into one place?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mavora's a lake in New Zealand and a special acronym for Tim and I. It came to be on one of our many road trips around the South Island and you know how ideas born in the car can be...but I still think this could be a good one. This blog is phase one of plan mavora.


Hopefully we'll get out some of our photography to you (and who knows, maybe we can fool someone into buying something someday) as well as update you on this adventure we call our life.