Saturday, July 03, 2010
A visit to Christchurch
Nick left today for Palmerston North, where he will be preaching tomorrow (Sunday), and then attending a week of School of Theology, followed by an FRBCNZ meeting next Saturday. It will be a good time for him, I think, as he connects with the other reformed pastors in NZ. The boys and I dropped him off at the airport: in Christchurch, a two-hour drive north! This was our second time in Chch, the first having been when we arrived. We did not take much in at that time after the hours and hours of airplane travel, so this time it was good to see a bit more of the city. We tried to leave early but only managed to leave home after 9 am, and this after a few false starts looking for my cellphone between home and the church. Had to stop halfway in Ashburton for a pitstop as well, and finally arrived in Chch around 11.30. Parked at the first mall we came to, bought a map, walked around the mall - a new experience since leaving SA, as Timaru doesn't boast such conveniences. It was small though and didn't take long to get from one side to the other. Exited, crossed the road, and we were straight into another mall. Oi. Walked around there extensively although I must confess that I was the only one excited about the shops...Nick and the boys sat waiting on a bench while I scouted around. Came to the conclusion that Timaru has pretty much everything we need. Bought our lunch at PaknSave and sat on a bench in the mall, observing all the passersby who mostly ignored us. Perhaps we looked like tourists. Or perhaps we looked like southerners, at odds with big city life! Left the mall after lunch and got to the airport with about five minutes to spare before Nick had to board. The airport was very simple to find and navigate - vastly different from our experience with OR Tembo. We parked in a drop-off zone, hastily said our goodbyes, and separated. I asked the boys if they wanted to drive through the city on the way home; they were agreeable but in hindsight would have said "NO WAY"!!! What followed was a half hour at least of feeling our way through the city centre, up and down one-ways, through masses of people and cars, traffic lights, turning lanes...I was getting desperate just to find a place to park so I could examine my map and figure out the next move. Eventually found another PaknSave where I could get my bearings and find the way to another big shop which had been recommended - Spotlight. We were impressed with its size and array of goods (considering this from a St Helenian experience as well...the mind boggles) but again, I'm very content with our smaller and quieter Timaru shops! The boys were relieved to get out of Christchurch and on the road home. On the whole, I did not like the city, much preferring the small-town lifestyle. Had tea with the Camerons - good not to have our first Nickless night alone at home. This trip away though, is nothing like his Ascension mission last year, where he was away for 30 days in a different country with limited contactability (were it not for the Williamsons' Skype vouchers, we would have been out of contact - here I can phone Nick's mobile from mine as much as I want to for free). This is only an 8-day separation and will be sure to fly.