Wednesday June 20th 2012
Today we would finally get to see our little brother Max, who was studying abroad in Christchurch, NZ. Christchurch is, sadly, most famous for a crippling earthquake endured in June 2011 (just one year before we would make our way down). Max was not even sure he would be able to complete his study abroad program at one point. Luckily, he has been fine and has thoroughly enjoyed his time on the South Island.
One thing that is remarkable about New Zealand is the ease and economy of air travel. Our flight was close to 70 USD and the airport security wasn’t a tad bit invasive or time-consuming. The plane was new, stewardesses were friendly. Definitely reinforces my earlier diatribe on the hassle of US air travel. The US has numerous challenges that New Zealand does not face but it was still noteworthy how pleasant the experience was. It also didn’t hurt to have these views of the Southern Alps on the way in.
After arriving in Christchurch, we headed over to the Foundry, a student pub on the University of Canterbury’s campus. We had the unique experience of catching the end of an NBA finals game live. This immediately brought me back to similar evenings at Mabee Dining Hall, on the campus of Trinity University. I started to notice the announcers talk about the game and, specifically, their generous use of strong adjectives. “Pivotal, crucial, important, momentous.” After spending just a few days in New Zealand, this struck me as pretty comical. There is so much going on and so much to see in the world while these sporting events are occurring. That’s not to say that I didn’t get wrapped up in the game at all. Similar to my earlier post on the recent Houston Rockets playoff game I went to, the idea reinforced was that sports are an entertainment outlet. Placing more importance or weight on sports than your other entertainment outlets could turn you into a buffoon losing a shouting match with a thirteen year old.
We spent the evening walking around town until we found a seemingly ramshackle Chinese restaurant that was immensely popular with the UC students. The building was cramped and the accommodations were modest but the atmosphere was inviting. There were large tables of college students sharing bottles of wine and loudly chattering. The warmth and happiness of the students was palpable. This place reminded me of Main Street Pizza in San Antonio, Texas. Main Street had legendary $3 personal pizzas and the famously corny free “Trini-Tea”, offered for Trinity University students. I can remember so many nights spent there having loud, inappropriate and carefree conversations with friends.