Tuesday 20 August 2013

I am in Christchurch and I know it!

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night* to everyone! Since my arrival on Sunday, a lot has been done. I have food, explored the campus surroundings and the beautiful green parks, got a university's pass, completed the safety training, looked for a decent bike, met a bunch of cool people, bought a sim-card for mobile broadband access and several other things. I also tried to meet my supervisor, but he's on holidays yet, like many people here. Turned out that this week is the mid-term break. Oh yeah.

My room is in one of the Sonoda apartments, a group of Japanese-style living houses at the UCA student village. My room is already visible from the entrance above. You know it is Japanese, because the showerhead in highest position is at my chin's height, and the bathtub seems better fit for sumo-wrestlers than for tall Europeans like me. At least they managed to install a bed that is long enough for me.

One of my housemates is called Nate, he is a cool guy from New York and seemed to be an interesting person to talk to. Good for making new friendships, not? Well, the only problem is that he went back home today. Luckily I have two more housemates who are still staying here and very kind as well. Paola is from Italy and also arrived in the last week; and there is also another housemate but I only caught a glimpse of him yet. Paola and I are now making dinner in turns, we'll see if the third guy wants to join the shared cooking plan too.

Being down under, several things are upside down. For instance, I have ceiling heating. No floor heating or radiators, but the ceiling simply gets hot for a hour or two when I press a button. But does it work? Hot air stays up and cool air goes down, so theoretically there is no thermally-induced airflow in the room. If one had a thermal camera, it would see a blue room with a bright red ceiling. Or are the laws of thermal physics upside-down too?

Aaaaaaand, we have Dutch food! Beschuit, hagelslag, drop: it's all here! No need to import and sneak it through customs, just go to the shop 5 minutes from here. It also allows to make a price comparison. A Bolletje beschuit is €0.80 or so in Netherlands. Here it is $3.69. The currency exchange rate is about $1.00 = €0.60, which makes €2.21 for the beschuit, almost three times as expensive! Hagelslag is $8.69 or €5.21, and even the Euroshopper brand items are highly over-priced.

Native New Zealand stuff is more comparable to Dutch prices of course. €1.80 for six free range eggs, €1.97 for a whole bread, €1.20 for 1kg rice, €1.79 for 1kg bananas, you get the idea.

Tomorrow I go to another bicycle shop. It's at the other side of the town, but they have second-hand bikes there and offer special deals for limited-period adventure-seeking foreigners like me! Guess that my next update will include some cool bicycle shots. Stay tuned!

(* Strikeout what's inapplicable for you)


  1. Hey Vincent!
    Leuk om te lezen wat je daar zoal uitspookt in Nieuw-Zeeland! Ik hoop dat je het daar zeer naar je zin gaat hebben, maar ik denk dat dat we lgoed komt. ;)

  2. Hoi Anneroos, gaaf dat je mijn weblog ook volgt! Tot nu toe gaat het super hier, met allemaal leuke uitstapjes. Maar vanaf morgen (maandag) begint het echte werk op de universiteit. Ook best interessant hoor!