This first weekend was busy! Just the way I like it. Friday evening started with a dinner hosted by a couple of my coworkers. Our office has practically taken over a motel near where we work & conveniently one of the rooms is an apartment suite–so while three people live together they have a very nice entertaining and living space for the rest of us to gather. It was a great chance to just chill outside of the office and finally get a chance to meet everyone. There are engineers from all over California, Chicago, Dallas, New York, & I solely represent the DC office. If not for everything else, this trip has been a really great chance to meet my fellow employees from across America. I’m sure anyone in a multiple-office company can relate–sometimes it’s a bit hard to visualize your network outside of your office walls, especially as a newer/younger employee.
After waking up this morning and getting breakfast and my new favorite Flat White espresso drink from a local cafe, I decided to take an adventure. Typically the employees here try to do a trip most weekends; however, this weekend seemed a bit more laid back/relaxing. I was told that Akaroa was a nice scenic town within a 1.5 hour drive from Christchurch. So I hoped in the Ford Focus with my brand new road map and went for it. Luckily, there’s really not too many roads in New Zealand, and once you get out of the city there’s only one road to take you to where you need to go. My view was the same the whole car ride. Not complaining–
To get to Akaroa from Christchurch there’s a bit of a mountain range in the way, and as I heard someone cleverly describe – New Zealand isn’t idiot proof like America. There were some very steep and hairpin corner turns on this drive that did not have anything resembling a guardrail. When I started the climb up and over the hills I actually got a bit dizzy just looking to my left and seeing the steep drops. Although the crazy ride just meant crazy nice views. I made it to Akaroa and this is the view from the bay in front of most storefronts–
The town of Akaroa is a small, originally, french settlement town at the base of some old volcanic rock. When I say small, the population is 500. However, it’s still a popular, quaint little town to visit. I wondered along the beach stepping into a few shops to take a look. I didn’t plan on staying too long, I really just wanted to go for a drive and see a bit more of the country. I stopped in a cafe by the water to soak in the view with a lemonade and carrot cake before deciding to head back to the car.
On the ride back to Christchurch I made sure to stop at a hilltop cafe to capture this photo–
The plan for Saturday night was to go to a Rugby Union match. Christchurch’s team–the Crusaders–are quite popular and have done fairly well the past several years in the league. It doesn’t hurt that they have the famous All Blacks player Dan Carter on their team. Don’t know who Dan Carter is? I didn’t either, but my coworkers said I’d eventually see his Jockey underwear ads all over the place. Think Tom Brady of New Zealand?
The Christchurch stadium, like most other things in Christchurch, is in a bit of disrepair; therefore, they popped up a makeshift stadium in a few months as a temporary fix. It was kind of like going to a small college football game, but still provided a lot of fun for everyone. One thing I’ve come to learn is that the Kiwis are a pretty tough gang of people! They’re resilient and they make it work.
Now it’s Sunday & I’m off to find another cafe for breakfast. I also have to do some typical housekeeping things like buy some laundry detergent considering I only brought a weeks worth of work polo shirts (the best part of this job is wearing jeans + polo to work everyday). I’m still getting used to the fact that I get a whole new set of fresh towels everyday and my dishes are always done for me. I have to make sure I don’t get TOO used to this for when I get back to the States!
The team is planing on grilling up some lunch and playing Rugby in the park this afternoon, so I’m sure I can look forward to a lot of fun and probably a lot of soreness later.