Category Archives: Christchurch

Happy (End of) Channukah

Nothing reminds you that you’re Down Under more than celebrating The Festival of Lights in the middle of the summer. We’re not even getting sunset until 9 o’clock, much less the first three stars. And when you’re lighting candles that late, it becomes particularly necessary to have ones that will only last an hour or two.

But where do you find Channukah candles in the lovely Christian city of Christchurch? Unfortunately, the one local synagogue never called me back. Luckily, there’s a listing for candles in the yellow pages. Unluckily, it led us to a warehouse.

“Do you sell to the public?”

We were greeted by a stare and a hesitation.

“Not normally, but what are you looking for?”

Hurrah for New Zealand, the land of small towns and friendly people. The lady sold us two boxes of excellent non-Channukah, Channukah candles. That only left us with the question of where to find a menorah.
Luckily, there’s construction on our road. This means that there’s a nice pile of rocks a few houses down. No one noticed us pillage the pile in the twilight hours. That, a bit of fossicking at the beach, and some colored wax from the birthday candles I bought just in case we couldn’t find Channukah candles, and we had a menorah!

Off the road again

There is a very important announcement which requires us to break our silence: we have flatmates! And flat-cats! And flat-wireless internet access (but Mekayla thinks this is less important).

We have been very distracted by the South Island these past weeks, and keep wandering away from Christchurch to go exploring in the mountains and discover locations to go for some multiday backpacking in the future.

We went for a real Kiwi style tramp this past weekend. We didn’t have to ford a river, but we did stay in a hut. We fell asleep to the bleating of sheep and the scurrying of mice. Next time we need to do more than one night.

The hut system in New Zealand is extensive. People wander through the wilderness for days, and spend their nights warming up and drying out in the huts. You have to have some place to dry out when your trek requires you to ford multiple rivers each day. The one we stayed in was a three room stone house built in 1919. Not too much had changed in it since it was built. Except that the old black and white photos of the place looked much cozier.