Deja Vu all over again

PuntingThis is a spooky place – not only do we feel like we’re in the past, in a city themed on the mid-20th century, but we also feel that its been created to make you feel as if you’re somewhere else. Today, on our way to the art gallery and museum, we passed chaps providing rides on punts up the river. We could easily have been in Oxford! We had to do a double-take – 13,000 miles round the world to see what’s on your doorstep.

After 4 days of lots of walking, the girls are starting to tire a little – Charlotte has pulled a muscle in her leg, so we’re moving slowly and only for short distances today. It is amazing that the girls have as much energy as they do, because at the moment we’re still trying to re-programme their bed times to earlier than 10pm! But they love getting out of the hostel and exploring, and they equally love getting back to the hostel and being able to play or help with the cooking. (Yes, we managed to get into the New Excelsion Hostel, which is possible the best run hostel we’ve stayed in for a long time. It’s a bit curious that everybody seems to be around our age – there’s another family on an 8-week holiday in Oz/NZ, as well as lots of couples. Normally we feel a bit out of it in a hostel, because there’s a generation gap between us and most of the others. But in this hostel it seems okay – perhaps that will be repeated throughout New Zealand?)

But the girls love any hostel – lots to see and explore, and different people to talk to (they must be sick of hearing our conversations all of the time!). In fact, they seem to find it easier to settle down in a new hostel than we do, as they just dump their bags and go off to find everything. Its a definite eye opener into how independent children can be when they get the chance (hmmm, something to be watched too!). An Evening at the Ballet

BalletbriefsWhile wandering Christchurch today we passed the Court Theatre, and saw that they had a show on called ‘Ballet Briefs’, and about half an hour before curtain up, sitting eating dinner, we decided we’d go. After all, what’s a trip around the world without a bit of local culture? So we dashed across town, frantically grabbed tickets and hopped into our seats as the lights began to dim.

It was the ballet equivalent of the Reduced Shakespeare Company – 6 ballets in one and a half hours. As they described it in the introduction, it’s “ballet without the boring bits”. Its difficult to describe how side-splittingly funny it is to see two guys in tutus/fairy costumes/tights/whatever performing all the parts in a classic opera like Swan Lake. There was definitely some interpretation needed, but the girls loved it, and we were relieved that the ‘adult’ jokes went straight over their heads. I’ve never been to ballet before, although Sarah and Charlotte go to the ballet in Oxford every Christmas, but I’ve saved myself loads of time – instead of sitting for 9 hours through all of these ballets, I’ve had the works in an evening! Mind you, I don’t suppose I’ve had the full story, but then if you can see one ballerina (male, bald and overweight) doing the classic Swan Lake pas de deux then I’m sure that its possible to imagine the whole chorus line of 30 beautiful ballerinas doing the same thing (but in time, not out of breath and not gasping for a cigarette!).

If you get the chance, see it – there’s enough classical ballet manoeuvres to satisfy that it is ‘proper ballet’, and enough jokes to make a philistine, like me, laugh.