Sunday 22 April 2012

Days 385 & 386: Springfield and Christchurch

I didn't know if I had anything to write about Springfield and Christchurch, but Springfield turned out to be quite sweet.  The hostel was run by a quite elderly Dutch New Zealand couple, and it really felt like their house done up as a hostel.  I slept in a room with pink rosebud wallpaper carefully laid over a very complicated ceiling shape, under a roof at the top of some creaking and rather uneven stairs.  The bed looked suspiciously saggy at first glance and the bedspread was faded but it turned out to be ok.  There are lots of books all over the place, but unlike most backpackers hostels many must have belonged to their children.  Half of them turned out to be in Japanese which surprised me a bit until the owner told me his son was married to a Japanese woman, living in Japan and the kids speak Japanese and English and so on.  After that, I realised how many bits of Japanese culture they'd adopted.  There was a Japanese style tub in the shower room though it wasn't in use, a rack for keeping shoes on, and little labels in Japanese in various places, presumably for the kids.  They also had prints and a few books in Dutch, and someone in that household had the taste in contemporary British fiction I was referring to in the last post.  That's pretty cosmopolitan for a tiny country village!

Then I went for a walk around the town, which is basically two parallel streets, a main one and a secondary one.  At the corner, I found the Rewi Alley memorial park with boards commemorating the life of a guy from this little place who went off to China and stayed there, becoming a prominent internationalist, campaigning for various causes.  It would seem he was also a kind of possibly unofficial diplomat between New Zealand and China.  It kind of makes you wonder what contacts with the world the rest of the village has.  And actually, all this does not seem atypical of New Zealand.