Casino nights and creative stints

Oh man, it’s been about two weeks since my last update. WAIT, I CAN EXPLAIN!

Things have been quite busy around here the last little while. We’ve managed to successfully get a place in Auckland as of July 31, which is a huge relief since it means we won’t have to camp out in a park or something. We fly down the 31 to August 2 for our first trip, then again on the 9 for good. Or, well, for eight weeks at least.

Kylie and I also went to the Christchurch casino for the first time, along with some friends; the casino has an all-you-can-eat burger night on Thursdays, so we partook in that before hitting the slots. After losing about ten dollars, a well-timed max bet netted me over five grand, so needless to say, the night was a success in the end. You’re not allowed to take pictures in the casino, so here is a representation of what happened.


You can tell I used to draw comics for a living, can’t you? Anyways, that comic isn’t the only form of creativity I’ve been practicing these last weeks. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been frequenting a site called Sporcle – it’s a site with tons of quizzes and you should definitely check it out if you have the time (and let’s be real, if you’re reading this, you have the time)! When you do, you should start by checking out the quizzes I have created, spending hours and hours getting them just right. Links are here:

Monopoly quiz – think you know Monopoly?

Zelda: Majora’s Mask logic/knowledge quiz – Logic and knowledge required.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time A-Z – Name the items associated with the best game of all time.


I’ve also been trucking away at my “novel” – I’ve set myself a personal goal of the end of November to be finished. I’m forty-seven pages in so far (~15,600 words) so it’s going well. I’ve been pushing myself to add 500 words per day and have mostly kept it up for the past while.

On the other end of the artistic spectrum, Kylie and I have been creating some lovely music, so here are some more links for you to check out, share, like, subscribe to, whatever you do on YouTube.

Hey Ho – Lumineers cover

No Rain – Blind Melon cover (featuring flute)

And I have a few on SoundCloud too:


I think that about covers the links I wanted to give you! I’d have way more content if I hadn’t finally decided to watch Breaking Bad. Holy shit, I just…wow.

Oh! I also lost my onesie virginity on Thursday.


More updates soon: Auckland in less than two weeks!

Follow along for updates, pictures and 15-second covers:

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

(Ok there were two more links.)



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Music, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going-ons in Christchurch

Hi all – sorry for the longish absence. It’s been a busy last little while!

First off, happy belated Canada Day, and happy current Independence Day for all those ‘muricans that may read this.


I’ve now been in Christchurch, New Zealand for three months, and things are changing up a bit. Kylie and I celebrated our eleven months the other day, and as well, we got a room together at one of my landlady’s other houses – it’s only for five weeks or so, until we go to Auckland, but in addition to getting to live together, it’s saving us both a lot on our rents, which is nice.

Recently, we’ve been taking advantage of a sweet deal at the movies (five tickets for 50 bucks) and seeing all the new films as they come out. We’ve seen Transformers 4, 22 Jump Street, Edge of Tomorrow, a delightful NZ film called What we do in the Shadows, X-Men: Days of Future Past, probably more that I’m missing, and last night we saw How to train your Dragon 2.


In line for next week is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and shortly after that, Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s been fun! When we’re not doing that, we’ve been busy looking for rooms, flights, etc. We have a good lead on a room in Auckland that won’t break the bank, and we’re hoping to confirm getting it this week. We’ve also started planning our trip to Australia, which will be in the first week of October most likely, and even started looking at flights home (gotta book early!) for some time in the new year.

In other news, I’m just over 10,500 words into my attempt at a fantasy novel, and the ideas are still flowing, so that’s good; I’m also creating quizzes on Sporcle – only one so far, but I have ideas. It’s just over a month into winter here, and the lowest the temperature has dipped is -2 degrees C. On average it’s about 12 degrees, so that’s nice.

Kylie got a job at a jewellery kiosk in the mall, so that’s keeping her busy as well as bringing in more income. Yay! Also, we’ve started doing covers of songs! Check it out on my Instagram (link below) or my YouTube page. Our goal is one per week.

To celebrate three months in New Zealand, here are some words we say that they say differently:

Us vs. Them

Counter – Bench
Trunk (car) – Boot
Gas – Petrol
Pop – Fizzy
Five-thirty (time) – Half-five
Canada – Canadia

That’s all for now, keep following for more updates.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Holiday, List, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don’t want to live on this planet anymore

Guys and gals, when it comes to internet-related things, I’d consider myself a veteran. I’ve seen a lot of shit – from the early beginnings on the kid-friendly Neopets, to the teen-thrilling Runescape, where I was more likely to be called rude names or start flame wars than to complete quests, to everyday internet scourges where images that could be – probably are – offensive to some people pop up. What I’m getting at, here, is that it’s hard to offend me on the internet or otherwise (I play Halo 4 online and don’t even flinch). But today, I came across something on the internet that offended me, and it should offend you too.

A fellow by the name of Taylor Caniff was the subject of quite the Twitter brawl this evening. Now, I hadn’t heard of this kid before today, so in case you haven’t, here are the details as I can find them:

  • He became famous through the video-sharing app, Vine
  • He’s part of a (band/group/something?) called Magcon that goes on tours
  • He also posts to Instagram, YouTube, etc.

On his Twitter, this guy has more than a million followers – no small feat, I’m sure. A loyal fan base, if you will. Now, Monday evening – or, at least, that’s when I came across it – a man by the name of Tyler Oakley, another YouTube personality (that’s a thing now?) called Taylor out for this video, which he filmed about two years ago (language NSFW).

Click to watch the video. It’s only 37 seconds.

Okay. So. I imagine most of you had the same reaction after watching that, that I did. Disbelief, mixed with rage, sadness, disappointment, you name it. I just couldn’t believe it. So I watched it again. The feelings did not abate.

There are a few angles I want to approach this from. Obviously, the first would be the content of the video. I will never understand how anyone can say something like “I have nothing against blank, but…” then go on to trash talk them. Saying you have nothing against someone does not give you the right to say whatever you want about them. How can anyone think differently?

Secondly, pertaining to the content, this kid, after saying he finds it fucked up how gay people make love, corrects himself: he says man on man is disgusting, but woman on woman? Well, he can understand that.

WHAT? WHAT? I can’t even…like…what? It defies reason that someone can say this, quite seriously, as if it’s logical. Perhaps he likes watching lesbian porn, so that’s why woman on woman is okay? Not only does this blatantly display his ignorance of the meaning of “gay”, it brings misogyny in as well. Objectification, anyone? Here’s a joke: why was the blog writer odd? Because he couldn’t even.

As far as I can tell from searching through literally thousands of tweets (more on that in a minute), the Tyler Oakley dude, who is himself a homosexual and an “advocate for LGBT youth” according to his bio, is not without controversy himself. From what I can gather, he called out the Taylor Caniff guy for that video linked above. Twitter exploded, and this was the tweet, from Caniff, that kept popping up:


Spelling mistakes aside –and you know how much I hate spelling mistakes – this tweet, to many, many people, not only failed to apologize, but further insinuated that he hadn’t done anything wrong by posting the video. Now, I’ve also seen a bunch of tweets referencing an apology he made. I couldn’t find it anywhere, but I actually only looked on Twitter. And only back to May 26 or so. And even that is far more research than I normally put into these things.

The next thing, and the thing that worries me the most, is the fandom. Oh, the fandom. “Taylor Caniff” was trending on Twitter, at least Canada-wide, as was “WeLoveYouTaylor”. Wait, what? We LOVE you? I waded through insufferable tweet after insufferable tweet, grimacing at blatant spelling and grammar errors, to bring you some screenshots. Mixed among the rubble were a few tweets like this:

against tweet

That may be a little harsh. But, sadly, there were far, far more like this.

girl tweets


I just…it blows my mind. My first thought was, why do kids who appear to be no more than 13 even have Twitter? What the hell? The vast majority of the fans appeared to be young people, and it frightens me how singular-minded they can be.

I just don’t understand. Who’s to blame here? Is anyone to blame? This guy, through whatever means, has become a role model for hundreds of thousands of people. Obviously he’s done things to merit this, but the scary part is how his fans are blind to everything negative. He posts a homophobic, misogynistic, and downright disgusting video, and people are JUMPING to defend him.

“Oh it was two years ago, get over it.” That was a common defense I saw.

“Why are people hating? Taylor doesn’t deserve this.” Another popular one.

Do these young followers support this guy because they think he’ll lavish attention on them? Half of them were crying for a follow (it’s a Twitter thing…never mind), as well as bestowing well-wishes and claiming their undying love for this person they’ve, in all likelihood, never met nor will ever meet. Perhaps they think by leaping to his defense, they’ll earn a place in his good books? I don’t know. I can barely remember this morning, much less how I thought when I was a 13 year old.

If that’s the explanation, it’s ridiculous. However, it’s probably better than the alternative: these kids actually think he did nothing wrong.

Another popular defense of this guy was that “everyone is allowed to have an opinion.” And yes, unfortunately his opinion is probably shared by more people than it should be. But here’s the difference: these people didn’t go on social media and post their opinion, which was also phrased extremely crudely, to hundreds of thousands of young, impressionable people. There’s having an opinion, and then there’s hate speech. No one has a right, regardless of their opinion or “fame”, to infringe on anyone else’s rights. When will people realize that?

Not all young people sided with Caniff, though. And the ones who didn’t were spouting stuff that was just as bad, and proves that Twitter and internet access in general should be banned, or strictly monitored, until you’re 18, at LEAST. Among the most popular wishes was for the young man to kill himself. Obviously, not cool. About 45 minutes after I stumbled into this deluge of tweeting and hash tagging, the man under fire posted a Vine showing him driving in a car at night. This led to another Twitter explosion, this time of fans begging Taylor not to kill himself, begging him to favourite a tweet or something, just to show them he was alright. People were still tweeting him messages of #bestrong etc. when I shut down the computer for the night.

Here was the scariest moment of all, though.

commits 2
commits 3

This guy – intentionally or not – has people wrapped around his finger. These people have never met him, yet are saying if he kills himself, they too will kill themselves. What the HELL is going on?

Again I ask, who’s to blame here? Is Taylor Caniff to blame for gaining the affection of hundreds of thousands of people, and not being a proper role model? Are the fans to blame, for blinding themselves to his faults, for whatever reason, and turning a fandom into almost a cult? Are their parents to blame for raising them in a way that doesn’t allow acceptance of people who are different?

I don’t know. I really don’t know. The one thing I do know, though, is that there has never been a better time to use this picture.


Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Categories: Blog, Rant | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Island and things

Hey all!

Well, it’s official: Kylie got her placement confirmed at a school in Auckland, and we’ve booked our flights (plural needed due to a large excess of baggage…between the two of us…).

I’m excited, as not only do I get to see a new place, I get to start the countdown for leaving the pallet-making company. Surprisingly, the job isn’t bad at all. It goes quickly, builds strength, and isn’t very difficult to comprehend. That being said, I don’t want to do it for like seven years or anything.

I made a comprehensive to-do list of things I want to, well, do, while I’m on North Island:

  1. Check out the Lord of the Rings sites
  2. Other things too, probably

Other than that, things are pretty much the same. We’ve kind of settled into a routine: I get up at 6:30, go to work to pay the bills, then collapse in bed around 10:30 and pass out. It’s been winter here for almost three weeks, and I bought my first new “coat” since starting university back in ’08. It looks kind of like a peacoat, but is nowhere near as warm. However, it’s still too warm for the “winter” here.

To pass the time between finishing work and going into my nightly coma, I’ve been playing the guitar a bit. I’ve been posting 15 second covers on Instagram – they’re perfect because I can sound good for 15 seconds. That being said, I did create a soundcloud for longer covers, and just posted the first one – you can check that out here if you so desire.

Exciting things are on the horizon. Follow along so you don’t miss out!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, List, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the north

Hello all! Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently; it was my birthday week and so I’ve been getting belligerently drunk all day every day for the last seven or eight days.

JUST KIDDING! I’ve been going to bed at 10 p.m. so I can get up to go to the pallet factory. But I’m only there for another 8 weeks or so; after that, I’m moving up to Auckland!

What!? Well hey now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. These things –that is, life recaps – have to be done in chronological order; it’s the rule.

You may have noticed a few semicolons used in the past few paragraphs (if you didn’t, don’t worry, at least you’re pretty); I’ve been working on my future-best-selling novel and have slowly become comfortable using them – correctly or not remains to be seen – again after having them beaten out of me at the Gazette. I’m pumped with the progress I’ve made, although it is slow going. They say every story has a beginning, middle, and end, right? Well, I’ve written the beginning and end, and now all I have left to do is fill in the middle. Should be easy!

In other news, I had a winter birthday for the first time ever. Apparently June 1 is the first day of “winter” in this strange land?

chch winter

Anyways, to celebrate, I went to a bar with about five or six young women – Kylie, her flatmates and their friends. I felt old.

Kylie, being the creative entity she is, got me a few awesome gifts:

Yeah, it's a Zelda mug; fill it with hot water, and the heart container fills up.

Yeah, it’s a Zelda mug; fill it with hot water, and the heart container fills up.

big cup

As you can tell, the theme this year was “mugs.” She also got me some books and candy, and her flatmate Susie got me a very rude card as well.

So now, onto the travel plans! It all actually seemed to come together rather nicely, as if the universe were saying “hey guy, you should go to Auckland, or something.” I applied for a radio internship in Auckland, and although I didn’t get it (at least, I haven’t heard from them yet and it starts on the 16 so I assume that) it got me thinking it’d be exciting to check out Auckland. Then, Kylie’s placement coordinator sent out an email saying they wanted people to do their placements outside of Christchurch. THEN, one of the airlines offered some pretty sick deals for flights, including some to Auckland and back. So we’re heading up at the end of July just for a weekend to take my bag of stuff and one of Kylie’s bags, find a place, check out the lay of the land, etc. Then, August 9 we head up again, taking Kylie’s remaining bags, and we’ll be there for like two months or something. Pretty exciting!

I’m now counting down the days until I move on from the pallet factory. I’ll be pursuing the background talent stuff so who knows, maybe I’ll become a huge New Zealand star?

Doubtful, but follow me just in case.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Antarctic excursion

Today, I wanted to surprise Kylie, so I took her on an impromptu date to the Antarctic.

Well, as close to the Antarctic as I’m likely to get – for the foreseeable future, anyways. Christchurch is actually only about 1,800km from one of the main Antarctic base camps – not all that far, really. We visited the International Antarctic Centre which, aside from providing tours and a range of activities, is actually the gateway for people venturing to the coldest, windiest, and driest continent in the world.

Kylie was quite a good sport about it; I sprung the fact that we were going on a date on her late Friday night, while we were waiting for a bus to take us to see Maleficent– which was very good, by the way – and that she wouldn’t be able to sleep in on her Saturday. Although I refused to tell her where we were going, she agreed, and we left for the bus stop around 10:10 Saturday morning.

She didn’t know where were going until we got off the bus and saw this:


We checked in at the main counter, and one of my fears was relieved; I had thought I’d have to plan out our order of activities, but that wasn’t the case. A nice lady at the counter gave us a little map and wrote times beside when we should go to specific activities. First up: a ride in a Hagglund.


The Hagglund is an amphibious Antarctic vehicle – and these were authentic ones. We boarded for the ride – but first we took a selfie.


The ride consisted of a trip around a unique course designed to recreate conditions of traversing the Antarctic tundra. Contrary to what you might believe, the ride wouldn’t be smooth; blowing winds spread dirt, gravel, and ice chunks over the surface, making it a bumpy ride, which we experienced. We also went up some steep inclines and plummeted down – the jostling had us gripping our handholds for dear life – and finally went through a small pond that was three metres deep. The Hagglund handled it with ease.


After our ride, we entered the Explorers’ Legacy room. It had lots of props, like a cabin, flags, penguins, and more, and also had changing lights and weather conditions, including a sunrise and “snow” (bubbles).


Showin' em who's boss

Showin’ em who’s boss


Next up, we went into the “snow and ice experience” – a room kept at -8 degrees Celsius, with snow and an ice slide and some cool props like an igloo and snowmobile. We put on authentic Antarctic coats, even though -8 is a warm spring day in Canada.

10374477_10152155504752076_2700479891375157273_n 20140531_112916 20140531_113044

Every half hour, an “Antarctic storm” would sweep through the room, gusting up to a terrifying 35kph and dropping the room’s temperature to -18.4 degrees Celsius with wind chill. This was a neat experience, as the lights went out and a voice crackled over a radio warning of an incoming storm. It reminded me of the day in April when I left home, except not quite as cold.

After we escaped from the Antarctic storm, we went to see a cool 4D movie about journeying to the Antarctic. The seats moved, we felt the cold spray of the ocean – and some seagull poop that hit us in the face – and saw some stunning cinematography.


After that neat little experience, we went to a gallery of Antarctic memorabilia, including rocks and fossils, equipment, food samples, and much more. There was a station where you could dress up in authentic gear again – we didn’t bother with the pants, gloves, boots, hats etc., but I tried on a jacket that looked a lot like a Western University official Canada Goose jacket.


Finally, we wandered into the Little Blue Penguin exhibit. These guys are the smallest species of penguin, and, as you’d expect, are adorable.


It’s actually quite a touching story – each of the penguins (there are about 12 I think) were rescued. They all have some sort of disability which would have made it highly unlikely that they survived in the wild, and were brought to the IAC to live their lives. One, named Marty, was born with her left leg paralyzed, and so swims in a peculiar fashion; she also has her own spot near the corner of their enclosure.


Another one is missing a leg, a few are blind in one eye, and one, named Toto, is 23 years old and has cataracts and Alzheimer’s. Only two per cent of penguins live to age 20 – most last six or seven years – so she’s truly remarkable. We stayed around for feeding time, and then visited the gift shop to pick up some swag. Kylie got some shirts and kindly purchased me a coffee travel mug.

All in all it was quite a fun day, with immersive experiences and a bit of education thrown in to boot. It almost makes me want to visit the Antarctic…although I’ll probably settle for just going home.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes




Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Holiday, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Handling wood like a pro

Happy hump day all y’all! I’ve worked for a week at my job handling wood now, and I’ve come up with a list of imperative dos and don’ts you need to follow, should you ever find yourself surrounded by wood.

Size matters.


When it comes to wood, size is everything – so much so, in fact, that if a piece of wood is off by more than three millimetres, it has to be recut. There’s an age-old adage that says something like “measure twice, cut once” – I didn’t bother looking up the exact words – but that’s actually an understatement if anything; you really need to measure five times, cut once, then measure the wood you cut to make sure it’s right. Also continue to measure periodically, as the blocks tend to shift slightly, and 1mm is all it will take to ruin you. My saw partner and I spent two hours yesterday unstacking a pallet of cut wood to shave off five millimetres from the ends, because the kids who cut it weren’t careful. New saying: measure all the times, and then cut.

Handling wood can be messy.


I learned this extremely obvious one the hard way. On my first day on the job, I wore my other pair of jeans – for the record, I had two pairs: my black ones I wear every day, and some blue ones; I’ve since bought more – and they immediately went from nice jeans, to work jeans only. Little wood pellets, sawdust, dirt, and paint now adorn my formerly-classy jeans – and even a quick rinse in the washer won’t fix that now.

Wear the proper protection.

Well this is a classic one. When dealing with wood, it’s necessary to use protection for your safety, as well as the safety of those around you. The people in charge say that, when you’re cutting and stacking wood, you don’t need to wear safety glasses, just ear plugs. False. I can’t count the amount of times –okay it’s seven – where I’ve had to stop because a bit of dust leapt off the wood right into my eye. It doesn’t help that we have giant doors there, and the wind blows through them all day every day. I also went about ten minutes on my first day without gloves; that was dumb. So, so dumb.

Be gentle but firm with the wood.

If you’re getting the wood onto the belt in order to cut it, there’s a technique to it. You have to use physics and science and whatnot to swing it on. However, if you do this too violently, the long-ass wood will snap, which is really damn inconvenient. You have to roll the wood, coax the wood, but you can’t let it rule you. When stacking cut wood into piles, it’s okay to kick it into place, but not too hard. Your steel-toe boots can damage the poor thing.

Don’t try to handle too much wood by yourself.


The biggest wood I’ve had to handle thus far was planks of the stuff measuring 3.6 metres. That’s pretty long wood. Since the planks are relatively thin, handling one is no problem; however, if there are two or three stacked on each other, I need my partner’s help. It’s important not to try to take on more wood than you can handle, because it can cause things to get messy and slow down production. Remember: don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help handling large loads of wood.

Embrace the wood jokes.

As a worker in an all-male plant handling tons of wood, you have to be able to take the jokes that inevitably come despite you doing nothing at all to bring it upon yourself. Also, for some reason, the radio station on in the factory – side note, it’s called myFM…weird! – always plays Timber by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha (did I spell that right?), and when it comes on, it’s appropriate to do anything from smirking when she yells timber, to singing and dancing along with the song. As long as the boss isn’t around, anyways.

Follow along with my adventures with wood!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, List, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning to handle wood

Hello lovely people! Also, non-lovely people; I don’t discriminate.

Let me start off by saying in the last two days, I’ve seen and handled more wood than I’ve ever had to before.




Last weekend, I grew weary of living the dream – that is, I got bored with not having anything to do all day, plus my bank account was a little lower than I liked – so I applied to a bunch of jobs. I got an interview for two; the first was a temp agency, the second a courier position. I didn’t get the courier job because I surprisingly failed a New Zealand geography test. Fortunately, the temp agency interview consisted of watching some videos and filling out paperwork. I went in at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and left at 11 a.m. with a job lined up for the following morning. I’ve been working there for the last two days, and the first day left me incapacitated and unable to write about it – it involves working at a pallet-building company from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. We’re not allowed phones on the floor, but here’s an approximate picture of what it looks like.


It’s not hard work – it consists of cutting, stacking, nailing, or painting wood. It surprisingly doesn’t get all that boring, and the time goes pretty quickly. The only problem is that to get there I have to walk 15 minutes, take a bus, and then walk another half-hour. But for 115 bucks a day I’ll put up with it.

It’s also a pretty good job because it’s basically a free gym membership; while the wood doesn’t weight much, repeated lifting, twisting and placing will have me in shape in no time. Not to mention the hour of walking every day.

In the meantime, a few other things are on the go; I applied to a travel-writing thing which I should hear back from soon – if I win, I get to go on a 10-day excursion through Europe and write about it. I’m also applying for an internship (paid! Suck on THAT Canada) for a popular radio station here, so we’ll see how that goes.

Now, I must be off; I am going to see X-Men: Days of Future Past now. I’ll let you know how it is!


Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visiting Riccarton House & Bush

Sundays exists for the sole purpose of doing nothing. You can lie in bed all day, walk around in your pyjamas, and get piss all done. However, since most days have been like that for me recently, today I decided to get out and see more of Christchurch. Kylie and I went to explore a local art market at the Riccarton House. We took a nice, leisurely walk down there – it took us about 20 minutes – in beautiful autumn weather.


While it was smaller than I expected, it still had some pretty cool stalls.


A lot of the stuff there was handmade, and some of the stalls’ owners were spinning the wool as we watched. The results were pretty cool.



After we browsed for a bit, we noticed a path leading to the Riccarton Bush; this is a fenced off area with no predators allowed in, that contains some of the oldest, largest, and rarest trees in Canterbury.



There was quite big loop trail that went through the forest, and a bunch of different plant specimens to look at. Eventually I got hungry so we left, but not before Kylie got a picture with a big tree resembling the Deku Tree.


Definitely another place worth visiting in Christchurch; the arts market is only on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so plan accordingly. The Bush is open while the sun is up, though, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.

On another note, we also saw Godzilla the other night. Fan-freaking-tastic. It really takes me back to when I was about ten, watching the last version of Godzilla to come out. There isn’t much plot; some guy who looks like a mix between Frodo and Harry Potter is the son of Bryan Cranston and does a bunch of stuff then Godzilla shows up. I also found out that X-men: Days of Future Past comes out on the 22nd here, as opposed to the 23rd in Canada…so I’ll be sure to post a full, spoiler-filled post before you have the chance to see it.

Don’t miss it!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes




Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, Holiday, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Places to see in Christchurch: Re:START

Hey all! I’ve decided to explore Christchurch and write about interesting aspects of it. This is my first post in a series called Places to see in Christchurch. Enjoy!


Christchurch, New Zealand, is still very much a city in the rebuilding phase. On February 22, 2011, New Zealand’s second-largest city was hit by a powerful earthquake that killed 185 people and caused an estimated $40 billion cost to insurers. Some economists said it may take between 50 and 100 years for New Zealand’s economy to completely recover.

However, the Kiwis didn’t sit around and complain; they got to work to make things better. One innovation that sprung into being a scant eight months after the disaster is called Re:START – affectionately referred to as the Container Mall.


It’s not only innovative, but beautiful as well. The services there range from coffee, to clothing, to books, to Lululemon apparel, to temporary banks – in fact, since it opened in October 2011, the number of stores has gone from 27 to over 50.




As you can tell from the photos, the stores are set up in shipping containers. While it isn’t uncommon to see all kinds of containers being used for a variety of purposes around Christchurch now, when it was proposed in 2011 it was a unique idea.





The significance of this idea was huge; having shops open and accessible was paramount  for bringing tourism back to the Christchurch Central Business District. While approximately 80 per cent of the CBD was demolished in the earthquake, Re:START is a not only proof that stores can be rebuilt in the city’s heart, but it was also a means to get retailers open much more quickly than they could have been otherwise.



The Container Mall has been operating successfully since 2011, bringing tourism and hope back to Christchurch’s city core. It has everything you’d expect at a regular mall, but has the added benefit of being outdoors. Due to its success, preparations were able to get underway to create a more permanent structure called Cashel Square; you can see them preparing the area here.


From what I understand, the containers that are moved will be used elsewhere for an equally important purpose. Re:START was made possible by an interest free loan of over $3 million, as well as sponsorships – and it was definitely a worthwhile investment.



If you’re in the area, I’d recommend taking the time to see this gem, situated in the middle of the CBD. The juxtaposition of the orderly container stores against the ruins of buildings and rubble will really make you pause, think, and appreciate the enormity of what happened, and applaud those who did something about it. They remember what happened…


Bridge of Remembrance


…but they don’t let it hold them back.



Yesterday is history, ’tis so far away. Yesterday is poetry, ’tis philosophy. Yesterday is mystery, where it is today. While we shrewdly speculate, flutter both away.


Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes





Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, Holiday, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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