Posts Tagged With: christchurch

Auckland adventures

Well, I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Auckland this week, and let me just say: I love it already.

The flight was the easiest thing ever. Kylie and I walked ten minutes to our bus stop, and it took us directly to the domestic terminal. Checking our luggage and passing through security literally took a combined time of less than ten minutes, and the flight itself was just over an hour.

Since we were new to the area we didn’t know the bus routes, so we had to take a cab to our new place from the airport – that set us back about eighty bucks, but we didn’t have much alternative. However, after exploring the city for a few days, we now know the buses well enough to get back at a much cheaper cost.

Speaking of cheaper costs, our new room is about fifty dollars cheaper per week than our current place – yet it’s about five times the size; it has its own lounge, and the last guy in there left his TV and PS3 behind. YES.

20140702_20361820140702_203728 20140702_203631 20140702_203645

Like I said, Kylie and I got out and explored the town. It’s exactly like Toronto, except about half the population, very little garbage in the streets, much less pollution and no homeless people. Okay so it’s the exact opposite of Toronto, whatever. It has its own CN Tower, of sorts!


Kylie and I had a nice meal at a restaurant to celebrate our one year, and then went to the casino. I will sum up that adventure by saying I did not win five grand this time.

We purchased essentials such as sheets and a blanket and some food to get by, and on Saturday it was back to Christchurch, where we saw Guardians of the Galaxy – awesome movie by the way.

Now just one more week of work at the pallet factory, and we’re off to Auckland for seven or eight weeks.

ALSO I bought a new ukulele so make sure to check out my Instagram/Twitter (links below) for covers!


Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



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

Heading down unda’

Good news, everyone!



So back in April, I was able to cross coming to New Zealand off my bucket list – something that’s been there since I first learned that the setting for the Lord of the Rings was here. While I haven’t seen the Shire yet, I’ll be doing so in the next little while as we’re moving to the North Island, where it’s situated (yeah, New Zealand is actually two islands. Who knew?).

Now, I’ll officially be able to cross visiting the land down under off that list, too. Kylie and I booked our flights yesterday – we’ll be in Australia from September 28 to October 8. Needless to say, I’m super psyched to get warm, visit some beaches, scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, surf on some waves, ride some kangaroos etc.

Back to the moving thing, I’ve given notice to my employer and landlady, so it’s really happening. On Thursday we head up for the weekend, then one more week of work and shitty 6:50 a.m. wakeups, and off to Auckland for eight weeks. Definitely pumped to be done with stacking wood.

In other news, I broke 60 pages into my attempt at a novel, hovering at about 19,000 words currently – I’m thinking I’m about 1/5th done, probably. So that’s cool – the goal is to be done by the end of November, currently.

The next update will be nice and long, as I’ll have a bunch of Auckland stuff to talk about!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



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

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

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

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

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

The British are coming! The British are coming!

Alright, as promised, here is the post about the royals. I’ll try to keep the writing brief, and include lots of pictures.

I cabbed to Latimer Square, arriving at about 11 a.m., to this massive crowd.


If I was correct, the royals and their entourage would be coming from the south up the road in the following picture, and pass right by my spot.


Using my height and elbows in tandem, I made my way to a spot that would hopefully allow me a good view of the royal couple as they walked by. I tested it out on some security dudes that came by first.


Success! The people in front of me were short enough that they weren’t in the frame. A sudden hubbub from down the street caused everyone in my area to look that way. Our first glimpse of the lovely couple! You can see Kate in the red dress, and I think that’s William between the two poles to the left.


Before they came down our path, the couple et al stopped at the cathedral for a quick ceremony. While they did that, some more security came to ensure the way was safe.


Of course, wherever a royal couple goes, the media goes first.


Now, I had pictured it as Kate and Will walking side by side down the middle of the path. Not so; in fact, they both took one side of the path and strolled up, talking to and greeting people in the crowd. I was on the Will side.



Those are just two of about a hundred I snapped. Kate went up the other side so it was hard to get good photos of her, but this one isn’t too bad.


I have about 10,000 of the back of her head, but I didn’t think I’d include them here. The couple completed their walk down the path and met with some ladies who apparently had kids around the same time as Prince George (who was with his nanny in Wellington today).


And lastly they took part in a little cricket exercise – Kate struck out, but looked much better swinging than Will.


So, while I may never be a royal, at least I got to see some members of royalty. Yay for me!

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We’ll never be royals (but we might get to see them!)

Hello all!

Just a quick blog update because I’ve come into some exciting news. Last week, some people you might recognize landed in New Zealand.


That, of course, is Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Not pictured is Prince George, who did accompany his parents on the two-week trip.

Now, I was perusing their itinerary and noticed they’re visiting Christchurch on Monday, the 14th. This excited me a little bit because, hey, what are the chances the royal couple would visit the city I’m in of all places? Still, ChCh has a population of about 350,000 – it isn’t tiny. I figured there’d be no way I’d be anywhere near where the couple visited.

An updated list of their itinerary revealed Will, Kate, and possibly George, will be taking a public stroll through a place called Latimer Square. Whoever runs that website sure made it easy for the public:


Out of curiosity, and not really holding my breath, I looked up directions from my place to this Latimer Square area.


Click for larger image.

Holy shit! Only a 15-minute drive away?! I don’t have a car, but luckily, one of Kylie’s flatmates does, and she’s hell-bent on seeing royalty as well. The plan is to go early, get a spot in one of those red spaces – probably near the front, to snap pictures before scuttling to the back red space – and if everything goes as I picture it, being noticed for having a Canadian flag on my backpack, being pulled out of the crowd, and then taking selfies with Will and Kate. It’s foolproof!

Want to see pictures? Follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss anything!




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Journey to Christchurch

I’m currently sitting in the kitchen area of Kylie’s residence, and while the weather outside is slightly gray and overcast, it’s about 19 degrees. So I will begrudgingly accept it.

While yes, I am currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, this post will detail how I got here. It was a total journey that, from doorstep to doorstep, took about 36 hours.

My first flight was from Toronto to Vancouver, departing at 2 p.m. on April 2, Toronto time. Now, the recommendation by the airport is to arrive 90 minutes prior to your flight, in order to get through security and to your gate, etc. we wanted to arrive a bit earlier than that, just to ensure I got on my flight, so we left my driveway at 9:30 a.m. We figured this would get me to my gate waiting area by no later than noon.

Well, there was zero traffic, and apparently not a lot of people fly on Wednesday morning/afternoons, because I was seated at my gate waiting at 10:30.

Toronto Airport

Still, I have the mindset of ‘better early than late’ when it comes to things like this, so I bought a book and settled in to wait. It passed relatively quickly, and I boarded no problem.

The flight to Vancouver went pretty quickly. I had a nice aisle seat – thanks to my mom, who booked all my tickets – and alternated between reading and watching Pacific Rim – which wasn’t too terrible. The plane touched down five hours later, and at 4:30 Vancouver time, I found myself sitting at the International Food Court, enjoying my first BC experience. On the way, I saw this sweet aquarium. In the airport.


Oh, and I managed to find someone I haven’t seen in almost a year.

Cam and Nicole

We caught up, and Nicole showed me some mountains out the window. It was quite the experience, I guess. Then, after chugging down my last Tim Hortons coffee for the foreseeable future, it was back through security and down to my gate, just in time to check in and board the plane to Auckland.

Auckland Flight

Now, this was the long-ass flight I was sort of dreading. Fourteen hours in seats that typically aren’t designed for people who are 6 foot 4. However, it seemed fortune was on my side. Mrs. Parkes had managed to secure me a desirable seat – in fact, some lady complained to me that she always tried to get it and never could – at the very back of the airplane. What made this seat so desirable was that it was one of just two in the aisle, as opposed to the normal three. This mean I had two seats to spread my long, dancer legs out – or it would have. However, the person beside me missed their flight, so I actually had three seats to myself! This came in quite handy when I passed out from exhaustion. Ten hours of sleep, mixed with some Elite Beat Agents on my Nintendo 2DS, and two movies – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Frozen – the flight actually went by quite quickly. They also served a pretty good dinner, and a scrumptious breakfast.

Upon landing, I had to pick up my luggage to take it over to domestic flights. There was a free shuttle to the domestic terminal, but I decided to stretch my legs and take the 10 minute walk.

Big mistake.

By the time I made it to my gate I was utterly exhausted, drenched in sweat, and aching in my shoulders and back. I with a brief stop at a little café – making my first NZ purchase a Powerade and double-chocolate muffin – I took up a seat and sat there for essentially the next six hours. Yes, we got in at 6 a.m. on April 5 Auckland time – 1 p.m. April 4 Toronto time – and my flight to Christchurch wasn’t until 11:15 a.m.

CHCH Flight

I wiled away the time alternating between playing EBA, staring at people, and soaking in the NZ accent. I believe I also slept sitting up with my arms crossed on a few occasions.

And finally, at about 11:30, we were called to board. The last leg of my 36+ hour trip went smoothly, with a cookie snack and me passing the hour-and-a-half flight playing euchre on my phone (on flight mode, obviously).

When we landed and filed through into the Christchurch airport, I was met by Kylie’s flatmate Susie, who had generously agreed to pick me up from the airport since Kylie was teaching. I later learned she only did so to get an opportunity to make fun of my “Canadian accent,” whatever that might be. We got back, her driving on the wrong side of the road the whole way, and I gladly collapsed onto the bed, throwing my bags to the floor.

Kylie had left me a delightful little “welcome to NZ” package.

Welcome shit

It included a lot of coffee stuff – thank god – as well as some miso soup mix, chocolates, and a few other items. I really wanted to nap, but instead I took a quick shower to be presentable when Kylie got home.

She arrived at 3 p.m. Christchurch time. I was trying to plan what to say, but she saved me from it by bursting into tears as soon as she walked in. Then we took selfies.

Cam and Kylie

At this point, I was starving, so Kylie and I took a walk to a nearby mall in Upper Riccarton, and then went to a concert some of her students were in at Papanui High School. I know nothing about music, but it sounded good, and everyone said it was good, so it must have been good!

Shortly after returning we went to bed. At 10:30. I guess all that traveling caught up with me. It’s now Saturday afternoon here, and soon we’re going to go exploring. My next post will be a nice little list for those of you who may get stuck in super-long layovers. Follow me on twitter to keep up with the adventure!




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