Day #90 – Saturday 22 August 2009

brill day today, the “dogs”! Buddha, Jehovah and the Church of England must all be on my side ??????

After a late night at Sullivan?s last night with The Black Velvet Band I had a lay in until 8:00AM and then cooked breakfast which I had bought in “Pak and Save” yesterday. Pak and Save is a massive hypermarket where the goods are stacked high on storage racks. You have to bring your own bags and pack the shopping yourself and I bought a box of Pam’s (yes really) Sugar Puff imitations, a bottle of skimmed milk and a box of Nescafe Latte’s.

I must be really boring you talking about what I had for breakfast.

Having finished breakfast and done the washing up, as all good backpackers do, I head off to the library as they have free Wi-Fi internet access there, and you know I love my freeness me! I check the emails and bank balance and then it’s off to find the Arts Centre area as they have a Saturday market and more importantly a pub that brews its own beer on the premises.

There are quite a few stalls selling arts and crafts and a few street entertainers which are fun to watch, including a man in a kilt who sits on broken glass and juggles machetes. Then I manage to find the brewery which is called ?Dux de Dulux? and their lager is a brand called Dux Lager and it’s a “touch down” on whatever line that they touch down on in “egg chasing” and a chance to try and kick the ball through the large pointy sticks with the bar across.

Beer #20 – Dux Lager and sampled on draft and later in a bottle

“The lager of choice , naturally”

“Clearing the trail dust from your throat our award winning Dux Lager slates the meanest thirst. Crisp, fresh and vibrant, this original Dux beer, on which our tradition of brewing was founded, is easy drinking and great with food , we call it our “Sauv Blanc of Beers”, ? Make it Dux everyday!

I finish the lady size glass (18ml) of draft Dux and watch some more of the street entertainment, and it?s a good use of the early afternoon, but if you read the blog yesterday you will remember that there is some live “egg chasing viewing” to do later this afternoon.

So I get to The Holy Grail, the Imax of sports bars at around 3:30PM as the ticket says that the bus leaves at 3:50PM and I have a free pre-match pint of TUI to consume. I hand over my beer token to the barman and suspect that something is wrong.

A guy comes up to me and introduces himself as Hayden. He offers me his apologies. Apparently they had a meeting last night and had to make the decision to cancel the footy coach as I was the only one that had taken up the deal for the Beer, Bus and Footy.

Not to worry says or to be more grammatically correct and use the local language ?no worries?.

So here?s what happened next???????????????????..

?Because we have had to cancel the coach I can take you to the game if you want. My car which is just parked just around the back and I am going to the game anyway. The Holy Grail (the IMAX of sports bars) is one of the corporate sponsors of the Canterbury Rugby Union “Egg Chasing” Team they have a corporate box at the AMI Stadium, so we can both watch the game from that.

Is that OK with you??

OK with me, I should Co Co!

How good is that!

We get to the stadium about 45 minutes before kick off and get the lift up to level three and corporate box #5. There is a lady waiting to serve us whatever drinks we require before and during the game and there is some pre kick-off food to tuck into with some nice food cooked on skewers.

The stadium is pretty impressive and is being rebuilt ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2010, so on one side is a massive completed stand, which is where our corporate box is located, and there is a smaller stand behind one goal, an open stand behind the other goal, and the opposite stand is under construction. The game is being shown live on Kiwi Sky TV and it is a local derby and grudge match.

The competition is the Air New Zealand Cup 2009 and in 2008 my team (!) Canterbury won the cup last year and they are looking to retain it. The build up to the game is great with lots of entertainment, food eaten and beers consumed. The game kicks off and Canterbury start?s off well but as the game continues Tasman fight there way back and at half time the scores are very close.

The atmosphere is really good. Canterbury has a mariachi band all wearing orange sombreros and they stand on the terracing behind the goal. They have an array of musical instruments including trumpets, a bassoon, drum and trombones and they pipe up every time Canterbury make a good play or score a try, with tunes like Billie Jean and Sweet Caroline.

In the crowd there are also two blokes (Kiwi word) dressed up as chickens. They are Tasman supporters and they continually shout abuse at anyone who is supporting Canterbury and it?s very funny to watch. At half time we are served smoked salmon, oysters, king prawns and other seafood, on a big platter, to snack on and I wash this down with more free beer.

The game gets even tighter in the second half but we (!) turn out eventual winners 25 ? 21 and I have to say that I really enjoyed the egg chasing experience and this was not down to the fact that I had unlimited access to beer and food but the play was good and it was a very competitive game and I nearly understood the scoring system. They take their rugby union seriously here in the land of the Kiwi and the experience was as good as the ?Swannies? AFL game in Sydney, and free beer as well!

Hayden drops me back to the Holy Grail where they are preparing for the big game tonight, the All Blacks v the Wallabies, competing in the Bedisloe Cup. This is a grudge match as there is intense rivalry between the Kiwi?s and Aussies and the bar is getting busy. I thank Hayden for a great day and he says to come back later and watch the All Blacks game and not to forget that I have a coupon for a free pint of TUI as part of my Footy, Bus and Beer deal. I was not going to bother as I had been consuming free food and drink at the match all afternoon but as Hayden mentioned it???.

I go back to freshen up and change and chill for a while at the hostel watching Sky. I then pop back to the Holy Grail (which Hayden told me has the biggest screen in Australasia) and the place is really starting to buzz ahead of kick off. I get my free pint if TUI and the bar guy that served me asks me how the Canterbury game was.

The Kiwi v Wallaby game turns out to be a very tightly fought game and goes right to the wire but the Kiwi?s manage to hang on and win 16-15. Go Kiwi’s.

I have a ticket to the late ?Improv? comedy show at The Court Theatre where I watched The Great Gatsby. The show starts at 10:00PM and is a comedy show called ?Scared Scriptless? featuring The Court Jesters and it?s the longest-running comedy show in Christchurch. It?s in one of the smaller theatres which is a small studio holding about 50-60 people. The players, or jesters, have to make us the audience, laugh to win a banana. If they fail to make us laugh sufficiently they have to undertake a forfeit, and the judges are the audience who call out either banana or forfeit at the end of the skectch. It’s very entertaining and last about 90 minutes and I am glad I got the ticket on my first day in Christchurch.

When its finished I pop back to Sullivan’s Irish Bar as The Black Velvet Band are on again. They are on top form tonight as it’s one of the band members birthday. I wish they had a venue like this in London because it is a “great craic”!

And guess what??

Beer #19 Propeller Lager 5% proof, proudly brewed by the Wigram Brewing Company, 1/34 Sonter Road, Wigram, Christchurch, NZ.

?Naturally brewed, crisp and refreshing Propeller Lager is crafted in the traditional way using a unique blend of New Zealand hops and premium malts. With no added sugars Propeller Lager is guaranteed to put a spin in your day.

Back to the hostel and bed as I have to catch a coach at 9:00AM tomorrow. I have booked myself on a trip which I will talk about on tomorrow?s post.

Oh and by the way guess what ?..

Notices have started appearing everywhere warning about an outbreak of swine flu and what to do if you feel a little unwell. If you get the sniffs contact the authorities for free medical help and advice.

Nothing to do with me mate!

Ta Ta to the egg chasers, come on you Canterbury, Charlton are top of the league. How happy can one man get!

PS: 90 Days ? Three months!