Sunday, April 19, 2009

BookCrossing in Christchurch

After wrapping things up at work for a week away, and giving myself a jab for the flight, I hopped on the Skybus out to the airport to meet up with Mum, and check ourselves in to our flight to Christchurch. An hour delay on Jetstar, and then just a 2 hour and 50 minute flight, the Clexane may have been excessive...but it certainly laid my mind at ease as we flew.

Getting in pretty late, we taxied to our accommodation very close to town, the City Court Motel, waking up our hosts for our key. Friday morning we got up ready to explore on our free day in Christchurch, walking into central Cathedral Square and taking in the Chalice. Having brunch at the Cathedral Cafe after walking into the church for a peek, Mum and I then studied the bus maps to find our way out to Lyttelton, and to the Gondola.

Riding up Mount Cavandish in the little swing capsule, reminding me of my trip in Switzerland, Mum and I went through the Time Travel exhibit before taking in the views from the observation deck - looking over Lyttelton Harbour, and over the city sprawl of Christchurch. Venturing out into the crisp and fresh air, we walked out to the volcano rim for a 360 degree view of our surrounds.

Back into town we made our way to Cathedral Grammar to register for the 2009 International Anniversary BookCrossing Convention, picking up our goody bags, and gaining our bearings of our base for the weekend. Friday night we had a formal, cultural welcome in Maori for the opening of the Convention by one of the local BookCrossers, ice breaker games, and a chance to mingle in with the group.

People from all over the world were here for the Convention, with accents and stories a plenty. Saturday morning, after a wee little sleep in, Mum and I found the City Release Walk through town, stopping off at many places for creative and crazy releases. We also took in the ye olde Provicial Buildings, the Arts Centre and precinct, as well as the amazing Autumn colours and leaves around town.

Stopping for lunch at the markets in the cultural precinct, I ducked across the road to look at, and listen to, the Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit.

The afternoon session was the full on BookCrossing section of the weekend, with a guest speaker talking about Janet Frame, a speaker on the history of the book, the presentation for the next International Convention in Amsterdam, and vote for the 2011 Convention, and a live cross to BookCrossing central in the US, and a glimpse at features preparing to launch for the site. Mum checked out the Christchurch Casino for much of this!

Dinner and the traditional trivia night followed, with Mum and Andrew on the Rainbow Warriors team, and Megan and I managing to find ourselves on the Dracula's Little Helpers team, answering questions all night on all sorts of topics. Our two teams managed the not come last...but close!!

Today we have met the group of BookCrossers for the last official part of the Convention, the Sunday Brunch. With some 60 Aussie and New Zealand, Irish, English, Dutch and Austrian accents filling the room, all talking about books, releasing, travel, and the growing gathering traditions, it's fascinating how one little website idea has grown into such a community.

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