Nov 22, 2002
I finally saw the charming film Life is Beautiful. The academy award for best actor to Italian Chaplin Roberto Benigni was well deserved.
I was convinced — if I played my cards right — I too could win a real life tank.
Life is beautiful. You simply need to put the right spin on things.
I have always been cheerfully skilled at self-delusion; looking for the positive, no regrets.
Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, Altadore Gym Club, Europe 1976, University of Calgary, Saskatoon, Mott the Hoople and the game of Life. Looking back it all seems right and wondrous to me.
Life is a beach too.
One of the best things in New Zealand is living on the sea shore — especially for me coming from the arid North American high prairie.
Strolling the flower strewn dunes of New Brighton beach. Bright sunshine. Cooling Pacific breeze. It is hard to beat.
At low tide, I often bike between home and the gym.
Did you celebrate Bonfire Night? For some reason beyond my ken, people here celebrate a terrorist named Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the King and British Parliament in the 1600s. New Brighton pier is the centre of Fawkian revelry.
It was very Apocalypse Now with helicopters trailing fireworks, blaring Ride of the Valkyries. Rockets mounted on the pier like mortars.
My neighbourhood is the wrong side of the tracks. Drunken vandalism, garbage can fires, graffiti and like hyjinks is a typical Saturday night. We have a huge police station nearby but I have yet to see a cop outside a police car.
When I mention where I live to Kiwis many grin broadly and recount one of a number of fantastic drunks they had in New Brighton. It was once the most popular beach in New Zealand being the only one open on Sundays. It is still famed for a good piss-up.
My last month working in Christchurch, I actually will miss many things in my neighbourhood — the best veggie burger in the world; (egg, pineapple, beet root, tomato) from New Brighton Burger Bar. Mr. Wong from Hong Kong has been slapping these together for over 40 years.
Hong Kong Take-a-ways for Chow Mien … and the Chang Rai Thai lunch special. The library, watching the surfers, Jackson’s Bakery.
Ah well, Thoreau told that a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. I can move on. My stint at the Christchurch School of Gymnastics was … beautiful. It is a great life experience to live in another country.
Friends are arriving from Canada next week — I will join them December 21st on the NZ backpacker trail.
Looking forward to the holidays?
– Kiwi Rick
Photo — an elderly Chinese man traipsed across the artwork in the sand oblivious to the beauty underfoot. Can you see his shoes?