Welcome to Jail.
The Asian shuttle driver said repeatedly that it’s a, “very nice” hostel, and that I would like it. A lot. He also said that its kind of far from town, but that there was a shuttle. This worried me. He also would not accept my four dollar tip on a $20 shuttle ride. Two dollar coins. Golden coins. He smiled, and put them back in my hand. “Only Twenty Dollar, only twenty dollar, you enjoy your visit.” Yes.
The Jailhouse Accommodation is a decommissioned prison on the edge of Christchurch proper that’s been restored into an award winning backpacker’s hostel. Scrubbed white, and cleaner than the average backpacker’s, The Jailhouse looks more like a church than a prison. Set in a strange, light industrial neighborhood, it’s a 25 minute walk through Hagely Park to the Christchurch Central Business District. An easy walk, best done in the sunshine, which conveniently enough, was how I did it for the first time.
Easy to wander and wonder and ponder in the sunshine. Easier at least, to ponder a more positive turn of events. The rain is good for somber thoughts, but for optimism, the sun cannot be touched. It can be taunted however, and it seems as though that’s my lot in life. To taunt the sun. It is a role I did not ask for, but one that I embrace.
They’ve put me in charge of the overnight shift at a backpacker’s hostel. If this is not a recipe for ridiculousness, I don’t know what if such a thing exists. The man on the floor, their man on the ground, the only line of defense. The one who will keeps the ghosts of prisoners passed at bay, who will keep the moon full and the lights locked firmly in the ‘on’ position. The one who will answer the phone, and give ironic directions to the fish and chips place that closed three years ago. It will be magic. I will wear a name tag, whether its required or not. I will learn the local dialect, I will dance in a lightning storm of dreams and sunshine and cultural misunderstandings. It will be fantastic.