An hour or two after I lay beneath the weeping willow on the banks of a river in Christchurch (see here), I was walking across a street when I spotted across a strange fridge-like machine sitting in an open square in the distance. In the past, I think I might have simply continued walking. But there was a man sitting there at the time who looked incredibly similar to a dear kiwi who I had met in Australia who really helped shape this blog (Sol, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re proud!)
I knew it wouldn’t be Sol, but I felt that the fact I was now in his home country and saw a similar man sitting there meant that there was something there for me to find. I walked towards this colourful “fridge” and discovered that it was a book exchange! How fantastic, clever, and just YES! I’ve come across many book exchanges throughout the backpacker’s I’ve stayed in, and to have one in a city just makes so much sense.
There were boxes of books that had been dropped off by somebody else, which this man was unpacking into the fridge. We got chatting, and I decided to sit there for a while as people came and went. I paged through a couple of books, and he pointed out Born Free to me. Born Free is about Elsa the lion(ess) who was reared in Kenya by a game warden and his wife after Elsa and her two sisters were orphaned at only a few weeks old. I eventually decided to take the book, and in hindsight if I hadn’t walked that street, if I hadn’t had the urge to investigate, I would never started thinking down the path of animal psychology.
Born Free provides a unique window into the minds and behaviour of animals, revealing key arguments for the popular nature vs. nurture debate. I have not yet finished reading the book, but I already sense a growing fascination with the subject. Ironically, upon my return I worked at a festival selling subscriptions to National Geographic Kids magazines. Once again on this trip, it feels like everything has aligned to get me to think and act in a certain way.
This little gallery shows photos of everything that I found in this little community square.