Monday, November 2, 2015

Christchurch, New Zealand!

After a late arrival in Christchurch, New Zealand on Saturday night, we checked into our hotel and took our jetlagged bodies to bed. Sunday morning we woke up, and after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we headed down the street to the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) building where we were given flu shots, briefed on our upcoming trip, and outfitted with our extreme cold weather gear. After some quick training, we had the rest of the day to explore Christchurch!

Emma and Drew walk through Christchurch
We took the bus into town, where we explored, ate, and shopped. The city was destroyed from a devastating earthquake in February of 2011, and has been under constant construction since. In order to save time and money, the central shopping area in the city was reconstructed using big shipping containers. The colorful city also contains many works of public art in the form of murals, statues, and memorials. 
A shopping center where all the buildings are made from shipping containers

Special soda made in New Zealand

One of many murals found in town. This one features penguins!

An art installation and flower-covered viewing site in front of a destroyed church

Later in the day we visited the Canterbury Museum where we learned about the Maori people, magical mirrors, Antarctica (of course), and dinosaurs. Next we headed over to the Botanical gardens. We were dazzled by the rose garden and the friendly ducks.  Following a Thai dinner, we headed back to the hotel ready for our 6:30AM ice flight to McMurdo Station.
Emma crawls through a cave like an extinct Moa bird at the Canterbury Museum

Drew plays with mirrors

At 5:15 this morning I received a call informing me that our flight had been delayed, and we weren’t in fact leaving for another 24 hours. So, naturally, I went back to bed. After a few more hours of sleep, we headed over to the International Antarctic Centre and had breakfast at their cafĂ©. We then stopped back briefly at the hotel so I could pick up my bag that had been lost somewhere in Australia (hooray for clean clothes!). 

In the afternoon we went back into town for lunch and visited a bookshop so Emma could look at Lord of The Rings books (her favorite). We then revisited the garden. There was a lot we missed yesterday! After we had our fill of flowers, ferns (Drew’s favorite), and ducks (my favorite), we took the bus over to the University of Canterbury. We roamed around the empty campus (it’s a large public school but they just started summer vacation) in awe and wished that BU had green grass and flowers. Finally, we went back towards our hotel, had burgers and veggie burgers for dinner, and treated ourselves to some Kiwi ice cream! 
One duck friend with her tongue sticking out because she lost part of her beak.

Now, my alarm is set, my bags are repacked, and my fingers are crossed, hoping that the weather allows us to get on the ice tomorrow!

-Natalie Robinson

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