It's a truly beautiful city. Everyone who
I had talked to before I left raved about how great it was when they
were there, and they were right.
The first day was sort of a daze, being wiped out from the lack
of sleep. I met Alec another Communications Tech who works at the
HF Radio Transmitter site, and we decided to share a room at the
YMCA. It is a nice facility, similar to a lot of the accommodations
in town. We have a room with three beds, and a common
restroom/shower just outside of our door.
Sharing the room it costs us each $25 (NZ or Kiwi) per day.
About 12.60 U.S. (The dollar loss against the yen made the rate not
quite as good when we left, but when we arrived it was almost 2 Kiwi
dollars for every US dollar).
Directly across the street is the old University of Canterbury, which was built
in 1877, and a hundred years later when the University moved out, was converted to
an arts center. As part of that, the student union is a restaurant and bar known as
the Dux de Lux, world known for it's food (mostly vegetarian, and seafood).
|We had lunch there, and it is one of the USAP
(United States Antarctic Program) hang-outs. The Arts Center is loaded with cafes,
theatres, and lots of small shops. On the weekends they have a crafts fair in the
courtyard, with lots of vendors selling items.
Christchurch is known as the Garden City. Lots of plants and trees throughout,
and lots of parks and open space. Right across the street from the Y is the
Botanical Gardens. It's huge! I didn't think to take my camera with me, but
Bruce has some photos when he was there a few days later on
Sunday I spent the morning walking around downtown, and finding the
electronics shop to pick up some stuff for Bob Zook to take along to the
||Alec (my room mate at the Y) and Mary in front of the
CDC and Antarctic Visitors Center
Our scheduled departure day was Monday, but only one of the flights from Sunday
had actually landed, and there were two other flights ahead of us. The last leg of
the journey is provided by the Air Force. It appeared we had a least a couple of
days in Christchurch to look forward to.
Tuesday one of the group I was exploring with, had gotten the name and number
of a guy that did tours around the area (
Southern Excursions), we decided to go horseback riding. Todd picked us up
downtown and took the 6 of us to the 'Longhorn' ranch. About an hour south of
||The area was quite nice. An area of
rolling hills located
between the pacific ocean, and Lake Ellesmere. Any of us that thought
they knew what they were doing, quickly found out that was not the case, when
we discovered that they ride english style. We all had to wear the white
helmets, and used the saddles without a horn in the front.
On the way back we traveled through the town of Lyttleton, the orginal port
that was used when the first emigrants arrived. We went over the ridge
between Lyttleton and Christchurch and it provided great views of both.
The rest of the week all started out with going to the CDC to pick up
our daily $150 (Kiwi) per diem, and then filling the day with sight seeing.
Wednesday Bruce and I went up the gondola, (he has some pictures on his page),
and Thursday went to Lyttleton for dinner at the Volcano Cafe (Good Seafood).
Transportation is great around the city. The big red bus,
has a good schedule and covers most of the areas you might want to get to. Since we took
it to the CDC everyday to pick up our money, it worked well to get the $5 (Kiwi)
all day pass.
||The trolley runs a loop through downtown,
and just a block away from the Y.
|An afternoon stop in the local pub, usually provided the opportunity
to determine if the flight for that day had made it. (It didn't - none did after
sunday, until 9 days later on tuesday the following week).
There was a telephone and internet service just around the corner, and I spent
quite a bit of time there, checking email.
Being a flight behind the group that was attempting to leave was a great
advantage. We found out each evening that we would be staying another day,
the group scheduled to fly would regularly have to show up at the CDC. Several
times they flew, and 'boomeranged' made the trip down to the ice, but couldn't
land, and flew back, or spent several hours waiting to go, and then being