ChristChurch is Hurting

We couldn’t even get close to downtown. It is all fenced and it was so cold today, we declined to walk and buses are diverted away from city center. So, alas, only one or two opportunities to snap pics from the bus that we took to Antarctica. We just couldn’t get over the fact that entire downtown was reduced to an unusable city because it was built on swampy land and they had never had a strong earthquake anywhere near this large before.

What you say? We decided to visit the exhibition that Christchurch has on the Antarctica. Fun exhibit. We saw Blue penguins. And we learned that the name penguin originated from welch ‘pen gyin’ or something like that and it means white head. We learned that Antarctica is the driest continent on earth and lack of water is a very big problem for scientists etc. that work there (think Fred and Desiree).

C130 transports are used to fly between Christchurch and the base camp in Antarctica and instead of wheels, the planes are outfitted with pontoon-like gizmos (a technical term) so they can land on ice…and perhaps more importantly, take off from ice. You will always want to leave is my suggestion here.

The continent of Antarctica doubles in size as the sea around it freezes and when the ice melts in summer (remember, they have almost continuous sun in December/January), the rocky mountains are exposed. We saw a movie of the change of seasons (speeded up, of course). It is quite a place.
Here is Ray in the room that can be adjusted temperature-wise down to about 20 below or so. The kids loved it. Coats were provided for use in the exhibit.
In kilometers, distances to far off places. Some surprises, really.
And here are the adorable blue penguins. Very small. All of them had been rescued and are living out their lives at the exhibit. One was 23 years old. They mate for life which might explain why we witnessed so much haggling. Just kidding. But they do fuss with each other. They had a cut out of an Emperor penguin and they are really big…like 4 feet high or a bit more.
Walking back from the temporary bus stop (because of the quake), I noticed this sign hung up in front of a, well, port a-potty. You see the darndest thing when you walk. In a car, this would have been missed. The sign was associated with a little coffee wagon on the sidewalk. Too funny.
And then there was this. Today was the Garden Party at University. All the kids were dressed up or down for the occasion. It felt like it was going to snow today. This women have got to be freezing. Anyway, it was quite a fun bus ride because every where you looked, kids in strange clothes were out and about. Made a gray day quite lively.

So…tomorrow we fly out really early to Queenstown (to our west) for a look at fjords and other natural wonders. High of 64. Low of 31.


Oh, I almost forgot. Rayman and I split a burger and fries for dinner. Their burger had bacon (which is much different than ours, more meaty), cheese, tomatoes, beetroot and lettuce. Beetroot. Yes. Beets. It was delicious. Who knew? Oh, the kiwis knew…we’ve seen beetroot on lots of menus.

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