Wednesday, October 3, 2007

En Route to Antarctica!

Wednesday October 3rd

We (the Andrill ARISE Team, plus some of the Andrill Geologists) are now in New Zealand. I left Minneapolis St. Paul (Minnesota) at 11:45 am on Monday October 1st, flew to Chicago, and then on from Chicago to Los Angeles. I met a few fellow 'Andrillians' when I was getting some food after checking in, and then when I got to the gate lounge for our flight (operated by Qantas, the Australian airline) our team members slowly started trickling in - here you can see Julia, myself, Ken and Robin).

It was a LONG (13 hours) but nicely uneventful flight, and by the time we arrived on Wednesday 3rd we collected our bags and went through New Zealand Customs and Immigration, and exchanged money to get some New Zealand dollars, it had dawned to a blustery day with rainshowers.

We managed to avoid these showers as we walked from the International to the Domestic terminals (it was very nice to walk after being cooped up in the plane for so long). As we flew to Christchurch much of the North and South Island was cloud-covered, but I did get a view of snow-covered mountains in the northern part of the Southern Alps.

We were welcomed in Christchurch by driving rain and hail, a consequence of the front that was moving across the South Island.

Once we checked in at the B & B (that is 'Bed and Breakfast'), we set off to find some lunch and meet up with the person who was organizing the presentations/workshops we are doing for kids in Christchurch, so we could plan a bit more. After walking around a bit, I went to the Botanic Gardens with Robin - we spent some time checking out the flowerbeds and smelling the flowers. This is the last time we will be seeing and smelling ‘garden smells’ for two months - we also wanted to stay awake so we could get on to New Zealand Time.

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