21 October, 1998

We arrived in Christchurch today at 7:00 am, Wednesday, Oct. 21 (after a 12-1/2 hour flight from LAX to Auckland and 1 hour flight from Auckland to Christchurch). I met several members of my team-- Dr. Chris Fritsen, Dr. Ed Adams, Dr. John Priscu, and Nina (a grad student of John's)-- at LAX. Two of our team are already down at McMurdo Station.

We are supposed to leave Christchurch on Friday, although the flights look like they are backed up for several days because of weather. So we may be in Christchurch for several days. There was one team a couple of weeks ago that had to wait 15 days to get out. They actually flew to McMurdo and had to come back after 4 hours of flying time because they couldn't land, making travel time about 8 hours. They did this on four separate occasions!

Today, we checked into our hotel, the Windsor Hotel, where many of the other teams are also waiting to go out to the ice. We looked around town...at the shops, sites, and eating places (of course!). Christchurch is absolutely beautiful! It is the most tidy, clean town I have ever seen. They are very close to the coast and very close to the Southern Alps, so the scenery is spectacular. The people are exceptionally nice and very interested in what you are doing.

We went to Canterbury Square today to look at the various artists' work here in town. The Square is made up of beautiful stone buildings that used to be a university facility, and the artists have "taken up shop" in the various rooms-- bone and wood carvings, pottery, beads, woolens, weavings, and quilting.

After a leisurely day of getting acquainted with the town, we went to eat at the Dux Lux, a very European eating place with every kind of food imaginable. Tomorrow we will need to shop for some things that some of us need. The guys are thinking about climbing the glaciers, so ice climbing boots are in order. We might need a few more long underwear, since showers are only allowed once a week in the Dry Valleys.

I know some of you have e-mailed me, and I have been unable to answer them until I get a temporary e-mail account here in Christchurch. It will be easier at McMurdo, so bear with me.

Windsor Hotel, our hotel in Christchurch, NZ

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