25 October, 1998
My team ate breakfast at the hotel again this morning. Since we're not scheduled to leave until Monday morning, we have decided to go windsurfing. John learned to windsurf when he lived here for two years, and he knows a great place on the coast.
While the guys went to the Coffee House for more caffeine, Nina and I called for the bus schedule, so we would know when to catch the bus in town to go to the windsurfing place. John had called to schedule a windsurfing lesson for Nina, Chris, and me because we had never been windsurfing before. As soon as the guys returned to the hotel, we caught the bus to Sumner and jumped off at East Coast Boardriding. Deano was the guy who outfitted us with wetsuits, and Jamie was the guy who actually gave us the lesson. Both were a lot of fun and very helpful.
For a few moments at the beginning, I thought that I was not going to be able to balance appropriately on this board and actually get going, but after a while I got the hang of it and was windsurfing away (although my feeble attempts were nothing compared to the experts out farther in the water zooming back and forth, doings flips, etc.). It was exhilirating to feel the wind rush through the sail and actually carry you away. Even though I was a novice, I had a great time and felt nicely exhausted at the end.
We ate lunch at the Baker Boys, a small bakery full of goodies, breads, and sandwiches. We walked down the street to a pub so that we could watch the rugby game on TV. The Otago team (Southern Island) vs. the Waikato team (the Northern Island) were playing. The spirit was very similar to football games in the U.S., but for all I can tell, the game is MUCH rougher! We learned the rules of the game from Chris, who played rugby in college in the states, as we watched the game. Nina and I left the pub after about a 1/2 hour of watching the game. We came back to the hotel to sort our clothes for tomorrow's flight to McMurdo. We can leave some things behind in Christchurch, so we have to make those decisions before we leave here. I did some reading, dozing, and wrote in my journal.
At about 7:00 pm, Nina and I went to the Botanical Gardens in town. Christchurch is known as the Garden City, and people from all over come to view the Gardens. The Gardens contain rose gardens, fragrant gardens, New Zealand indigenous gardens, seed plots that they are studying, heather gardens, etc. The trees are enormous, and there are so many kinds of them...the kinds you want in your backyard so that you can sit in them at any time of the day. As we walked through the Gardens, I could not possibly capture the smells and fragrances with my camera. It's almost overwhelming. The colors, fragrances, and arrangements were incredible...quite the experience. I thought of Dan, my husband, and how fun it would be to take long walks in the midst of all that richness.
We ate at Le Cafe near the Canterbury Museum. It was a cozy little place with a loft. We sat in the loft and ordered what we thought to be smaller meals-- foccacia, seafood chowder-- but the meals were huge, and we went away very replete. We both commented on how "cool" people dress here...very European...somehow we look a little grungy in our traveling clothes. It makes for good people watching.
We got back to the hotel around 9:30 pm and went to bed around 10:00 pm. We have a long day tomorrow (if we get our flight). We are supposed to report to the CDC at 5:45 am, so our shuttle will be picking us up around 5:15 am. We have to get our sleep...It's a long flight (or it could be).
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