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November 11th, 2013 - Christchurch, NZ

Go back to bed. Not kidding.

by Mary Tilton

Tilton Head Shot

Not-so-bright and early wake up at 4 a.m. after a not-so-sound sleep. I gathered all of my things, packed up and left my room at 4:35 a.m. and waited in the lobby for the rest of the group. Once there, I found out that the flight was scrubbed for 24 hours, most likely due to unsafe weather conditions. Due to the delay, the hotel might not be able to accommodate all of us this evening because they are overbooked. The rest of the USAP participants filed down into the lobby and planned out our day until we could hear news about whether we were to be relocated at 11 a.m.

The morning began with a long trek down Papanui Road at 5 a.m. since some of us didn’t think we’d be able to get back to sleep. The whole trip was probably about a 5 mile walk. It was a great opportunity to see the diverse architecture and efforts to rebuild damaged areas. On the way back, we stopped for breakfast at 7 a.m., then walked back to the hotel to get some work done. We congregated in the lobby again at 10:45 a.m. to hear the news on whether we would be relocated. Five USAP participants not in our research group were “upgraded” to a nice hotel a few blocks from ours for this evening. After some re-shuffling of rooms and baggage, we set out to explore the re:START container mall across the street from our hotel, and the Botanical Gardens.

We walked through the serene, picturesque gardens with towering trees and vast grassy areas to the Peace Bell and into one of the aromatic rose gardens. We all sat for a spell and enjoyed the colors and smells of the roses, and then Steve and Terry left for the hotel while I got a private tour of the Antarctic exhibit at the Museum from Dr. Klein, and a brief history of the Antarctic expeditions and explorers. The things early explorers did to reach the South Pole!! Amazing! These days, things are a lot more regulated and safety is top priority; then again, there’s no race to get there first anymore.

Re:START container mall

Peace BellPeace Bell in the Botanical Gardens

Rose Garden
Rose Garden

At dinnertime, the four of us walked to Dux Dine (about 2.5 km away) for some local fare. Dux Dine is owned by the same individual who operated the famous Dux de Lux in the Arts Centre which is now closed following the earthquake. The three veterans of the group were keen on sampling the Kiwi cuisine from one of their favorite former places. We trekked back through the Botanical Gardens on the way back to the hotel, ordered some breakfast for the next morning once we arrived, and went our separate ways for the evening.

This will hopefully be our last night in Christchurch. We received another notice today informing us of our departure time, which is the same as it was yesterday. Tomorrow: another 4 a.m. wakeup for our 5:30 shuttle.