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Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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TIGER in Antarctica, November 9, 2003

Arrival in Christchurch, New Zealand

Well the trip certainly doesn't start off on the right foot. I had delayed my trip by a week to handle a Space Science Update (NASA Office of Space Science's biggest type of press conference) on new Voyager results (see VOYAGER SPACECRAFT APPROACHING SOLAR SYSTEM'S FINAL FRONTIER . That was on Wednesday, November 5 and was extremely successful (you may have seen it mentioned on the news). I was scheduled to fly out at 6 PM on Friday, November 7. I tried to get my tickets on the 6th (NASA never issues tickets until just before the travel), but the travel office was having trouble with the system. Well I had stuff to do on Friday morning, so I thought I'd just pick up my ticket then. When I get in to work Friday morning, I look at the email they had sent with my final itinerary. They had changed my first flight to 7:15 AM. I look at my watch - 7:04 ! I think "I'm not going to make that flight." Several hours later, it is finally sorted out and I'm back on the 6 PM flight (although with lousier seats).

More than 24 hours after leaving my house Friday afternoon, after stops in Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia, I arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand. It's now Sunday afternoon (I've lost a day due to the International Date Line). Someone from the US Antarctic Program meets me after I get through customs and hands me my schedule. I don't have to report to the Clothing Distribution Center until Tuesday at 1 PM, so I've got tomorrow off. I'm scheduled to go down to "the Ice" on Wednesday.

Looking out my hotel window in Christchurch I'm exhausted and it's Sunday, so a lot of things are closed, so it's going to be an early night. I take a shuttle to my hotel (the Rydges in downtown Christchurch), which is quite nice. I really like the city of Christchurch, it's big enough to have a lot to do, but small enough to still have a bit of that "small town feel". Here's the view out my hotel window. You can see the small river that runs through town and a building that was built in the 19th century.

Looking out my hotel window

Christchurch Cathedral Square My hotel is only a block away from the main square in town. Here you can see the 19th century cathedral and a large piece of modern art. The juxtaposition of new and old occurs all through town, but seems to work here better than in other towns I've seen.

Christchurch Cathedral Square

After a nice meal of Rack of Lamb (this is New Zealand, after all, where sheep outnumber humans by more than 10 to 1), at a nice open-air cafe along the river, I'm off to bed.


Dr. Eric R. Christian
Washington, DC 20546 USA
This page was last modified on November 12, 2003