Sunday, March 3, 2013

Enjoying Christchurch

We decided to spend five nights in Christchurch so we could enjoy some of our favorite restaurants, the warm weather and just relax for a few days before the long trip back to the States.  We found a lot of new things in Christchurch since we flew to McMurdo last August.  Of them was the Pallet Pavilion.  This is a community gathering space which sits on the lot where the Crown Plaza used to be.  The Crown Plaza is the hotel we used to stay in before the Earthquakes, which has since been demolished.  Here are some photos of the Pallet Pavilion.  It's such a simple concept, but looks really neat and really catches your eye as you walk down the street.   

These signs are at one of the entrances.  They read "No Heels", "No Smoking", "No Climbing" and "Uneven Surface, Please Take Care".
There's a stage for live performances, a bar, free Wifi and various vendors selling things.


On Friday February 22nd, we gathered with hundreds of other people in the Cashel Street Container Mall for a service commemorating the 185 people who lost their lives in the Earthquake.  Everyone observed two minutes of silence at 12:51 which was two years ago to the minute that the earthquake struck.

 Although 90% of the damaged buildings in the central business district have now been demolished, it was good to actually see a crane that was being used to build a new building.

On Saturday the 23rd we spent the afternoon in Hagley Park enjoying the Great Kiwi Beer Festival.

Here are Kelly & Susie.

Dave & Kelly at the Beer Festival.

Dave & Susie

There were 40 different breweries and just as many food vendors to chose from as well as live music.  It was the perfect way to spend our first weekend back from Antarctica.

After the Beer Fest we stopped off at one of our favorite new places, the Revival Container Bar.  This is one of the many bars that have sprung up on vacant lots in the city.  

The whole bar is made out of shipping containers and is a popular spot on a summer afternoon.

On Sunday we walked through the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the smells and colors of the flowers.



A multitude of color

Kelly posing with these penguin topiary's.

Kelly surrounded by dahlias

A beautiful New Year Rose

Dave taking time to smell the roses

An interesting sculpture in the gardens

Later that afternoon we spent a little time relaxing by the pool at our hotel.  The following day we awoke at 2:45 am, left for the airport at 4:00 and caught the first of our 4 flights (totaling 36 hours) back to Yakima, WA where we are now staying with Kelly's parents.

Our Last Few Weeks at McMurdo

Saturday February 9th our friend Sheri hosted a British Gin & Tonic party.  Prior to the party she sent out several emails about the origins of gin, tonic, when they were first used together and the use of lime as a garnish.  Everyone was encouraged to dress and speak as Brits from the early British Empire days and we were all given British names.

Here are Susie (British name Beatrice) and Candy (British name Felicity)

We thought it would be fun to show the wide range of height differences at the party from Bryan at 6'4", to Sandwich, Sheri and down to Candy at 4' 10-1/2". 

Liz (Louisa), Kelly (Clive) and Kathy (Helena)

After the Gin & Tonic Party we went to one of our favorite parties of the year, the Waste Barn Party.  Here are Kelly, Melanie, Tim & Twan.

James is the head of the Waste Department at McMurdo and every year he hosts this party and entertains us all with live music from his band.  Here he and Kate are singing "Gangnam Style" with Eli on drums, Kevin on guitar and Neel on keyboards.  It was a great night of fun and dancing.

The Russian Icebreaker Vladimir Ignatuk was hired again this season to cut a channel in the sea ice and keep it open during the arrival of our resupply ships.

Here's the fuel tanker Maersk Peary, which offloaded 5.9 million gallons of fuel, which included Diesel, Mogas (unleaded) and Aviation fuel.

The cruise ship Bremen anchored just off shore for a few hours while one of their passenger sought medical attention at the McMurdo clinic.

Kelly took this panoramic photo of our resupply ship the Ocean Giant.  It brought 679 containers filled with food & supplies to get us through another season. 

 Here's another shot of the Ocean Giant.  Check out the link to our friend Randy Thompson's "Joy of Discovery" blog for some great photos and explanations of what all happens during this vessel offload process.  You can find his blog listed on the right hand side of this page under "Friends and Families Blogs.

On Wednesday February 20th the C-17 landed on a beautiful sunny day to take us back to Christchurch.

 Randy was the shuttle driver who transported us from town out the airfield.

Here's Kelly on the right walking to the plane.  It was such a nice day we didn't have to wear our Parka's.  After a long six months of work we were very excited to be leaving!!!