Friday, December 15, 2006

New Zealand II

We have our schedule set for the rest of our stay. Tomorrow, we take a bus to Mt. Cook, the highest peak in the country. On Sunday, we travel to a sheep farm outside of Arakoa (a village established by French settlers). Monday, we take the Transalpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth, and back. We'll see a good bit of the middle of the South Island.

One correction to the previous post: the Maori first arrived in New Zealand 700 years ago. They are part of the Polynesian people, who traveled by open canoe to islands over the triangle formed by New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter Island. They also traveled as far as South American and Madagascar. Unbelievable.

Today, we visited the Antarctic Research Center, the main staging point for travel to the Antarctic. It's a 5 hour flight from Christchurch to McMurdo, and a C-130 and C-17 were getting ready to head down. We rode a Hagglund, a transport that is a cross between a tractor and a roller coaster. Great fun. The museum has a wind-chill simulator, which runs 60 k/hr winds through a 17 degree (F) chamber. They advertise it as world-class cold.

Meh. Wisconsin in January is much colder. One guy from Colorado did the whole thing in short pants.


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