Geoff Sims @ UNSW
Home South Pole Diaries 2012/13 21st December, 2012


Friday, 21st December, 2012

Bicycling (John)

Readers of this blog may have started to form the impression that all we've done since arriving in Christchurch is sit around talking and drinking beer. Not true! Today, with 24 hours to kill and all of our flight preparations done, we borrowed four bicycles from our hotel (the Copthorne Commodore - great hotel, BTW), and rode into to the city centre.

Well, not quite the city centre, as that got trashed in the earthquake and is still a no-go zone, but rather through the park (still lovely) and along the Avon River (still gorgeous) to the Restart shopping centre. This is a great little mall, constructed entirely from shipping containers - just like the original PLATO.

Two things are immediately obvious about Christchurch, which has always been one of my favourite cities. First, the spirit of the people as they rebuild their town after utter devastation is truly inspiring. Second, one of things that distinguishes a properly civilized city from one that is not (such as, for example, Sydney), is a network of practical bike paths that actually go somewhere. Christchurch's bike paths are excellent.

After a quick ride up into the hills (actually, it was considerably quicker coming back down) we had lunch in Restart,

listened to the live band, and bought a sheepskin from a souvenir shop to insulate the engine fuel intakes. We then felt morally obliged to donate to the collection against animal cruelty,

although it was probably the shop assistant who had suffered the most, as she struggled to understand how anyone could possibly be planning to cut her beautiful sheepskin rug into little pieces, all in the name of science.

Check-in at 1900 tonight, for a 2100 flight to the ice. Maybe.


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