On Friday morning, I was up at about 5AM (jet lag) to see the rest of the team (Kyle and Jeff from UMN; Britt, Michele, Joy, Chappy, and Seth from Columbia) off to their 5:30AM shuttle taking them to their flight to the ice at 9AM. Because I arrived later than they did, I hadn't completed all the preliminaries for traveling to Antarctica, so I'd be spending the weekend in Christchurch. And with them gone, I was left to my own devices.
I wandered away from the hotel at about 7AM to find some breakfast. Unfortunately, I wandered in the wrong direction, and there were no breakfast restaurants along my chosen path. There was, however, a supermarket, so I bought some breakfast supplies and headed back to the hotel. After a quick bite, I puttered around for a bit trying to get the hotel wi-fi to work (it didn't, hence the lack of posts). I finally gave up and asked the reception desk where I could go to get a bit of internet, and they pointed me in the opposite direction to where I had gone in the morning. After about a 20 minute walk, I found myself at a cafe in the Merivale district, finally able to check my email.
I kept going in that direction in order to get back to the City Centre area, but this time I had a mission. I had heard that post-earthquake Christchurch had set up a temporary 'downtown' area with businesses using repurposed shipping containers as buildings. This area, on Cashel Street, was awesome. Food vendors, businesses, and people bustling about made for a lively scene. AND -- free wi-fi in the entire area! The container buildings were super cool -- brightly colored and interestingly arranged.
From Cashel Street I wandered over to the Christchurch Botanic Garden. While quite lush and with a wide variety of plants, I have to say I didn't find it very compelling -- especially on a slightly chilly, overcast day. And maybe I just hate plants. I spent about 20 minutes wandering and then left back for the hotel.
Once back at the hotel, I made some arrangements for the following day, showered, and then went across the street to one of the numerous takeaway food establishments near the hotel. This particular place was basically a no-brainer, since it was called "Burger Wisconsin". Yep. How could I not try it? I brought my food back to the hotel, ate, and then went to bed.