Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A New Zealand Glacier

New Zealand (May 26, 2008)

The flight from Sydney to Christchurch turned out to be a real treat. As the New Zealand coast was approaching, the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps arose from the Tasman sea. The day was very clear, and the view was quite majestic. I could clearly see Mt. Cook, and several glaciers, one of which is shown in the posted photo. I spent a good couple of hours in Google Earth trying to figure out the name of this glacier, but so far no luck. It is not the Fox Glacier, or the Franz Joseph Glacier, because these are much longer, and they are closer to Mt. Cook, which I already passed 10 minutes before. This one is more to the North. Anybody has any idea of which glacier is this?

A glacial valley
The landing in Christchurch was uneventful. The airport is small and cozy, and the people there are nice. I did immigration (uneventful, as it should be), and then custom, where they only asked me if I had hiking boots to clean them up. New Zealand is trying hard to avoid the accidental introduction of alien pests or parasites, so even the dirt attached to used boots is removed and the boots disinfected before being allowed to enter the country. My boots were quite new and clean, so the nice lady at custom let me in without the need of brushing them. I then got a taxi to the hotel, downtown Christchurch, where Mayli had arrived a few days earlier when her conference started. The taxi driver was very keen in talking, and as he was driving gave me his very opinionated description of the city. He was particularly upset by the fact that the historical buildings at the center of the city were not being preserved, and were gradually replaced by high-rise apartment building causing the city to lose its character. There were other things he was upset about (student drinking too much at night and then driving too fast in their parent’s car, foreigners buying all the nice villas in the city outskirts and then renaming them with silly names coming out from some Hollywood movie, the rising cost of gasoline, the road traffic and of course the US using the airport to send stuff to the outposts in Antarctica... he went on and on and on), but all in all it was an interesting (one way, mostly) conversation.

Arrived at the hotel my temptation was to just go to sleep, which of course would have been a mistake (given that it was only early afternoon, local time, even though it was way past bed-time in my personal time-zone). So I got my camera out, found a map of the city (the taxi driver left me one) and walked out to have a look around, while waiting to join Mayli during her next coffee break. But this is a story for another day...

New Zealand (May 26, 2008)

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