Like all good stories this one starts with a football match. Unlike most football matches this one started at 8am on a Sunday. Unlike most football matches that I've played in, our team actually won. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it is true. (For reference: The Clawless Marauders, our outdoor seven aside team, managed to concede 70 goals in 6 games one of which the opposing team didn't turn up for.)
Well okay, so I just lied a little. No it wasn't about winning the football match, it was about the start. The first sentence should have read, "Like all good stories this one starts with a drinking and backgammon gambling session that went until 4am (or 5, if you consider the fact that we put the clocks back an hour at 10:50 when we were feeling sleepy). Of course, if I'd started my first post in months with that it would merely add to my Mother's conviction that I am an alcoholic, gambling addict and yes, that would be a bad thing. (For the record I ended the backgammon session up a stunning $7)
All things considered I can't think of a better way to start the day you head of towards Antarctica (well New Zealand, really) than an 8am football match after you've had three hours of sleep. Particularly when you win the game; at this point I should probably state that I only played about seven minutes of the game and probably contributed minimally to the result, but this isn't Roy of the Rovers.
Following the football, I had just enough time to have a shower before it was time to head off to work to finishing packing the boxes of scientific stuff that I'm taking down to the ice. Then it was off to the airport, where I'd hoped to be delayed long enough to watch the Atlanta Falcons beat the Cincinnati Bengals (in fact my flight was delayed but only long enough for we to watch Cincy lead the Falcons 17-13 at halftime). In the future I must remember to look up which sporting events are happening on my proposed travel dates, for now I'll just have to be satisfied that the Falcons won (I'm sure that, deep down, they did it for me).
The flight to New Zealand was not as unpleasant as I was expecting, largely due to the fact that I was absolutely knackered and managed to sleep for a while. The leg from Chicago to L.A. was enlivened by the man next to me telling how much he hated all the hypocritical homosexuals in the Republican party, and how China were going to take out Kim Jong-Il before the Olympics in Beijing (remember, you heard it here first if it happens). The only downside of the flight to Auckland is that my personal luggage wasn't on it, in fact it went to Brisbane, collecting all these pretty tags on it's way.
One of the first things I saw when I was a walking down the street in Christchurch, was a seagull swoop down from the rooftops and take a battered sausage out of the hands of a guy as he was eating it. It was very impressive, in fact I had to take a photo of said sausage to immortalise the moment. And just for good measure here is a shot of the strange vase thing next to the cathedral (can you tell I just bought a new camera?)