Monday, March 10, 2014

New Zealand Day 28: Christchurch and Big Transitions

Today was tough—lots of transitions. We returned the campervan, which we've become quite accustomed to living in for the last month, and Alex left for home. 

My mom had a great idea, which was that we stay for 2 nights at the same place in Christchurch, so we were able to stage things into our motel room as we got the campervans emptied out. That process, of course, took much longer than we'd anticipated, and combined with a trip to pick up our new rental car, ate up the morning.

We actually headed out towards the airport with three vehicles—the two vans to return and the new rental car. During our campervan return, we determined that we'd driven ours a total of 4969 kilometers - not bad work for four weeks!  We also owned up to two bits of...uh...minor damage that we had inflicted.  One was a slight run in with a u-bolt sticking out from a fence post we got too close to, the other was due to a leaning streetside tree and the camber of the road leaning us into it during a parking maneuver.  Our hope is that our inconvenience caused by chasing the Stalling Problem earlier will cancel these out.  We'll see: it is a Sunday, and the decision-makers won't be in until tomorrow.

Once the vans were dropped off (different locations, of course) we went to the delightful Passengers & Co for a terrific lunch and then took Alex to the airport to begin his Christchurch-Auckland-LA-Boston trek.

B, of course, was distraught, crying through most of the check-in and drop-off process. Poor kiddo.

After we left the airport, we headed to the International Antarctic Centre so the rest of us could check it out. We got there just in time for the penguin feeding, which was really fun. All of their penguins are rescue penguins whose problems are too serious to be returned to the wild, and the ranger was able to tell us a lot of facts as well as stories about the individual personalities. 

These photos show how B stacks up size-wise with various kinds of penguins. About Emperor height, it appears!

Via text-message consultation with Alex we'd decided that B, especially in her fragile state, wouldn't enjoy either the Antarctic-vehicle ride nor the 4D movie where they squirt water on you, so we just got the base ticket.

B actually spent awhile in the "children's pit" cuddling one of those giant stuffed penguins and watching some peripherally-whale-connected movie on the TV. We let her be and enjoyed the exhibits nearby.

She did really like the orrery where she could turn a crank and watch the earth circle the sun, demonstrating the tilt that causes the seasons.

And she loved the snowmobile!

Then we headed back to our little motel room, did violin practice, checked out the swimming pool—which had an awesome water slide that moved kids a little too fast for B to give it a go—and then spent a delightful half hour in the spa tub with my folks.

B was very weepy again at bedtime. We sure do miss Alex already!

No comments: