Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 18:38:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Michael Tselman
Subject: Note 1 (New Zealand)

Hello friends,

As most of you know, I quit the job and started a long journey through Asia, South Pacific and other parts of the world.

This is the first one of a hopefully long series of travel notes that I will try to keep on writing from my extended journey. Let me know if

Just over 30 hours and a set of changing planes takes me from New York to Christchurch, New Zealand. This is where my journey begins. It is the December 3rd when I arrive - the first days of summer here. I'm met by rainy weather, low clouds and strong winds. I check into a hostel and the weather improves a bit. A short walk around town pretty much defines the boundaries of active life - lot's of young people, bars, music. It's friday night and the life goes on. Still, the village of Christchurch, while one of the largests towns on the South Island is pretty small. Next day I visit Antarctic museum - you can experience the real antarctic conditions there and learn about explorations of Antarctic. The Botanical gardens are pretty and the local museum of Maori cultire leaves great impression. These people (maoris) were quite skillfull in wood carving and created some interesting figures.

There are plenty of restaurants here, but I'm not impressed with the quality of food. It's fresh and well prepared, but just not tasty for some reason. Last night my climbing partner Tom arrived and today we bought a car that we will use during the next few weeks going from one climbing area to the other. It is very easy to buy an old car in New Zealand and then sell it back once you leave and is a much cheaper option than renting a car for such a long time. Our car is an 1988 GM Stattion wagon with 230000 kilometers on it. We'll need to drive on the left side of the road and shift gears with the left hand. Gonna be an interesting experience.

Tomorrow we will buy groceries and head towards the Mount Cook village which will become our low base for some time.

This is it for now.

Gotta run,