Monday, December 17, 2007

Nerd Alert

Hey everybody. We're in Dunedin, New Zealand right now. Thought we'd write you a quick note.

We left Auckland on Sunday without any trouble. Before catching the bus to the airport we thought it would be a crime if we didn't try the amazing smelling Korean BBQ joint across the street from our hostel. We'd been walking by everyday and pausing to check out the menu. The meal proved to be a life saver, since the trip to our hostel in Dunedin took a little longer then expected.

After chatting with a woman who moved to Dunedin to raise her childen as Kiwis and running the wrong way down an excalator because we were at the wrong gate, we finally made it on board our flight. Flying over sheep farms and herds of cattle was quite a change from the skyscrapers in Auckland, one which I definitely welcomed. Our plane landed in Dunedin (on the one lane runway) and after reaching the red lights signifying the end of the pavement we took a quick u-turn to make our way to the terminal. Never done that before.

There was only one way to get from the aiport into the town - a kind of super shuttle. The $50 shuttle was a bit more then we had anticipated (our daily budget is supposed to be $60) but oh well. The ride into town took almost two hours because we were the last ones to be dropped off. Dunedin might be one of the hilliest cities I have ever been in. Some of the streets we drove on were like a roller coaster, but luckily I didn't get carsick. The town even boasts the steepest road in the world - we have yet to see it but hopefully we will at some point.

We are staying at the Manor House, a huge old house-turned-hostel, which is a nice change from our windowless room in Auckland. For the past few days we have been at a math workshop at the school of pharmacy. Our days consist of modeling problems and two breaks for tea. Perhaps the best part comes when we get "wine and nibbles" at the end of the day. Its been awesome to see Dr. Rad and two other Pomona students who are here as well. The workshop has had its ups and downs. My group consists of a husband-wife team of optimal control theorists and a father-son team from Poland - so it's been hard to contribute to any problem solving. Chris, on the other hand, has a problem dealing with controlling the release of drugs from tablets. Today I got to work on some of the graph theory modeling with him and Rad, definitely a better experience.

When not occupied with our extreme awesome nerdiness, we have been exploring the town of Dunedin with Alison and Rob, our fellow Pomona math majors. One of the oldest in the country, it has a fair amount of Scottish influence. There are a handful of beautiful old churches and a train station that is the most photographed building in New Zealand. (We will post pictures soon.) We just got back from a tour of the Cadbury factory (aka free chocolate), which was fun. Not only did we get to see the second largest liquid chocolate "waterfall" in the world, but I got to make fun of Chris because he had to wear a beard net in addition to his hairnet. Haha.

Tonight we are going to dinner with the rest of the workshop participants. We start our first backpacking trip on Friday, so we will be sure to write again before then. We are enjoying all your comments, and no Chels: its not your blue shirt but a different one. Love you all,



chelsea said...

excellent news on the blue tshirt! i was pretty excited you actually wrote the blog emma, nice work! also, i don't think i've ever received such a dorky email as yours the other day, haha. it sounds like you guys are having a great time, we can't wait to see the pics (chocolate waterfall!). miss you lots

Peter Spiro said...

Em-dog on the blog!!!

Nice, some detail and interpretation. keep it up.

Katie Hall is here at the house and she said you guys had a great time together.

plantnerd said...

Did they have oompa loompa's at the choclate factory. Did you get to swim in the choclate river. You are in "OZ" after all. oh ya, please get some pictures up soon. I can't wait for those action shots of the math workshop. love tug

Audrey said...

wow - math on vacation. you guys sure know how to live it up.

what's the update on the poop situation? got the runs under control?

dave said...

A chocolate waterfall? I hope that's not an omen... but hey, at least youre loaded up on those meds for the-squirts, right?

p.s. lovin the blog.