Made the trip to Christchurch, New Zealand, including the 15 hour flight from LA to Sydney! It was a hell of a trip, and let me tell you, the Customs people at New Zealand do not joke around. I got in a bit of trouble for forgetting to remove a mandarin orange from my bookbag – a beagle located it by scent and I had all my belongings thoroughly searched.
The climate is amazing – its so hard to conceive of it being summer here, but the warmth definitely helps. I am loving it. Lots of greenery, trees, and flowers everywhere.
Yesterday we checked into the Y (where we are staying) and then went to go have dinner. Downtown is a 10 minute walk away, and is bustling with activities. After dinner, I went to a grocery store to buy a sketchy-looking converter (only place I could find one) for NZ$15. Plugging it into my computer, I realize that my comp is not charging – so I get scared, thinking that its my charger thats messed up. But I tried all my charging devices in the converter, and sure enough, none of them work. So I am really hoping its the converter and not me!!!! Otherwise, that would be a nightmare…
Today we went to the USAP Center for picking up our gear and trying it on. We also found out today that due to bad weather, we will NOT be flying to Antarctica tomorrow, and instead are pushed back one day, to Saturday.
From what everyone around me has been saying, flying down there is a big pain in the butt – you have to wear full Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear on the flight, and before you are usually sitting around for a good 3 hours. The plane ride itself takes 5 hours, and you are crammed together in the cargo hold of this C130 cargo plane, shoulder-to-shoulder, with ear plugs in your ears because of the loud engine noise. It is not uncommon for the flights to “boomerang” after getting reports of sudden bad weather at McMurdo.
As the only female on my 5-member team, I am also one of the few women that is even going to Antarctica. I would say for every woman, there are about 6 men. I don’t know how different it will be down at McMurdo, but I can understand why ladies would be deterred from such harsh conditions.
That’s all I can write for now, since I don’t have wireless net from my laptop.
Internet at McMurdo is allegedly painfully slow, and hard to upload pics, but I will do the best I can once I am there, hopefully come Satuday!