I'm back in Christchurch now and it seems like I never left this place. After arriving on Tuesday and trying to shake off the jetlag, we got our gear issued yesterday at the CDC, or Clothing Distribution Center, at the Antarctic program's campus at the airport.
This is it, my pile of stuff for a winter at South Pole, including 2 parkas, 2 pairs of boots, bibs, Carhartt jacket and overalls, numerous gloves, mittens, underlayers, hats, 10 pairs of socks, etc. This is always a fun process of trying on everything to make sure they fit, and which for me never do even when everything is small and x-small.
The CDC is also located right next to one of the biggest tourist attractions, the Antarctic Centre. For most of us, it's just the place to catch the bus to get back to downtown but sometimes there are wildlife sightings and these particular penguins are apparently not covered by the Antarctic Treaty because they love posing for pictures.Erik is heading to McMurdo for the winter this time around while Mr. Penguin is going nowhere.Dennis is coming back for his 4th winter at Pole.And a former Polie who is close to my heart, Rob, going for his 4th winter too, this time at McMurdo.
We were scheduled to fly out this morning to McMurdo but sometimes you get a lucky break. Just before catching the 5:30am shuttle to the CDC, we found out that the flight was delayed by 2 hours. And I find this out after I down a stiff cup of coffee in an effort to wake up, so I wasn't able to get back to sleep for those precious hours of reprieve. We reported there at 8am, got geared up, sat dutifully through the mandatory orientation film, then waited around for a bit more before they announced at 10am that the flight was officially scrubbed due to bad weather at McMurdo.
Yes! This means that we get an extra day in Christchurch, we get paid for it and we also get a per diem! This is a good thing because last night while eating a fabulous dinner at Little India, we were all wishing we could stay another night so that we could have sushi at Sala Sala. Guess what's for dinner tonight.
And Christchurch is having the annual World Busker Festival, a huge gathering of street performers who are swarming the area where we're staying.
Everywhere you look, there are crowds surrounding someone juggling something on a unicycle or just walking around in a top hat and bright red pants. My favorite was a guy who had a pancake flipping act.
There seem to be quite a few people painted silver and standing on pedestals too.
Even Elvis is silver this year.
So I'm happy hanging out in the civilized world for another day before heading to the ice. We'll see what the weather does tomorrow.