My second day in Christchurch started out spectacularly in that I awoke after a full night's rest, finally. After a shower, I went to get a disappointing $13 breakfast of yogurt, sorry, I mean yoghurt, toast (with marmite--gross), and some kiwi (or kiwifruit down here--otherwise you get funny looks). My fitting for the Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear was at one so I just vegged on the internet and watched some local tv. I love the news here. It has a 15 minute summary of world news followed by a half hour of local farming news. It's really interesting how different some things are down here. The Kiwis just elected their Prime Minister and instead of bickering and punditry, they interviewed a bunch of political rivals in a bar surrounded by their constituents. Things were pleasant, entertaining, and respectful. Very un-American.
The CDC was a fun experience, as usual. I've now gone down enough that they know exactly what gear I want and what gear is useless so I barely have to turn anything in. Also, much of my gear was brand new which is always good. This year I opted for the Carharts instead of wind pants. My official reason is that I will be doing more work outside this year although it's mostly because I'm sick of looking like a huge nerd around all the cool carpenters. The flight tomorrow leaves at 5 am so I have to arrive at the CDC by 2:30, meaning I leave the hotel at 2. So pretty much as soon as I'm done posting this, I'm going to sleep. It will be a 5 hour flight to McMurdo in a C-17 and then hopefully just an overnight before going on to Pole. The problem with the flight being so early is that I won't be able to grab breakfast and the next time I'll be able to eat (aside from the small brown-bag lunch on the plane) won't be until noon or so. So I went to a grocery store to buy some food to take with me. I was walking by the beer section and it looked fairly normal--crappy NZ Pilsners and Guiness but in another part of the store, there was a shelf surrounded with single 12oz beers. The Belgians caught my eye and upon looking closer, I noticed they had Rogue, then Avery, then Sierra Nevada. Then I found Victory and North Coast. But the crazy part is that I found Green Flash and Coronado. San Diego beer. I couldn't believe it! I was disappointed that they didn't have Stone but I was so blown away by their selection that I didn't care. Then I saw the price. Each beer was around $8 US! Naturally, I bought a North Coast Old Rasputin, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, and a Green Flash West Coast IPA. These will be my Birthday present to myself at Pole this year. I'm so excited!
I had met up with the SPT people before going grocery shopping and we stopped off for dinner at Flying Burrito Brothers. I don't know if we have them in the US but it's just a standard Mexican chain style restaurant. Relatively mediocre food, and almost insulting to the Mexican food I now take completely for granted in San Diego. I ate there more out of a morbid curiosity than a desire for good food. It's unbelievable how bad the Margarita was compared to what I'm used to. It was all lime--no Tequila flavor. If you're reading this in Southern California right now, stop what you're doing, go to the nearest hole in the wall and order a margarita for those of us who can't.
Anyways, tomorrow, I should be in Antarctica!!! Hopefully, just an overnight at McMurdo, then off to Pole!