Today consisted of lots and lots of airplane rides as well as crossing the international date line, so an extra day is lost in there somewhere. After lots of flying I eventually arrived in Auckland, New Zealand. I discovered that they really take bio-security very seriously in New Zealand (no invasive bugs and plants), as they try to keep these things off of their Islands. A very long line (!) to answer a lot of questions about any foods I was carrying, or when I had last used any of the outdoor equipment I was carrying, plus a quick inspection of the soles of my hiking boots. Then I was on my way. Once into New Zealand I was able to fly the last leg, arriving in Christchurch.
I got to spend a bit of time wandering around Christchurch after I arrived.
The first half of the next day was spent at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) being issued all the cold weather gear necessary to work in Antarctica. All of this gear will be returned on the trip back north so that it can be cleaned / washed and re-used. If one were a minimalist you could pretty much just show up with long johns and socks, and everything else you need to survive is issued to you. Though working indoors at McMurdo Station certainly requires some street clothes.
The damage done to Christchurch by the earthquake in 2011 is really unbelievable. There are just an amazing number of vacant lots downtown where buildings once stood, plus foundations of buildings that have not yet been ripped out, some fairly large buildings that are standing completely unoccupied (have been this way for 7 years!), and lots of brand new buildings. It was truly humbling to see the scale of the damage done to Christchurch by the earthquake.
Ready to head to Antarctica!