Posted by: sioglac | Nov 12, 2011

We’re gettin’ there…

Greetings from Christchurch, New Zealand. It took a bit more than 24 hours of travel, but we made it. Here’s what went down:

Thursday evening, I met up with fellow WISSARD field team members Knut and Ben at the Los Angeles airport, where we ate one LAST burrito before heading out of the country. (Aside: I’ve said every burrito for the past week has been my “last” burrito. Oops. This one really was.) Knut and I found out upon checking in that we were upgraded to business class for no apparent reason, while the two others on our field crew on our flight did not. No logical explanation has been deduced, but the upgrade did come with its perks. Check out the bottom left button:

Yup, my seat went flat. I ended up getting more sleep than I do on a typical night. So that was helpful. After meeting up with Lucas in Auckland customs, the four of us headed to the domestic terminal to catch our flight to Christchurch. Both the flight to Auckland and the flight to Christchurch were packed with folks headed to the ice. I sat next to a portable seimometer technician on the way to Auckland and a McMurdo shuttle driver on the way to Christchurch. She decided to come to Antarctica on a whim (the free trip to New Zealand helped) and is quite excited to start her first season, not unlike me.

After a quick logistics speech from the USAP in the Christchurch baggage claim, I made the executive decision to leave my duffel filled with tools, boots, and jackets at the CDC for the next two days. This decision came back to haunt me when, after lunch, I decided to go for a quick 40 minute run to survey the damage leftover from February’s <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Christchurch_earthquake&#8221; target=”_blank”>devastating M6.3 earthquake</a>. I had packed all my socks in my boots. Which were in the duffel. At the CDC. So I had to go out for my inaugural New Zealand run looking like this:

Dang. Totally not cool. The run, however, was extremely cool. I have never experienced an earthquake (amazing considering I live in southern California and have spent a fair bit of time in the Bay Area) nor have I have been in a serious disaster area. The scene actually felt a little post-apocalyptic still: the streets downtown are all closed off, there are brick and concrete walls missing large sections, large piles of debris are common, and, probably because it’s a cool, overcast Saturday, there was <i>no one</i> walking around. Just an incredible experience. I will not be forgetting this run for a long time. I meant to bring my camera along to try to share the experience, but I was too thrown off about the sock situation and forgot. Sorry. I did snap this one on the way to lunch though:

You aren’t supposed to be able to see through this church and I don’t think the steeple is supposed to be in the front yard. Hopefully I’ll carve out some time tomorrow to take pictures around downtown. Up next: sleeping off the minimal jet lag, meeting up with the other four in our field team (the 3 Kiwis (field leader Huw, Rory, and Matt) and Atsu, who had some typical State College Airport weirdness that resulted in a day delay), and, at 1PM, hitting up the CDC for some fashion wear. Look forward to pictures of ridiculous clothing.
-matt

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Responses

  1. As if Americans don’t have enough image issues overseas….you had to run in those socks? Well, I guess that’s better than walking around in sneakers, white tube socks, khakis and a baseball hat, with a camera slung around your neck. Or was that your afternoon outfit?

    • they had stripes, which don’t come out in the picture so well. it wasn’t good. i did walk past a local running in a polo shirt, so, i didnt feel *that* badly about this…

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