Yesterday was our day-before-flight (but not really) date with ASC Christchurch for check-in, laptop security scan, an orientation (3 videos), quick temperature check, ECW clothes issue and try on, trade in anything that did not fit or had a dodgy zipper, repack (again) and sort into checked bags, boomerang bag, carry on, weighing and rearranging everything.
Of course I got confused. I was mighty sick of toting all the stuff I have so I left most of it there, thinking (stupidly, blithely) all I needed was stuff for the night. I was thankfully careful with the medications and have a week supply on me, but no change of clothes. In part I was worried about time and did not wish to disrupt my careful packing to ferret out a shirt and pants, because I had to go find a MacBook Pro Ethernet cable (using buses, no car) because the computer guy kindly told me I would need one (this was news or I would have had one). Otherwise this blog would shut down a couple of months. It will certainly slow down, due to the limited bandwidth on base but also I intend to be busy.
But all the scurry was unnecessary, because my flight got moved 3 hours ahead and then 24 hours, and Vince’s an additional 48. Who knows why we were separated but we were, and apparently once a manifest is populated it’s nearly impossible to change.
After a day at the beach just learned that I am now moved to Vince’s flight which means another day here–good we are traveling together–but also I pretty much need to go buy a shirt. I did not really pack much for warm weather, and today it was lovely, sunny, and even hot for awhile.
ECW clothing is fussy. There is a lot of it. The “bunny” boots weigh 7 pounds each and it feels like a workout just walking across the carpeted changing room floor in them. It’s crucial to one’s comfort for the next many weeks that the gear fits and is free of problems that may seem small now but could develop into profound discomfort later. One of my mittens though brand new had a gash in it, so back it went. The advice is to take everything if it’s your first time because everyone works out what and how they wear it in combination with their own stuff individually. But it’s mandatory to wear much of it on the flight and to have much of it with you when you are out and about.
Later we went to the International Antarctic Center (http://www.iceberg.co.nz) across the way from CDC. Lots of good info and fun interactive (inter-reenactive?) things to do here. We did not go into the simulated blizzard room (having already been splashed and shook and spat at by 3D seals in the “4D theatre”), but we watched a lot of people take part through the big viewing window. It may seem rather obvious, but people do tend to huddle together in the cold. As the temperature dropped in the room one could see this begin to happen, and when the wind hit and the room darkened it was really noticeable–the smaller clumps of family and friends began to meld into a large clump of everyone. I felt like I was watching a demonstration of environmental effects on cultural proxemics. For me the best part of the Center was the giant HD film featuring a helicopter flight that included the Dry Valleys. Just, wow. And that, if luck holds, was a pre-enactment.