Thursday, February 12, 2009


The C-17 lifted off from Pegasus White Ice Runway yesterday with about seventy passengers headed north for Christchurch. When we arrived 5 1/2 hours later it was night and raining. We have not seen darkness in five months. We have not seen rain since before we deployed to Antarctica.  It's hard to describe to those who have not experienced it the sense of wonder at revisiting these familiar but distant events. I have written here before of the curious nature of walking out of a building in Antarctica at midnight and being blasted between the eyes by bright sunlight. I've also talked about the lack of any humidity. To get on a jet and travel a mere five hours and be thrust suddenly into these most normal events of night and rain after having not experienced either for months is quite jarring.

The next morning brought other reminders: city noise, green plants, and familiar scents. What a surprise to the senses. I rode a bus.  I ate at two different establishments. Lunch was at Subway where I had a delicious roasted lamb sub. Dinner was at an Italian restaurant (Valentinos) where I enjoyed a delightful Canterbury Lamb dinner. The exchange rate is favorable now. One US dollar buys about two New Zealand dollars. When I deployed one US dollar only bought about $1.25NZD. Occasionally I would bump into Ice People (as ones returning from Antarctica are known). A stop by Bailie's after dinner for a Guinness topped off a relaxing first day.

Tomorrow I will rent a car and begin a brief driving trip south of Christchurch. First destination: Dunedin, a city recommended  by many who have been here before me. I need to stay in contact with McMurdo, though, because there is a scant possibility that I may be needed back on the ice for the winter.  The station is attempting to fill the remaining medical provider vacancy and if they are successful I will not be needed. However, if there is any glitch in getting that provider, then I can be recalled. You, faithful reader will be kept posted on the events, experiences and photos as I begin exploring New Zealand's spectacular south island.


Anonymous said...

Love the menu from Cafe Valentino...and the lamb dish sounds absolutely delectable!
Comments from a fellow "foodie" :-D

eyedoc said...

They've got LAMB at Subway in NZ?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Ditto that...LAMB at Subway...sounds like an intersting twist on a sandwich?