Thursday, January 01, 2004
Christchurch, heading off tomorrow
i have arrived in ChC in one piece, and with surprising efficiency for me, had all my antarctic gear fitted and organised at the USAP Clothing Distribution Centre within an hour of landing. They are very keen to give you mountains of gear, but I try now to limit what I accept to the amount of clothing you can physically wear all at one time, which is still 12kgs or so and leaves you with your arms and legs sticking out from your sides like a snow angel.
Nothing to do then but celebrate New Year in NZ! No really important events occurred here apart from meeting Kevin, a one-legged Kiwi at the pub who is about to be on NZ 60 Minutes in January (he tells me) to campaign to legalise marujuana. He also showed me his prosthetic leg, worthy of interest as last week an altercation with his lawnmower severed all five plastic toes.
There was a band in the square and my friend and I wandered out and listened to the cover band playing on stage. I livened up when the leadsinger cried out to the crowd "Anyone like reggae?" The crowd yelled approval so he launched into "I come from a land downunder..." Never actually heard that referred to as a reggae song before, so we careened into the crowd and danced up a storm, singing patriotically. We received a few beercans in the back of the head for our national fervour, but we bore the wounds with pride.
I have a 4am wakeup call tomorrow, to head down to McMurdo, on the Antarctic coast. Hopefully, weather allowing, my next message will be from the Ice. Happy New Year, to all. Hope it is a good one,