My alarm went off hours after sunrise but I wasn’t ready for it.
Orientation started at 9 a.m. in a building next door to my hotel. Despite a head of fog, I managed to find the right building.
We watched videos that romanticized the ice continent and I tried very hard to keep my eyes open.
Next came the clothing distribution. Everyone gets extreme cold weather gear. This includes: a huge parka, waterproof insulated bib pants, insulated rubber boots, insulated leather gloves, fleece pants and jacket, hat, balaclava, neck gaitor, etc. Everything is bulky but warm.
Most of the clothes fit me as well as could be expected, so my time in the clothing room was over pretty quickly.
I took some time to use the free wifi at the Clothing Distribution Center and then headed into town.
One of the people going down to McMurdo tomorrow is a firefighter named Andy. He and I got Korean food and walked around Christchurch.
The botanical gardens were my favorite part. They are part of a really large span of green space in the middle of the city. I found a monkey puzzle tree from chile. It’s a very tall conifer that has rough bark and thick, scale-like needles. They are considered endangered and, like many large conifers, live for hundreds of years.
The last time I saw one was in a botanical garden in the U.K. when I was 13.
The weather was sunny and warm all day. But by 6 p.m., I was beat.
I went back to my room and slept.
I (might — weather premitting) actually get to see Richard today!! Ahhhhhhhh! SO EXCITED!!!