Landed in Christchurch
This story starts with my first step onto the ground in Christchurch, New Zealand, from the airplane that I took from Houston. As I stepped off of the airplane into the airport, I knew that I was supposed to go from my gate and check in with the United States Antarctic Program representatives. Then, after going through customs and checking in with the United States Antarctic Program desk we were told that we WOULD be getting on a shuttle at our hotel at 0745 in the morning to report to the USAP for the issue of our Extreme Cold Weather gear. We were then told where to get to the shuttle that would take us to our hotel, the “Rendezvous Hotel” in Christchurch. Most, but not all of the people on my team are staying there.
I exchanged some US money for New Zealand dollars. The exchange rate is one New Zealand Dollar is 68 American cents. I got $100 New Zealand dollars. (Here's a math problem for you. How much did it cost in American dollars to buy $100 NZ?)
The shuttle took us to our hotel about 10km away. There were about 10 of us. Everyone was very friendly and all had interesting jobs and some great stories. This is a nice hotel but there are a few differences between this hotel and a normal hotel back home. The biggest difference is that in order to have the electrical work in my room, I have to put my key card in a little slot. If the card isn’t in the slot… no electricity on the room.
On February 22, 2011, Christchurch had a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. It caused severe damage in Christchurch and a nearby town called Lyttelton, killing 185 people and injuring several thousand. Much of the downtown area was completely destroyed and large portions of what used to be the downtown area still haven't been rebuilt.
The US Antarctic program takes our safety very seriously and even gives us a card with instructions to follow to check in if an emergency like an earthquake were to happen.
Here is a link to a New Zealand government website about the history of the earthquake.