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We have made it to the ice!
Our trip to Christchurch was long but uneventful: 3 hours from San Diego to Dallas, 16 hours from Dallas to Sydney, Australia, and then another 3 hours to Christchurch totalling 22 hours of flight with about a five hour lay-over in Sydney and Dallas. Our 36 hours in Christchurch included 1.5 nights of good sleep, some sightseeing, collecting our ECW gear, and then a 6 hour flight on a US Airforce C-17 jet to McMurdo.
Our main impression of Chirstchurch: It is still a bit sad to see a city that was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 2011, and only 20-30% of the rebuilding is completed. There are lots of open spaces where collapsed buildings have been removed, and most major historic buildings such as the cathedral are boarded up, and stabilised with heavy steel supports on the sides where they were damaged the most. It is cool, however, how they are dealing with this all the open spaces. They built a really cool "container-mall" a collection of modified shipping containers that now hold stores and restaurants, with cool art in between. We also found a dancing platform with a re-purposed, coin-operated washing machine that magically illuminated a dance floor, and a dongle where you could plug in your iPhone to dance to your favorite music. We had a great time with that.
The clothing issue was a standard operation for me and Lisa who had done it before, but Hanna had a difficult time letting go of her Big Red, a super-warm, red coat that looks both fashionable and it is effective survival gear.
Then we went on a very noisy, bare-bones flight in a C-17 transport plane. We were lucky to board a flight so quickly, the previous flight had been cancelled so both flights joined and headed down. We also shared our space with huge crates containing our bags and a small tractor-crane to arrive on the ice. We arrived to freezing cold, gorgeous weather. We landed on Pegasus field, one of two airport on the ice servicing McMurdo and took an hour long drive over the ice shelf to McMurdo, somewhat dazed, but in one piece.