Delayed in Christchurch

You never know how long it’s going to take to get from Christchurch to McMurdo, which is my next stop. McMurdo is on the coast of Antarctica, and frequently gets big storms with lots of wind and snow that prevent aircraft from taking off or landing there. And then it can take a couple days after a big storm just to clean up the runway so it’s ready for use.

Apparently that’s what’s happening now… for the second day in a row I got a call at 4am letting me know our flight was cancelled… so I didn’t have to report at 6am. It’s nice to get some sleep, and nice to get work done while here in Christchurch enjoying the good food… but I’d rather head south!

Meanwhile, it’s fun to notice things that are different here than in the US. Here are two photos related to that. The first shows one of their firetrucks (this one is for Henry!), which looks very different than the trucks we see in the US.

The second picture shows a *paperback* copy of a normal everyday book that might cost $15 (at most!) in the US. If you look close at the price tag on the bottom left, you’ll see this one is marked $38.99 in New Zealand dollars. The exchange rate is about 0.70 US for $1NZ, so in US dollars that book costs something like $27. Much more expensive here! I saw a regular hardback book for over $70NZ !!! I asked about this, and apparently because NZ doesn’t produce their own books (they have to be shipped in), and because they’re a small market, they cost a lot. That said, most things do seem expensive here, food included, even at the grocery/convenience stores.

All for now – off to enjoy a sunny day in Christchurch.