Day 2 – The USAP CDC

The facade of the International Antarctic Centre. Note this is NOT the CDC, or USAP, which occupy much more non-descript buildings on the same campus near Christchurch’s airport. (caption added by rph).

Hey kids! 

I know, I know. I didn’t blog last night. But I was tired. So tired. I slept well if you were wondering. 

First things first, the most important meal of the day: Breakfast. Paul and Elena had quite the NZ experience for breakfast: Marmite. Elena says, “It is a food spread produced in New Zealand made from yeast extract, a by-product of brewing beer. If you are new to Marmite, maybe try it in smaller amounts,  like a ~0.1 mm diameter blob. And have some water near by. It is made by “Sanatarium”; however, I am not sure how this food spread will preserve your health.”

After breakfast, we took a shuttle over to the USAP (United States Antarctic Programs) CDC (Clothing Distribution Center; not the Centers for Disease Control as most Americans might think). It was wild. The newbies came in guns a blazin’ with all the excitement in the world. The veterans walked in like it was their living room… nbd, amirite? 

We went into this big auditorium room and watched about 45 minutes of “Welcome to Antarctica” videos then went into our changing rooms to get officially fitted for our gear. Each person was issued 2 orange bags with everything we need for survival (lol not really, just the basics/ outer layers). I don’t know what the boys did but Elena and I had a lot of fun. We’re both on the smaller side, getting XS in almost everything. She pulled out her Big Red and it was almost down to her shins! It literally shallowed her! (Also, you’re welcome for using ‘literally’ correctly, unlike these dang millennials. 😂) What I thought was great were the people. This wonderful woman named Marie helped Elena and I get all suited up. I asked for a super special USAP bag tag that they don’t make any more… and freaking Marie GOT ME ONE! I was like… you’re my girl. (That’s my highest compliment.)  

We ate as a team, no, correction, as a family (💛), at Chilli Kiwi. Might I note that in the previous blog, Jim, who has been coming to Antarctica since 2004 suggested a local favorite Chilli Waki. Upon further inspection, the name of this very fine establishment is Chilli KIWI, because you know, New Zealand and such. Jim looked at me and said, “Wow that makes so much more sense now!” He’s a funny dude. We ate meals that were American-sized and kept us full for many hours. After lunch, we went back to the hotel and repacked our bags. 

We were all too full for dinner so we went to a little tapas place to kind of snack for dinner. Brian with an I stayed in, I think to call his little ones and tuck them into bed for the last time until he gets back to NZ in January. Very sweet. Lisa, ya did good. (Lisa is Brian with an I’s wife. She’s killin’ it back at their home in CO, living the mountain life, raising babies, and working. You got this girlfriend!) At dinner, we enjoyed all kinds of interesting foods like Octopus Dumplings, Kofta (maybe we’re spelling that wrong but it’s like a Scottish Egg of sorts), and the weirded of all foods… chicken wings. Ordered by Jim and Johnny Ringo. Jim, again very funny, asked the waitress for some ranch dressing – which is apparently an American thing! He said, “Man, I come here every year! I’ve got to introduce them to ranch! I’ll revolutionize their wings!” I got a crack out of that and I hope you did too. 

After dinner, we all went back to the hotel and hit the hay. That’s when, you know, I was supposed to write the blog but instead fell asleep to the sweet nothings that Spotify whispered into my ears. 

Chat soon,


-Posted and slightly edited by rph.  My heroic restraint in not fixing the social media dialect should be recognized.