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26 December, 2002

Clothing Distribution Center (CDC)

Today we started our morning with breakfast in the dining room of the Devon B & B where we were staying. Then we walked around town a bit checking out some small shops. Not everything was open because it was Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas and it is a public holiday. Yet, some stores were open and we managed to poke around for a few hours searching for gifts to bring back to family and friends. There are lots of wool products to be found. Also a great deal of honey is sold as gifts. I was parcticularly interested in manuka honey that comes from the native manuka tree. Bees extract pollen from this flowering tree, which they use to make this special honey. Before I left for this trip Frank, from my doctor’s office and a local beekeeper, told me about this honey and the medicinal value of it. Sarah, one of the Kiwi members of our research team, explained to me that Waikato University in NZ is currently doing research on manuka honey. Researchers are investigating the healing properties of the honey by spreading it on burns and other wounds. I hope I will be able to bring some back home when I return.

We ate a quick lunch at a local café and then headed back to the B & B to catch our shuttle to the CDC. There we tried on all our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) Gear. This took a few hours as we had to try on several pairs of gloves and mittens, long underwear, insulated bunny boots with our wool socks, hats, balaclavas, neck gaiters, wind pants, a wind jacket, a set of fleece pants and coat, and of course the heavy red down parka. It is important to try everything on in layers just as you will wear it in the field. It must fit comfortably and not restrict you while you work. Your boots must be snug enough to so your feet do not slip in them, yet loose enough to wiggle your toes. If they are too tight, your feet will get cold quickly.

All this ECWgear, plus you own person gear, must fit into two bright orange duffle bags. So we had to haul all our luggage to the CDC and repack out bags there. You are allowed 75 pounds of gear to put check onto the aircraft. You can then also have a carry on. I actually surpassed my weight limit due to all my technology equipment, but because it was related to my work, it was allowed.

After the CDC, we headed back to the B & B to drop off our overnight clothes and toiletries and then set off for dinner. We met up with the New Zealand member of our team to get acquainted and the make plans for the next day.

Out to dinner with the Kiwi Team and fellow researcher Steve from the U.S. From left to right, Steve, Sarah, Chris, Tom, Sean, Aaron, Jake, and Amber.

The cathedral in Cathedral Square in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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