My passport came!

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    Hello… I was beginning to worry.  Mailed in to RENEW on Feb 28. It came yesterday. (May 12)

    Also my “kit” arrived on Friday.
    I’ve been to the dentist…… have physical scheduled for Tuesday – I’m trying to hurry!


    Wow, that took a long time. Can you tell if it has an RFID chip in it? (A personal paranoia on my part.)

    Rock on, Jo!



    Cool Jo
    Sounds like you are on track. Now comes the PQ. Expect that they will flag something in your dental or medical for you to follow up on. You may end up feeling like you are about to die, but they really follow up on rather insignificant things, just to be sure.
    Good luck


    I’m not sure what that is… but yes… there is something embedded…. !

    I’ve been trying to fill out the paperwork.  WOW….

    Now is when I need to go back and read the earlier info on hotels to choose in Christchurch!
    Any tidbits you care to share?

    PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’ choice for best Web mail—award-winning Windows Live Hotmail.


    no rfid chip in mine. sent in the paper work early January, got the passport end of March.


    > … info on hotels to choose in Christchurch!

    Deploying personnel usually have to get up early, often at 3am or thereabouts. The better B&Bs and Hotels will wake you, make shuttle reservations, etc. Many people stay at backpacker’s hotels but (IMO) the first time down it’s good to stay with folks who will help you. It’s more expensive but it’s only for a couple nights. On the way back home it’s easy and economical to stay at cheaper places. Wherever you stay, it’s good to be near Cathedral Square — it’s central to everything.

    If you’re only going to be there for a couple days, I recommend the Windsor. It’s in a good location, breakfast is included, and they know the drill.

    Also good for independent travelers on a budget is the YMCA, although you’ll have to take care of most arrangements on your own. I’ve heard good things about Living Space and mixed things about BaseX backpackers, but haven’t stayed at either place myself.


    BTW, newer passports may have embedded Radio-Frequence IDentification (RFID) chips. This allows customs agents to read your personal information simply by holding the passport near a reader instead of swiping it. There are indications that others (merchants, terrorists) may also be able to read that same information from a short distance away. It’s a potential security issue that’s being debated.


    I agree with Glenn, but I think I would ask for the YMCA first and the Windsor as the second choice on your way down. The Y is a big place, cheap, and is full of ice people. Chances are you will meet a lot more people at the Y than the Windsor.
    However, the Windsor is only a step back. The Y is spartan, The Windsor pampers the ice folks. By the time you figure in a free cooked breakfast, there isn’t a great difference in price.
    I like going out for breakfast in the morning, so the free breakfast is less an issue for me. One thing to keep in mind on the way down is that if all goes to plan, you will possibly only be in Cheech for a night. Two years ago I flew in at 12 noon and went right to the CDC to get clothing. We met the next morning at 4am at the Antarctic Center for the flight down. Then to work the next morning
    Everyone complained that they were still jet lagged, so last year they added a paid day in Cheech. With all the budget cuts this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the extra day knocked off.
    The hotel becomes more of an issue when you return to cheech from MCM at the end of the season. You have days or weeks or even months to vacation and play around. You may spend a week, then travel someplace else only to return at some point to fly out. The tradeoffs between comfort and price become more important at that point.


    I thought it was actually harder to meet Ice people at the Y, even though many stay there. You can always go down to Bailey’s Bar in the square and find lots of hard-bitten, cranky Ice folks (mostly repeat offenders, more interested in beer than exploring Chch).

    As far as other hotels… I stayed at the Croydon B&B a few years ago — it was alright but I still preferred the YMCA. The Devon used to be THE place to stay, but it changed owners a few years ago and the new owner doesn’t really welcome USAP people; too much of a P.I.T.A. I guess. So I *don’t* recommend them.

    Jo, if you’re deploying at WINFLY (August) my guess is that you’ll get your pick of lodgings. It’s low season at that time of the year. If you’re going in at Mainbody (October?), Christchurch will be crawling with deploying people and there may be some competition for good digs, especially if flights have been delayed due to bad weather. There’s been many times when every hotel room in Chch has been full because so many people are backed up and waiting to go.

    If that happens to you — delayed flights — they’ll give you a daily stipend to cover costs. After the first night, you can always change to a cheaper hotel if it looks like you’ll be in town for a while.



    Two reasons why I don’t stay at the Y…
    1)  Not that I’m a light sleeper, but those big, metal doors have big, noisy latches that echo down the hallway in the middle of the night.
    2)  The last time I stayed there, I had just got off the ice after being there for a year.  Unfortunately, there was a soccer tournament going on in town, and all floors were filled with kids aged 12-16.  Noise at all times of the day/night, and chaperones that couldn’t control ’em.
    And one BIG reason that I like staying at the Y…
    1)  It right across the street from the Gardens.  Ahhh… 
    I like the Windsor.  Great breakfast, and great lunch sacks.  Free wireless internet, too.


    Thank you all –

    I will consider all my choices.  (and then no doubt be stuck with a third that has to be made on the spot!)  At this time – I’ve been told Oct 1 as a departure time.

    Did the drug test…. AND the blood test today.  Tomorrow morning is the doctor physical…. and he will schedule the other ‘extra’ tests. 

    Oh… and how can you tell if you have the chip embedded in the passport?  It basically looks the same as my old one.

    Can’t wait to meet you all!


    PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’ choice for best Web mail—award-winning Windows Live Hotmail.


    As you probably know, the important thing about places to stay is that you’re not making a lifetime purchase, just renting a room for a night or two. If it works out, you have a story to tell. If it is lousy, you have a story to tell…(be sure to tell us how it works out).

    My comments, make sure you are somewhere near the Square to get the flavor of the town and some idea of what/where to spend more time when you come out. As for the Devon, I stayed there multiple times in January 2004, 05 and 06, the owner treated me great, I enjoyed the location, the breakfasts, and the internet service. And I met other ice folks there, but no RPSC people (well, I wasn’t one either), besides I wasn’t there at the beginning/end of the season when most of them are deploying.


    Well as usual, Bill’s right… In the grand scheme, where you stay is small potatoes. I think people just get overwhelmed by the list of hotels.

    And Atlas has a point — if you stay at the YMCA, take ear plugs just in case you’re on the same floor as a bunch of noisy middle-schoolers.



    I forgot about the square. Whichever one you pick, make sure you are walking distance to town. Christchurch is such a unique place that you will undoubtably love your first few days there. If you pick a hotel out of town, it gets a little harder to just go into the square for a walk.


    If you stay at the Y, I recommend asking for the 3rd floor (Fourth floor in American as Kiwis start with the “ground floor”). Usually there are no kids (noisy ones) on that floor and the shower still has enough pressure. Fourth floor (kiwi) are the ensuites and doubles for couples but lousy showers. First and second floor (kiwi) are for the kids.

    If you have some spare cash, stay at the Devon. My favorite by far. And while Bailey’s is sorta the defacto home of Ice people, you’re gonna find many, many more at the Dux DeLux, across from the Y … well more catty corner … but close by.

    have a fun trip down … i’ll be on my final flight outta antarctica in November … it’ll be nice.



    I always love the Y. It’s the nicest place for the price. I’ve found that they usually stick Ice people on the 3rd floor. Brien’s description is accurate about the floors. The lobby of the Y is always a good place to meet up with other Ice people. And it’s right next to the botanical gardens. And yes, the Dux usually has more Ice people than Bailies, and it’s right across from the Y.

    Any of the places they stick you are good, though

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