Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stormy Weather...

I wish I could post the movie of me in this is very dramatic, but in the meantime, here is a pic after a short hobble in the windy snow-blowing weather known as "condition 2". If I weighed 8 pounds less I might blow over, and no one is allowed to drive around or work outdoors as they may get hit by flying debris. During condition 1, everyone must stay indoors, as it is way too dangerous to go out. Right now I can feel the wind wobbling the building I'm in, & I can get just a glimpse of what those early explorers had to deal with (while sitting at my comfortable new ergonomic work station, nibbling 3 year old beef jerky, feet drenched in sweat as I'm wearing insulated footwear in a 75F office.) Yesterday Will & I were interviewed by a film crew for a film they are making about McMurdans, which will air on the Sundance channel sometime next year. I felt so dreadfully dull hearing my overly wrought monologue-style answers that I've heard myself wax on about my Antarctic experience for the umpteenth time....but who knows, I may not end up on the editing floor as I fear... Will had more exciting stuff to talk about, so maybe if they don't axe him, you'll still be able to see me sitting next to him, semi-serious interviewee look on my face, with my really bad Antarctic hair. For some reason, my hair looks really bad down here - guess it 's the dryness combined with wearing a hat a lot (greasy on top, fried ends). Speaking of hair, we dyed Will's hair last night with a beat up box of Miss Clairol we found in skua. The box showed a platinum blonde shade, but his hair turned out a hue that could only be called "luminous pale strawberry" now my heavy equipment mechanic boyfriend has a better dye job than I have. For lack of activities around here, people are always doing creative things with their hair: reckless bleaching overlayed with clown-wig colors, mohawks, pictures shaved into temples, girls going bald, guys braiding hex nuts into their beards...there's been a breakout of that lately, probably in preparation for the S&M rave this Saturday. I probably won't be attending, but I'll post if I hear anything juicy.

Can't believe I've been here a month already. 1/6th done = yippee!

Monday, September 11, 2006

More Great Pix

Ola blog readers! I had a fairly uneventful week, but my boyfriend got to go out to Black Island to work on generators (& the T-Rex, which broke a track on the way out). A group of 11 traveresed across the Ice shelf to BI, which we can see here from McM. But what is great is seeing our station from across the ice. The bottom photo is a view of McMurdo from Black Island (in the top left). It's like a glittery metropolis as seen from a highway out in the county. Our station looks so cozy from out there, and IS cozy compared to the blustery harsh conditions Will & the traverse team had. They had heated buildings & good food, but harsh working conditions. I spent the week in my warm cubicle, taking long walks after work in near blizzard conditions...I have to admit, I find it exhilarating - while the extreme heat just flattens me, the extreme cold invigorates; and there's no way I'm going to stay indoors & miss sunsets like the one pictured, which lasted for what seemed like hours & was utterly fulfilling. The last time I watched sunsets like this were in Oaxaca, Mexico, so it is surreal indeed to be seeing them here too. These seem more special, probably because they are so short lived, and seem almost..three dimensional...soon we will have 24 sun, so I am going to go out & enjoy all of these clear days, no matter how cold it is.

p.s. the other photo is of Will in his beloved T-Rex, "Nodwell" tracked vehicle that weighs over 18,000 lbs.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Sun in Out!

It has been a very overcast Winfly until now - the sun came out a few days ago & now we can see gorgeous sunrises & sunsets. The full moon down here was spectacular - it seemed close enough to touch, and was so bright you had to squint as it bathed the town with a surreal orange-y blue light.

The purpose of Winfly is to construct the Ice Runway for the C-17 flights (which will be almost every other day throughout the summer (Oct-Dec)). Some of these photos are of the snowblasts & tractors which remove the snow off of the ice, so there will be a smooth surface for the runway, which is just outside of town. We can walk, jog and ski out to the Ice Runway, and they have their own galley. By December, the sea ice will become too unstable (slushy) for the big planes to land on, so almost overnight the buildings & accopanying detritus which support the runway will disappear, and Pegasus (the permanent runway used forWinfly & redployment (Feb) flights) will again be used.

I am learning my job easily, and right now don't mind so much being chained to a desk, but as soon as it warms up I'm sure I'll miss the rugged outdoor work I did last year. I am going to ask for an outdoor job during ship offload (Feb) so I can get a megadose of hard outdoor work. I've been going to the gym almost everyday for cardio on the treadmill as it's so easy to gain weight here will all the unlimited food being served...oh well, there's always skua* for larger pants!!

*skua: 1) depository of cast off items from people leaving the Ice (think of Wal-Mart after a tornado hits it), always great stuff - anything you could want (clothes, books, toiletries, and some rather dodgy items as well). 2) indigenous Antarctic bird, kind of like a seagull-like pidgeon, that hangs outside the galley looking for food.

It is now Saturday morning, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in and enjoying Sunday brunch. Will has been out at Black Island fixing generators & a broken Nodwell (T-Rex), so I look forward to his return as well ;-).