27 August 2010

antarctica: up to day 10

Oh my goodness, so much as happened since I last posted.  Hence the lack of posting.  Lots of ups and lots of downs.  Well, actually not too many downs because I've been refusing to think about anything negative, but once I let my consciousness beyond the walls of the building I'm in, the loneliness is rather suffocating.  Yet at the same time, I'm with all sorts of people everyday, alllllll day.  Sometimes I forget the reality of where I am, and it feels like there was an apocalypse and the only people left are here.  I found out today that I will be having no roommate for the rest of winfly, which means I get the room to myself for the next month.  This is basically unheard of in McMurdo… basically only the highest head honchos get a single room.  Apparently there was a glitch in the system that made it look like there were 3 people in my room… I totally lucked out.  After socializing with people all day every day, it's such a relief to go home to silence.  This evening I finally decorated my room, but it's so dark in there that it's basically impossible to photograph, but it's certainly a lot more cozy now.
Today was my 10th full day here, which is crazy.  It's one of those things where it feels like I've been here for EVER, but at the same I feel like I just got here yesterday and I still have no clue where I am.  
[Atlee getting way too close to the "cake"]
I finally settled in with an awesome group of friends, and had been doing far more than my fair share of laughing, dancing, singing, and enjoying some good old debauchery.  However, just two days ago, all four of my closest friends got moved to the night shift for the next month.  So now I'm feeling friendless and like I'm starting all over again.  It's been difficult lately, but I also know how much fun life will be once mainbody starts in a month.  
We got to take a tour of the waste treatment plant during work, which was hilarious and fascinating.  Currently, they are able to treat all of the waste and put clear, clean water back into the ocean, but once mainbody starts up and the station is at full capacity, they often have to dump raw sewage.  Needless to say, it reeked in there, and taking a tour with 10 immature guys made it far funnier than it should have been.
There was a crazy storm a few nights ago… they set up ropes between the buildings and we all had to stay put unless we agreed to take snacks with us in case we got stuck somewhere.  The bars closed (this was a big deal to everyone), and events were cancelled.  You could hear the wind screaming from deep within buildings… I have never heard wind so angry.  This is a picture during the day, before it got really bad… you could barely see 20 feet to the next building.
This is a picture of where I spend a lot of time everyday, in the laundry room of dorm 211.  We haven't officially gotten our building assignments, but I have cleaned this dorm for the past 5 days, and it would be really cool if I could stay here since this is where Mom and Scott will probably live when they get here.
The big blue building is 155, the heart of McMurdo.  This is where I live, where I meet for work in the morning, where I eat, where I spend about 80% of my day.  I've been cleaning the halls in the afternoon, which is a social overload since people are streaming through constantly.  The other day I was buffing the floor with a machine and several men offered me money to sit and spin on the machine as they passed by.  Nice.  You also end up seeing the same people again and again and again, and saying hi every time gets old fast.  But it's also fun to be able to visit with people while working.
It's still mostly dark, so when I walk to the dorm I'll be cleaning in the morning and take out the trash, I get to see some gorgeous lighting as the sun thinks about coming up.  All three of these shots above are morning light, my favorite.
While I haven't actually seen the sun yet, it does get very bright for about 4 hours everyday now.  Today was the first time it's been clear out, as it's been so stormy, and the view of Ob Hill was stunning.  Scrubbing toilets and mopping floors inside so much, I forget where I am sometimes until I step outside and see the Royal Society Mtns across the sea ice and feel the sharp sting of frigid air in my lungs.  It blows my mind every time: I'm in freakin' Antarctica!
Finally, this is the sunset from tonight.  I was using my crappy camera, so I didn't capture the nacreus clouds very well, but the sky was glorious orange, with some shimmery pink nacreus clouds nestled at the horizon.  I had probably my worst day yet today, but when I saw this view as I was dragging linen across town, I instantly felt better.
This place is completely crazy.


  1. I can't believe you! You are extraordinary... What an experiece you are having. I can't imagine...but it sure helps me to when you prose and post! Keep up the info for our meager imaginations!xxoo ((((warm Hugs)))

  2. I love the way a moment, such as a beautiful sunset, can make everything feel a little bit better. I hope you find many more of these moments as you work your way through this challenging environment. Try and enjoy the crazy.

  3. No no..it blows MY MIND- you're in freakin Antarctica!!!!!

    You have NO IDEA how incredibly fantastic it is to be able to say that, antarctica? oh sure, I know somebody down there...

  4. hope your enjoying your arctic adventure :)

  5. What an adventure! Kudos for you for making such a bold leap. Looks like your'e having an extraordinary time!


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