my trip to the Antarctica and the South Pole

Sunday, December 12, 2004

this one's for the chileans

this one's for the chileans

<> A couple days ago, we got some visitors. But these folks didn't get here on a plane like everyone else on station. These people drove in. They were part of the Chilean traverse that was a land-crossing from the point of land in Antarctica just south of Chile (but not on the peninsula) all the way to the South Pole. It took them 17 days of driving 14 hours per day over sustrugi (snow formations caused by wind) that were up to 5ft high with a caravan that looked like a North Carolina trailer park gone AWOL.

Everyone on station got an email the day before their arrival. It went something like this:
"Sometime in the next couple days, the Chilean traverse team will be arriving at the South Pole. If you see a dot on the horizon moving toward us, please notify Comms." Seriously. Nobody knew exactly where they were or when they'd be rolling in.

Since they've been here, they've been a sort of novelty for us diversity-deprived Americans. They've set up camp on a far corner of the station, but can be spotted just about anywhere around, standing out conspicuously in their blue Chilean parkas like Yankees players in a Red Socks locker room. They've even introduced some of us to Chilean partying with a reception held in the largest of their traverse trailers. It was a crowded affair, causing even our highest higher-ups to stagger to work with a new and different Chilean kind of hangover the next day. They agreed to our invitation to give a presentation one night about their mission and the science they were performing. They were 30 minutes late.

It's neat how in a place without TV or the constant media and sensory overload blitz of the States, a little novelty can go a long way. Vive South Pole!


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