South Pole Diaries 1999/2000    

   

9th January: Ice cream trucks, hot sauce and Mel Gibson

From Jessica:

G'day, hope everyone had a lovely weekend in sunny Oz weather.

The SODAR seems to be pretty happy, and as I type Andre is about to talk to Mike Ashley about the Supervisor computer, so hopefully we can get network connections happy and cheery today. As Andre said, the SODAR is returning mostly "9999"'s, which does not surprise me as the weather in the last couple of days has been amazingly still and calm. There is not even any diamond dust in the air. It would be nice for perhaps one or two blustery days just to see some real numbers though. Interesting responses from station people about the noise. Some of the CARA guys said that it sounded "way too happy" to be a genuine scientific instrument. I told him that if I could get it to play the funeral dirge, I'd try. Another girl says it makes her hungry because it reminds her of an ice-cream truck. I had no reply to this.

Yesterday, Andre and I grabbed a radio and a torch and hiked out to the end of the runway to see a buried Hercules plane which crashed there a number of years ago. It is now buried in a couple of metres of snow, but people have created quite a chamber of tunnels down into it, which is incredible to look at. Andre said it was only a couple of kilometres. No problem. Interest got me the first third of the way. Bravado the second. I have no idea what propelled me for the final part of the way, but I remember thinking this plane better have first class in flight meals to be worth this walk. Admittedly it was pretty cool to look at. We didn't go down into the main chamber as the entrance ( about three metres directly down, looked quite risky with only two of us there), but it was interesting nevertheless. We struggled back to the AASTO, and sat down, gasping.  Turns out we had been on the road for over three hours! Andre had six minutes to get back to the dome for a haircut by the visiting McMurdo hairdresser. The walk kind of stuffed us, and  only sat in the summer camp lounge for about an hour before crashing. 

I did have enough time to have a chat to a few of the construction crew about stuff. The fist, and most astute question I was asked: "So, like, is Mel Gibson the the most popular guy in, like, Australia?" I told him Mel was a bit past it, but Barry Manilow was still very popular. Nearly everyone from the US here associates Australia with the TV series "The Crocodile Hunter" which is a huge hit over there.

There are fifteen different brands of hot sauce in the galley. These guys are mad over it. In fact sauce in general has a complement of about fifty bottles in various states of use. Most of them have names like "Old Yeller's Genuine Homestyle Spit-flavoured Strawberry, Peanut Butter and Chilli Sauce (created from freshly made preservatives)"

smiles,

Jess :)

 

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