Halloween and other musings

It’s about 8am here and I should be in bed for the “night” but I wanted to grab some computer time with the LAN cable while most everyone else is at work because Tiffany just let me know that she’s put the new episode of Downton Abbey in Dropbox for me! Yay! And that’s right, Dropbox is accessible to me down here, albeit super slow!

So this probably won’t be a long or super coherent post since I’m sleepy and a bit distracted but last night was Halloween (as most of you know)! Officially, McMurdo observed Halloween on Saturday with a big party. But we Midrats (the term applies to the shift, the people who work the shift, and the food that gets eaten during the shift) had to work and missed out so last night I brought in the decorations I had picked up before leaving the US and we did up the steamtable a little bit.

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Apologies that the picture isn’t better, it was snapped on my iPhone (which I am still using, but only as a calendar, alarm clock, and backup camera/media player) but you can sort of see the garland of bats looped around the sneeze-guard and the one taped to the ceiling are the skulls. It’s not much, I know but hey, down here even the little things count!

Lunch was tacos – with actual taco shells this time! – both beef and chicken as well as TVP, with all the “fixin’s” of course. What is TVP, you ask? It stand for Textured Vegetable Protein and it’s the vegetarian option more times than I can count. It comes in giant bags that look like dog food bags which is appropriate because in it’s dehydrated state, it looks a lot like dog food. You rehydrate it in boiling water and can spice it up like ground beef but it’s just kind of….gross. I have to wonder if vegetarians aren’t just plain offended that this crappy product serves no purpose other than to protect the food providers from complaints that there aren’t any vegetarian options. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone actually choose it but they must because some of it DOES get eaten. Frankly, if I were a vegetarian, I think I’d prefer them not to offer anything than to offer me TVP but what do I know: I love eating baby animals (that’s right, lamb is delicious).

In other news – there are some funny things you hear and see while you’re here that make complete sense in the context of this place but would seem a bit outrageous elsewhere – like wishing a certain nationality would leave you alone:

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It’s not meant to come across as xenophobic or anything – it’s just because it means more mouths to feed and with the kitchen staff at only 80% of what they had last year at this point in the population surge, it’s a lot of strain on us. The reason the Australians are still here is that they’re on their way further inland but a lot of our smaller planes are currently “broken”. So they’ve been bunking down in the temporary housing along with all of our “Polies” – or people on their way to the South Pole station.

Also overheard in a completely casual conversation held along The Hwy in Bldg 155: “Yeah, check it out, half my ear dropped off last week. I was only outside for about 10 minutes but it must have been close to -100 so it got pretty frostbitten but I didn’t notice till the black part fell off. Oh, here! Did you see my Halloween costume this year??…” Yeah….glad I have Tiffany’s beanie AND balaclava. Although further eavesdropping revealed that the woman speaking had been at the Pole when it happened.

Alright, I think it’s time for bed for real now. I’m hoping to go on an excursion or two soon, so should have fun, less mundane updates coming…

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