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The flight to pole has been delayed. Or cancelled. No one is really sure and no one believes the information line--the suspicion of rumors is too deep (and we've only been here a few days!).

The landscape around here is really very alien. It isn't like anything I've ever seen before. I suspect bits of northern Canada or Greenland might look this way, but I don't know. I took several pictures yesterday but after about the fifth shot I could hear my film creaking as I advanced it--have to be careful not to break any rolls!

I've noticed some interesting things here. I was watching a janitor sweep the floor near a door yesterday and all he had in the pile was rocks. There isn't really any dirt here, in the sense of soil, that gets tracked in. When I walk around outside I see lots of rocks of all sizes, very volcanic in appearance. As far as I can tell they are just haven't been worn down into sand and dirt the way rocks are up in warmer areas. So we don't have any dirt to track in. But there are pebbles and rocks everywhere.

Its also surprisingly dry in the buildings on the floors. In Minnesota in the winter its generally a swamp inside most buildings--people track in lots of snow on their boots that melts and makes puddles on the floors and slippery stairs. The snow is all quite crusty and frozen here, so not much of it sticks to boots, so the floors are very dry. All in all it makes for a clean environment without much effort, which is nice!

People also seem to be conscientious about keeping things clean--the bathrooms are very clean, and there isn't a lot of junk and garbage strewn about. Garbage itself has become quite an issue. I've started making little piles of trash in my room because I can't quite deal with throwing it away. It isn't like at home, where you just put it in the trash bin. Here in antarctica, one is presented with about 8 bins, each with a sign explaining what items should go in that bin, and the trash must be sorted correctly. Some of the bins are:

there is a lookup sheet sorted by trash item at: http://www.mcmurdo.gov/community/general/trash.html So, to throw away a scrap of tape presents a small problem. I stockpile my trash and when I have a few minutes I'll go down to the bins and stand there and puzzle it out. Its best to get there before they've emptied the bins--that way I can look inside and get more examples of what goes where!

I think I'll head over to Scott Base (the New Zealand base) and see how they do things!


copyright 2000 Andrea Grant

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