Saturday Shenanigans

“The Russians are coming!” These words have been spoken here for the last few days. A small Russian-led group arrived yesterday for a 12-hour glimpse into life here at the South Pole. Among the group were some of the wealthiest people in Russia that will potentially fund a remodel of Vostok Station, which is 1300km grid southeast from here. They came here to see what has been done with the elevated station, and I assume they’ll take notes on what works or what doesn’t.

The Russians flew in around 11:30am in a Basler, right after I had finally finished my 12-hour shift. I stayed up to watch them land, and then collapsed shortly after in my bed, absolutely exhausted, my hands still smelling like latex-y weather balloon material, and the echoing ruckus of two LC-130s outside my window keeping me awake. THEY ARE SO LOUD. It’s like being within 100 feet of a commercial airplane at an airport, only a LC-130 is that loud from miles away.

After waking up from a very short 6 hour “night,” I went to the station store, bought two RedBulls, got my mail, and then went off to breakfast, or to everyone else’s pizza dinner. Two old Russian Antarctic Expedition dudes talked to us about the science projects going on at all the Russian stations; long story short, Russia does not have lots of funding. We learned that in the old days (the 70s) they drilled through the ice with alcohol (vodka). I must say that that was expected.

We watched the Russian Basler fly away to Vostok, played with LEGOs in the galley for a good while, then broke out the Cards Against Humanity. As it turns out, this game is a very good way to teach English idioms and slang.

Most people dropped off around 1am and I remained in the met office, catching up on writing blog posts! (And now this won’t be posted until tomorrow because the internet is down again. We’re down to only 1 working satellite feed now… and luckily it’s during my night shift.)

Things to look forward to in the upcoming week:

  • Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with a dance party afterwords!
  • Sunday nights: watching seasons 1-4 of Game of Thrones with the other night shifters
  • It’s getting slightly warmer, as high as -35˚C last night
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