24 October, 1998
Today was another beautiful day. I had breakfast at the hotel and then asked for a shuttle to the NSF (National Science Foundation) offices right next to the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center). This would be my first chance to answer my e-mail messages and upload my journal entries and photos. I spent 3 hours this morning trying to access my messages and organize my journals. It amazes me that we can communicate so easily and that you can immediately see what my team has been up to. I had trouble accessing any e-mail messages from October 23 and before because Dan, my husband, had diligently already downloaded them off of the server at home. We didn't know that I would have e-mail access in Christchurch. So all of you who e-mailed me before then....e-mail again!
After finishing my journaling, I met Betty, the other TEA, for lunch at the 60 Degrees South Cafe at the International Antarctic Centre, a museum on the Antarctic. We decided to catch up on last minute purchases, since we are supposed to leave on Monday (and this weekend is a 3-day holiday weekend in New Zealand). I had to get Dramamine (motion sickness pills) in case of wooziness on the helicopters. I think I'll be alright, but you hear all of these horrible stories of people who have "lost it" on the flights, so I'd rather be safe than sorry. I had to also purchase one of those night masks you wear at night to prevent light from keeping you awake. I'll be sleeping in a tent in the Dry Valleys, and since Antarctica is in complete sunlight all day, it might be the only way I can go to sleep.
Every weekend, the Arts Centre has a street market with artists, craftspeople, buskers, and international food vendors. Betty and I decided we had to experience it to get a cultural flavor of the city. It is a great place to see the sights, watch people, and make a few purchases. We had fun browsing.
Upon getting back to the hotel, we met a few more people going down to the ice. This time we met a team mostly from California, a few from Maine, North Dakota, and Iowa who were going down for several months to build the fuel tanks down at McMurdo. Betty and I ended up having dinner with three of them who were all from North Dakota. We went to this restaurant called Sergeant Pepper's, a dive playing constant Beatles music. It was fun, and a good time was had by all!
I think the plan for tomorrow is to go windsurfing. As you can tell, the life of a scientist takes many turns and twists. It's not very predictable. There will be two flights going out tomorrow-- one on a C-141 Starlifter Jet and the other on a C-130 prop-driven plane. Since the C-141 has more fuel capacity, it can actually get to McMurdo and turn around and come back if the weather is not right. This has happened several times already with other groups. With the C-130, there is a Point of Safe Return (PSR) which is about 2/3 of the way to McMurdo. If the plane hits rotten weather by that point, it has to turn back. If it actually reaches McMurdo, it must land because it doesn't have enough fuel to get back to Christchurch. So we hope both make it...then we're on for Monday. There are many people at my hotel waiting to get to McMurdo. At least I'm scheduled on one of the next flights. I can't wait...
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