December 26, 2003

Boxing Day surprise...

I was scrolling down-down-down at Boing Boing and was astonished to discover an old friend of ours´┐ŻAllie Barden, (who used to babysit for our kids, and remains a special friend.) She was reporting from McMurdo, in Antartica, where she is working in a mess hall.

We knew she was there, but didn't know about her web-site, a sort of blog with penguins...

Allie in Antartica

....we were going on a us air force plane c141 which is a big, massive, loud piece of metal that travels through stupid conditions at amazing speeds. it was the auschwitz train of moving bodies to the ice. earplugs are mandatory (if anyone wants to purchase my used ones, they can do a search on ebay.) but you can't really hold conversations on the craft anyway since its as loud as a train engine compartment inside the plane. there were 137 people on my flight, of them, 32 were female. we were gender segregated on the flight, our seats, basically cargo netting with seat belts and oxy masks...

there were 2 long paralell rows that ran down the center of the plane. your knees met the knees of the person across from you, your back against the back of the person behind you, your shoulders against the shoulders of the person next to you. moving is not really an option with huge boots and 20 pounds of cold wether gear. my knees hurt so much. if you could maneuver it, you could stand on your seat, but something on your lap ended up falling on the lap of the person next to you. comfortable, it was not. exciting ..... i enjoyed every minute of that flight. except the part when it felt like my eardums were bein sucked out of my head. i didn't like that feeling. there were no windows on the craft except one porthole in the middle which i was lucky enough to be in the vicity of, but could not see out of,due to the whole not being able to move thing.

bathroom travel was not prohibited, but the latrine was nasty. howver, when you gotta go..... so i went. and i am so glad. the latrine was next to the flight deck, and the usaf crew wre hanging out by the door. i talked my way into the cockpit an hour before landing. we had just started to fly over the continent and that's where i saw my first glimpse of antarctica. i can't explain it. the trans-antarctic range peaked below us, and i had a driver side view. i sat in the co-pilot's seat, and was like a little girl in a candy store, fogging the window. there were deep cracks in the otherwise flawless ice floes which denotes glacier movement like when you stick a spoon in chowder that has cooled and formed a skin over the top. i saw ranges that rose to 14,000 (our altitude was 35,000) that were all prefect white with hints of blue. they looked like what clouds would look like if they wre sharp and pointy. i saw places completely untouched, where man has never walked. some of it was like the moon, but sanded over smooth like fiberlass and freshly painted....

Posted by John Weidner at December 26, 2003 10:06 PM
Weblog by John Weidner