Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve in Mac Town

After working a ten hour day, crashing in a smelly, cramped dormitory, and wandering the dusty streets of McMurdo it does not feel much like Christmas. Still, the people here do what they can to try and get some Christmas Spirit going.

Sleigh won't start -- get the bikes

There have been a number of special events this week, including:
  • Cirque de Glace -- the women’s soiree I mentioned earlier.
  • Caroling, including our own version of the twelve days of Christmas (laden with penguins, skuas, and C-17s).
  • Snowflake day in the arts & crafts room, which were then used to decorate the galley.
  • A local production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
  • Christmas movies.
  • A town party held in the vehicle maintenance bay.
  • Several departmental parties.
  • Decorations on the streets.
  • Spamming people’s doors
  • Giving people little gifts.
  • Many people wearing Santa hats or dressing in holiday clothes & costumes (several janos have been dressed as elves the last few days).
  • Getting smashed (the bars have been packed to the gills all week).
A lot of folks are hoping for packages from home which were expected to arrive before Christmas. However, there have been mechanical and weather problems, so we are in our 5th day with no plane. Ouch, as I was typing this, I heard that they boomeranged today’s flight (turned it around and sent it back to New Zealand due to zero visibility at the airfield) -- so it will be at least the 27th before we have fresh food…or mail… or beer. Yes, the station has been out of beer for days now, causing quite a ruckus.  Luckily there is still wine and whisky.

Pegasus Airfield under layer of ice fog

Guess the South Pole elves win again…the little Grinches

For me personally, it is the never-ending day and the lack of children that makes it seem very not like Christmas. There is no cold winter evening with glowing lights, a cheery fire, hot chocolate and a sparkling tree. Nor are there giggling children begging to open presents early, while writing a letter to Santa and putting out milk and cookies. What we do have are a lot of tired, lonely people trying to keep their spirits up a very, very long way from home.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great place for transformation. Away from the regular conveniences there is a chance to see them for what they are. Hot chocolate sounds great. Great opportunity to experience what is possible when in unfamiliar places. Juliette, Dutch Harbor, Alaska.