But not intentionally.
Since the name of this blog is, after all, Stories That Are True, I feel obliged to be truthful in my reporting. So, way back when I shared with giddy excitement that I would be part of WinFly, the lone flight to touch down on the continent between March and September, I thought that was the case. It was what I had been led to believe.
Now I know better.
There are actually half a dozen or so WinFly flights in about a two-week period, bringing staff and some supplies to McMurdo and taking winter-overs back to NZ. I was on the second WinFly flight of the season. The one that arrived yesterday was arguably far more important, however, because it brought Freshies.
Freshies are fresh vegetables and fruits. So for dinner yesterday and tonight, we’ve had salad with raw cucumbers and mushrooms and peppers, raw broccoli at the dinner buffet and even whole pieces of fresh fruit (beside a sign that reads “DON’T BE A HOG – TAKE ONE.”
Even though I have been here less than a week, and even though I have not yet eaten my way through the stash of luscious New Zealand Rose apples I brought with me on the plane, the apple I had with dinner last night and the salad I had both nights was sooooo goooooood. I am not one to wax poetic about romaine leaves, for gods’ sake, but the textural sensation of fresh crunchy goodness was such a treat.
Once the WinFly flights stop in a couple days, we’ll be without Freshies until October. I think I can make it.
If Freshies have been a textural delight, nacreous clouds have been a visual one. We’ve seen them two days in a row and they are surreal. I took a couple pictures but didn’t capture their incredible otherworldly nature, so here’s a photo I found online by someone who did:
I hope to have more chances to score my own photo. They really do look like this. Unbelievable.
You may be asking “what is a nacreous cloud?” They’re also called “polar stratospheric clouds” and come together at ridiculously high altitudes (50,000-80,000 feet) in winter at the poles. Because they are so high up, they receive (and reflect) light from below the horizon, if that makes any sense.
A lot of people describe them as looking like “oil slicks” but I think they look more like what would happen if angels discovered the “airbrush” tool on PaintShopPro and screwed around with it for a while.
Back down on earth, I continue to settle in to life here. I walked the 50 feet to the gym this morning comfortably in just my gym clothes and bunny boots (I had the boots on because we’re not supposed to wear our sneakers outdoors, since it tracks volcanic dust into the gym and onto the equipment, which wreaks havoc with the machinery. Oh yes, we are on a volcanic field. Did I mention that? More in a future post.) We now have a third roommate in our four-bed room, which is getting cozy. It’s so hot at night I usually kick off my comforter. We’re on an interior hall so we have no window, which is a bummer.
I was telling a friend that I deal with it by telling myself these are the quarters I’d have if I were a Stormtrooper on the Death Star.
He laughed and said “Space colony. I tell myself we are space people and this is our space colony. And we are the aliens in this environment.”
Well put, sir.