A Week of R&R in New Zealand...

First we had to leave the Ice. Here's the pax on Ivan the Terrabus. Terrabus = city bus with 3 meter diameter tires.

Ice rigging is a tough job.

When we arrived to the Pegasus airfield the shuttle driver tells us there are no computers, no phones, no wondering allowed, and really no place to keep warm except the bathroom which consists of two makeshift toilets and is designated by a large penguin sign.

An hour later..

Two hours later...

I took a few courses on human geography while schoolin in Canada and did a bit of GIS modeling of human behaviours. It was fun stuff. For this case study/observation... I found that the longer we waited on the open ice the more dense and distinct the person groups became, very much like how penguins cluster. In fact, that's what we looked like, a bunch of fat red penguins trying to keep warm by clustering to fend off the wind and making noise just to keep active.

Eh de plane, de plane!

Another hour later. Once the pax left de big plane the cargo handlers unloaded and loaded several crates.

They also pushed in the HNZ Helo.

It's showtime boy and girls.

It was cool sittin next to the fashionable helo.

5 and a half hours later we landed and the first thing most of us picked up on was the smell of the air. What's this, what's this... humidity? No way!

A few New Zealand scientists took coolers off de plane. The Air Force dude in front of me said they were probably bananas from the South Pole. Huh? I bet the Pole hoards every scrap of fresh produce they obtain. I laughed and told him it was penguin meat. Probably ice or microbio samples.

Full moon rising.

I passed customs then checked-in to my trippy blacklight-lit room at Hotel So. With little to unpack I just grabbed my camera and cash, put on my sneakers and headed to my fav. Japanese restaurant Su Ra.

Watchin de chef do his magic.

Grilled unagi. The dish has changed a bit from a few months ago, but I really enjoyed the sweet sauce and carmelized onion bedding.

As for the California Rolls.... I've had and made better.

Once my tummy was full I skirted to the streets to see what was shakin on this holy night. First time I've seen the moon since October. First time I've seen night since October. But, the black night sky didn't hit me like it did last season. I think my mind, body, and soul has adapted to extreme migration patterns and sky conditions. Whether I'm North or South, home or aboard, cold or hot, night or day, I'm still rollin the same.

Party central started to get noisy around midnight.

While taking this pic I dude from Auckland came up to me asking what bars were cool. I said I had no clue. After my reply he knew I wasn't from Cheech and wanted to hit up the bar scene with me. "Girls here dig Americans." Then he looked down to see me dressed in my Puma running shoes, black boxing sweat pants, black hoody, and silver backpack... he goes, "man, get some shoes, some jeans, and let's party." I got shoes, I ain't feelin jeans, and I just wanna chill. He then starts askin me if the Bloods and Crypts, and KKK are real. He says some gangsters in New Zealand are starting to act like US gangs. I tell him it's no good, brother fightin brother, bloodshed in da streets, why not there be peace? When dem guns come everything falls apart. I bid him farewell and drifted along the river enjoying the nature of it all.

Eventually I had to stop trampin along the river banks and to make it back to my room... which meant I had to confront the aroma of a million purfumes and streetbeds of human waste. Note: stick to the alleys and you can dodge the drunken chaos. Be gangsta.


Building 155 Blue Facelift

Supposedly this is some blue techy science paint that can withstand the burdens of this treacherous land. When in the mountains of Alaska I put a blue tarp around my tent. The rest of the geology camp had tents of the colours green, white, red, orange, tan and yellow. Out of all the tents, with a greyish-black rocky (like we have here) background, my blue setup was almost invisible from a 1,000 feet up the mountains unlike the rest. Camoflouge. I bet if you were to look down via satellite at building 155 it would appear more invisible than the rest of the light coloured buildings. It stands out from up close, but from a far it's secret... blue = higher wavelength on the visible spectrum.

You can see the tanker cargo way off to the left in the distance. To the near right are cargo containers to be loaded, mostly trash. The NavJabs arrived today. The US, New Zealand, and Australian military all pitch in to help the unloading/loading process. I got to be in charge of the kitchen today, the board said 1,099 people on station + the 150 NavJabs. I was curious to know if 475 lbs. of steak + 120 lbs. of pork would be enough to feed these hungry folks, along with lots of mashed potatoes, green beans, beef-tortellini soup, african black-eyed beans and wild rice, and teriyaki chicken wings. We did okay and ended up with about 50 lbs. of steak left. Tomorrow is the real challenge after they have a long days work, and it ain't sunny and warm outside. It's cold, wind, and really dry. New Zealand sounds nice right about now... 24 hours left for me :)

The Oden icebreaker refueling.

The horses are ready to start haulin.

Yup, it's blue alright.


'Sukiyaki Wiffa' - by Syowa (Japanese Station)

For some odd reason there is a reoccuring theme of 'dog' in most of the international Antarctic videos produced during winter-spring of '09.

Chef Video from Russian Station in Antarctica


Parties and Gado Gado

We got new ovens in for the bakery. The timer sounds like a fire alarm when it goes off, but at least you can see what's baking. Mmmmm.

Eggplant lasagna.

Chicken florentine casserole.


Pasta with marinara.

Bread is good.

After work yesterday there was a party in the waste barn. It was bloody cold outside.



A beaker from Montana. For the last hour I chatted with this gal about microbial lifeforms in the dry valley lake beds. How cool is that?

In our lounge there was a sculpture.

Next morning I head to work all peachy and ready to rock out tofu gado gado.

And salmon with mango salsa.

I made extra salsa just we can nibble on it tomorrow.

Here's the tofu gado gado... rice noodles, a fine peanut-garlic-ginger sauce, onions, salted cashews, fried onion rings, cilantro, fried tofu, carrots, cucumber, celery and sliced jalapenos.
I just got back from a musical about the death of the Heat Trace Project. Some folks have been out in the field digging rocks in the crazy wintery weather all season long and installing heat wires in the pipes to make sure the water and waste don't freeze. Well, it's over, and they sung all about the ups and downs of the project.