I’m in Antarctica.
Now that that’s settled, how’d I get here? Last week I was cruising toward the Gulf in a Dodge Charger, going far faster than I needed to on my way to a hotel room with a view of the water. All for “orientation” which consisted of a lot of paperwork, some ultrasound practice and some crash course dentistry. Then I drove back to Houston, caught a flight to Dallas, then a 17 hour flight to Sydney (Qantas, economy class, not so shabby actually) and finally to Christchurch. Emirates streams live TV on their flights, so I watched the Super Bowl for a bit. Then realized I didn’t give a shit and put a movie back on.
Two days later, an LC-130 brought us to the ice and we only had to turn around once. Old salty Air Force mechanic guy looked at the “problem” that forced us to boomerang back to Christchurch and decided “meh” and we were airborne again. I love old salties.
“The oxygen is behind your head. The life preservers probably have holes in them, but if you need it, we’re all gonna die anyway.” Air Force instructions. Which were true. Because if we crashed into the ocean, well, she was probably right. Fortunately, we didn’t. All in all, the flight was fairly humane.
We exited the tin can with propellers to sunny, crisp weather. I’d guess around mid-20sF. My bags showed up. I met my roommates. One of my roommates is the station pharmacist and is leaving next week. The other provider is the 3rd roommate and is moving into a private room in a week. So then I’ll have a 4 person room to myself. Certainly doesn’t suck.
I don’t know what I expected, but this is a bit bizarre. There are a lot of people here who fit neither the adventurer nor the weirdo category. It feels like a mining town or an oil patch. A lot of folks here just to work and not have to pay for lunch. The majority of folks are skinning out in the next week or so, flights allowing, and then it will be mostly the winter crew. I’m curious to see what that will look like. There are two bars, one of which will be closing for the winter. Last night I wandered into one and there was a country band playing. My first beer, which is when Antarctica officially became my 6th continent, was a ……Pabst. Because fuck it. Beers are only 3$. Get your shit together Seattle. 3$!! Crown and 7? 4$. Not so bad. It very much feels like a weird summer camp for big kids. There has been a constant conversation along the lines of “is XXX coming back this year? Did you hear about YYY??” The rumor mill is going to be voracious, I reckon.
I saw some seals on the flight in. Haven’t seen any penguins yet. It’s cool, but not cold, and very dusty. We had a light snow which has decreased the dustiness. Everyone is ready to leave and a little burned out.
I’m getting a crash course in shooting x-rays, drawing labs, dentistry, pharmacy and basically anything else that needs doing in the clinic. I start giving briefings next week apparently. It’s just going to be me and one other provider for the next while. Should be interesting. And I’ve already managed to catch “the crud”.
The town is abuzz with activity as everyone is trying to finish projects and catch flights home. A great many folks have said that, after a summer deployment, they would only come back if allowed a winter. And I got one. Kind of excited to see how all this shakes out.
Holy shitsnacks I’m in Antarctica. 6!