Antarctica

Week 29 Very Nice Week Indeed - Cinco de Mayo

30th April - 7th May 2000

This week got off to a great start - May 1st - International Workers Day. Being such a splendid day I read in bed until almost 10am. Finally getting up, doing a few checks to make sure AMANDA hadn't blown up, then went to the galley and made a nice breakfast, and sat in the lounge and continued to read my book. Just before lunch I went and checked me email to read all the nice emails I'd been sent - thank you very much - and finished off my leisurely morning with lunch.

The afternoon was almost as hectic as the morning. I found a comfortable chair in the library/pool room and continued to read my book. I was reading "Under a Tuscan Sun". It was very nice thinking about warm sun, and blinding bright sun light. Also reading about fresh salad was almost as good as eating it - well sort of.

After relaxing with the book, I decided I need to do something constructive. So I found a drink and opened my May 1st presents. Wrapping paper being in very short supply here I very carefully opened the presents. Thank you very much for my present, Mum, Dad, Fred, Marian, and especially Helen. I now have something to read for awhile.

Being a special day for me I got to choose what I wanted for dinner. I always look forward to fish, being the only protein intake in meat form, and requested Halibut. It was easy to decide on desert - chocolate cheese cake. And to wash it down I was chilling a bottle of the wonderfully named Tasmanian sparkling white, "Elsewhere".

At around 4pm I was feeling very guilty about the cook, Cheryl, making a meal specially for me. Part of my reasons for the meal I'd chosen was that most of the preparation could be done the day before, and the cooking on the day was not major. This was because I was in on the secret that it was Cheryl's birthday, and didn't want her to work too hard. So I went down to help with the cooking. Not that tending the grill on a day you're doing nothing else is a big chore. So I helped out until Cheryl was able to sit down also.

The Halibut had been marinated in a Vermouth mix, and was perfect. the Elsewhere went perfectly with the fish, the wine having a very nice straw flavour. The cake is one that The Cheese Cake Shop should add to it's range. Considering the consistency of the cream cheese here, it had turned out very well. And the flavour was great, a strong coffee mocha. The meal was finished off with a port that Till and Dave had sent down just before station close, and I'd been saving.

It was very hard to get back to work on Tuesday.

The moon has left the sky for it's two week break, and we had nice dark days. I was walking out to SPASE one evening; as I left the dome there was an aurora right over head. But it was rather nebulous looks - a big greenish blob in the sky. After awhile though it moved away from the azimuth, and started to take on a more distinct appearance. It had the classic wavy curtain shape, with pulses of light moving along it. It just kept getting better and better. I was falling over all the time from looking up into the sky and not watching for sastrugi. And even though there was no moon I could easily see the surface, as the aurora got so bright it lit up the icescape. It took me a long time to finish work at SPASE as I kept going out side and watching the display in the sky.

After the saga of the time zones last week, this week the story was that we would stay on New Zealand time, but move back a day to be in line with the US. Now this obviously had nothing to do with beakers. This was so we would be on the same day as the Raytheon Polar Services head office in Denver. This will mean that they will be able to contact their employees on our Monday, which is Sunday in the US. But wait a minute - don't Raytheon people work 6 days a week here, and in Denver they only work 5! So no matter what day it is here, Denver will not contact us 2 days a week, one always being a work day here. And where are we going anyway? If they want to call us we'll be here.

There is an exception to the 6 day week for Raytheon people. The first weekend of the month is a 2 day weekend. And this was perfect timing as we could have a party on Friday evening for Cinco de Mayo, with the band making their first appearance for the winter. But then the bomb shell hit, the long weekend was off until NSF decided if we were changing days. Well the party can be moved to Saturday, but bloody hell, imagine if a long weekend was canceled at the last moment in the real world because someone couldn't make up their mind - about something stupid to start with!!

When I arrived in the galley on Saturday evening the party had not started, yet it was after the scheduled start. But it soon picked up momentum. The station manager had heard that afternoon that it was very unlikely that we would change days, and that Monday was to be a holiday. This was great news which put the party into a very good mood. The Mexican food was great, especially the salsa with fresh cilantro from the green house.

The band did much better than they had been making out they would. There had been a change in line up, with the lead guitar, Rodney, going to drums, and young Jason taking up this position. But the band mixed it up a lot with numerous people singing, and changing instruments. Cheryl did a very good ABBA classic in Spanish, Rodney did a great job as always on vocals, with Don giving drums a go for awhile. Dave and Jenny, her first gig, did great vocals. And Sonja was solid as ever on bass. Young Jason on guitar has resulted in a shift in their play list towards younger music. Dave's adaption of a Rage Against the Machine song, that put it quite plainly what we thought about time zone changes, was extremely popular.

To be continued .......

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