Are you interested in working at South Pole?
Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
21Trip End Feb 17, 2009
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I clomped upstairs to check email, fueled by two-buck-chuck, California's finest affordable wine, and was met with a one-liner:
Are you interested in working at South Pole station as a Steward (dishwasher/janitor) until mid February?
I had applied for just about every entry level job in Antarctica the year before through Raytheon, which is the current contracting company running all science support operations in Antarctica
Eventually I had settled on an Alternate for the General Assistant position, a job only open to first-year ice workers. The "GA" is shuffled from department to department, helping with any work that needs to be done, from carpentry, to machine shop work, to data entry or even janitorial work. I had been assured that as one of 12 alternates out of over 3,000 applicants, I had a very good chance of landing a position. This had been an over-generous estimation however, and I had given up my dream of Antarctica months before.
Now I would be a Steward for NANA, which is really a fancy word for dishwasher. NANA is the subcontracting company which runs all the food and cleaning services in Antarctica. I had originally cut off my applications with them to sign on as a GA alternate, and though I had heard dish washing in Antarctica can be horrible, a person can do anything for a few months, right? Plus it was the South Pole, a place most people have to work multiple seasons in Antarctica to visit, let alone be stationed at. What could I say? Yes.
This is an account of my season in Antarctica, life at the South Pole, a bit of history, a bit of lore, and some strange and interesting people and culture. Welcome to the worst place on earth...