Skua finds and Pet Rocks (South Pole)

Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
Trip End Feb 17, 2009

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Where I stayed
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Flag of Antarctica  ,
Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two weeks after moving in, I've finally decorated my tiny room.  Though the lone dim bulb and blanket wallpaper make for a bit of a grim atmosphere, I drew some pictures in the art room, moved some books in, and went rooting through Skua and found some garlands and fake flowers.  

Skua is Antarctica's stuff exchange, where workers leave things they're through with, and take things they want.  Over time, some pretty weird stuff ends up in skua.  It's always the best costumes and household objects which get abandoned and cycle from owner to owner as people come and go.

Already, I have dumped some clothing in skua, and retrieved some nice sunglasses, a hat, and the sweetest woolen booties I've ever laid eyes upon.  Of course, the beginning of the season is a better time to go shopping, and early visitors ended up with gowns, wigs, and even a noise-sensitive shirt which lites up pitch bars to the sound of voices.  Shelby inherited that one from a winter-over, and Dave spent last Saturday night yelling humorous words like "SEX!" at her chest and giggling uncontrollably when it lit up on cue.  

Skua is named for those obnoxious sea birds and their tendency to lift possessions from others, which may be the best term I have ever heard for a free store system.  

Maybe it's the lack of color in our surrounding landscape, or maybe life's just better when you're dressed up, but Polies love excuses for fun clothing.  I for one feel a lot more at home with fabric flowers and holiday garlands bordering my room.  Interior decoration makes us feel more at home.

Austin has a pet waiting for him at the end of the day.  It's a rock which he found during the December rations drop.  This was not a normal event, but a proof of concept by the International Guard where food is dropped on parachutes.  Things didn't go perfectly, and apparently flour spilled everywhere, looking like snow (which is surprisingly absent at South Pole.)  Anyhow, a lone rock fell from the sky that day, and Austin found it out on the ice flats, picked it up, and took it home where it lived in a box.  At the end of the season, the pet rock will go back to Skua, like all other South Pole oddities.  

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