You might be surprised to discover that the South Pole has a Denver area code. Yesterday morning, just at the end of our window of satellite coverage, my phone rang, showing “External number” in the display.
“Hello, Helpdesk – this is Pablo”
“Is this TJ?”
“Um, I don’t think we’ve got a TJ here – what number did you dial?”
“I’m trying to reach TJ, at the Funeral Parlor. Isn’t he there?”
I wavered on whether to tell her that she’s accidentally called the South Pole, but she already sounded confused (and somewhat annoyed), and I figured she’d probably think I was pranking her and get angry. After a few iterations, I managed to coax her to tell me the number she was trying to dial, and explained that she’d transposed a couple of digits.
But yeah, the entire South Pole Station in functionally in the 720 area code – a local call from Denver when the satellites are up. What would Shackleton have thought?
Headed out to the geographic pole in front of the station for commemoration of Veterans Day. First time I’ve been out front. Posed for the obligatory “hero shot”; will wait until the storm’s really passed before going out and taking pics at the candy-cane-striped “Ceremonial Pole” about 100 feet away. Remember that the station is on a sheet of ice that drifts about 33 ft/year. The ceremonial pole stays put, surrounded by flags of the Antarctic Treat signatories, but each year at New Years they replant the actual geographic pole at its new location.