The tourists have arrived.


Yesterday afternoon, trying not to slice my fingers off trimming CD labels with the paper cutters (See? The D-8 drivers and Ice drillers aren’t the only ones with hazardous duty!) I heard what distinctly sounded like a tour guide coming down the Station hall. Someone was relating the history of the Pole in clearly-enunciated tones, then pausing for a translator to relate the tidbits about how many tons of jet fuel we use each year to keep the us running.

I smiled and waved, said “Hi” and “Welcome” as I passed them on my way back to the lab, but from their looks,  felt strangely more like one of the animals in those drive-through safari parks than a fellow human. A curiosity, perhaps. Ah well, they’ve just landed at the Pole for a brief stint at the bottom of the world on a tour of Antarctica. They’ve spent something like 4 hours in the back of an unpressurized turbine DC-3, popped out at 10k elevation and -39C – Bob-knows they’ve got to be disoriented as anything.

But they’re only here for something like three hours. Through the galley windows at lunch, I see them running (wobbling?) between the ceremonial and geo pole markers, holding up what must be “Hi mom” banners and taking pictures. Then their guides shepherd them back into the plane and they’re gone in a puff of blown snow.

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