Thursday passed in a cocoon. Got picked up by the bus at 8:20, shuttled to Mamba Point Hotel for briefings. And more briefings. Security briefings. Procedural briefings. Legal briefings. I swear, by the sixth or seventh hour, I couldn’t remember what we’d been told 15 minutes before. Break for tea, break for lunch, break for fresh air.
It’s the rainy season here. Not as hot as the dry season, but low clouds clog the sky, unmoving. Some time late last night, they finally let loose in loud, sharp cracks. Seconds later, the sound of rain on the roof was deafening, and the air became cool and sweet. This morning, the same clouds were back, skulking, looking like aerial ne’erdowells with nowhere better to go.
But after so many hours in that conference room, even the stifling heat of the terrace felt like fresh air. We mingled over tea and cookies and swapped “Wow” stories. There’s some serious wow in this group. Yes, of course I pulled the “South Pole” card – drew a lot more interest than I would have expected. I guess when you spend your career tromping around the tropics, -45F sounds really cold. Okay, it is really cold. But around here, living on an ice sheet two miles thick sounds as fantastical as living in a cloud castle at the top of a giant beanstalk. So I’ve got some credibility now. Useless credibility, but cred nonetheless.
I’m only going to have internet for another 24 hours. Morning after tomorrow we head out on our actual deployments. They finally let on where each of us are going, and there were the oohs and ahhs of envy as we all compared assignments. We can’t tell anyone outside the group where we’re going until we’re back – publicizing the locations of monitors is a bit counterproductive. But suffice it to say that I’m not going to have internet. My STO partner is a seasoned elections vet, and I’m starting to feel good about this. Those are famous last words, right? No, I’ll try to post again tomorrow. Also promise to try and take more pictures, not that there’s been much to photograph from here inside the cocoon.