Hmmm…what to say about Christmas at McMurdo?? Well, we don’t have the obnoxious over commercialization of the holiday. The only real connection to the rest of the world is the internet and the ads there are not that much different than those throughout the rest of the year. The only TV we watch here is the Armed Forces Network and there are limited commercials, which tend to be military related PSA’s or general info. We get bits of CNN and BBC and nightly news magazines but only the broadcasts, not the commercial breaks. So that’s actually been nice. There’s the McMurdo radio station (which I play through one of the TV channels). Again no commercials. I played Christmas music through the internet when I wanted to hear it. We don’t have a lot of decorations throughout town but there are a few things up. We did decorate the clinic a bit and I added my own flare to the stockings on my door. What we are not lacking in are the parties, of course. There was the town party at the VMF (Vehicle Maintenance Facility) Friday night, Christmas dinner in the galley Saturday night followed by the MAAG opening (McMurdo Alternative Art Gallery) which was held at the Carp Shop (Carpenters) and a music performance at the Waste Barn earlier in the week. Other things we have: a Christmas choir that had a few performances, a live production of Charlie Brown Christmas, church services including midnight mass, and gift exchanges of various sorts. I went to the town party. Santa arrived in a Piston Bully (see pictures because I can’t really describe this vehicle) and was available for photos most of the evenings. I reluctantly sat on his lap. Yes there are costumes by a select few. Elves, Santa and a live nativity a la McMurdo. Too funny for words that last one. See my pictures for details. It’s pretty interesting what can be made from limited items here. Some of the elves clearly brought items from home though. I would definitely pack differently if I come back. What was I thinking packing work clothes, hats and gloves?
MAAG was very cool. There were outdoor creations, like sea-saws, the human gerbal wheel and other things you can get on or play with. We thought for sure our doc would be paged as he was on call that night. If anyone was injured, they dealt with it themselves. Amazing. Inside, there were various forms of art…whatever anyone wanted to submit. There are some really talented people here. My favorites were the wooden jacket, the bacon Santa 🙂 the comic book pages, and the large Lite Brite using green, brown and clear beer bottles for the pegs. (Do all you 70’s kids remember Lite Brites?) It was pretty cool. Sadly though, the Poop Chair did not show up there. I was convinced it would be melted or welded into something forever immortalizing it. It was represented in a painting on display, but that was it. Later in the evening there was a fashion show which, naturally was emcee’d by a clown and a pink, plastic-wrapped flamingo. The fashions were mostly comical creations out of local materials (E.g. “Lady Ga Ga Galley wore plastic bowls on her chest and buttocks over bike shorts and was completely wrapped in clear plastic wrap). Some showed some real sewing skills using interesting materials. All good fun.
So do you remember a number of posts back we toured the LDB site where they launch the big research balloons (not the daily little weather balloons)? Well, they launched one on Christmas day. The weather has to be just right to do it and it just worked out to be on Christmas. It was a bit of excitement for the station. And, it’s something new to look at.
So all in all, Christmas was present but not overstated, and the parties continued on as always. See my pictures for the full effect. Also I’ve added pictures to previous albums so after you look through the link I give you, click on “Home” on the Shutterfly page and it will show you any latest things I’ve done. I’ve posted the videos of my scaling down then redressing for the Pole shot in the black dress. They’re pretty funny. The videos will be on the right side of the page. http://myseasoninantarctica.shutterfly.com/pictures