Settling In

John Jacobsen
Thursday, January 6, 2011

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Earlier post Revolution Number Nine southpole

Later post Fruition southpole

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Been here about nineteen hours and am settling in, though I have yet to do any real work. The current barometer reads 10,369 feet and, while I really felt the altitude last night, today I feel almost normal. My dorm room is noisy as usual, and not light-tight (recall that it is always daylight outside), but somehow I managed to sleep 6 hours or so, without earplugs.

The first couple of days you are supposed to take it real easy and I know from experience that I need to do that. Headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath are common (I always seem to get the headaches, though “vitamin I,” aka Advil, has been my friend so far); less common are more serious forms of pulmonary or cerebral edema which we won’t get into here but which we’re all taught to be on the lookout for symptoms of so they can put us on oxygen if need be.

But, happily, so far so good. The first hour or so is exhilarating — to get off the plane and see the wild stark alienness of this place (but so familiar, too!) is such a joy and a thrill — to be met by colleagues is also very nice (thanks Jim H. and everyone else who came out to meet us) — then to be handed my packet inside the station and sent off to settle into my room (I am in the station again, which does make life easier — some people have to stay out in “Summer Camp,” a few hundred meters away, where the toilets are in separate buildings. Done that, don’t need to do it again).

Many familiar faces here — people I have seen for years but whose names I don’t know, plus of course my colleagues from IceCube. Winter-over Freija exclaimed with relief, “we’re so glad you’re here!” which was gratifying. It’s great to see people in Madison when I get up there a few days a month, but here it’s a real treat to see familiar friends and faces.

After a few hours, the altitude really starts to hit. After dinner in the galley, I holed up in my tiny room with a copy of “Iron Man II” and went to bed.

Given the recent days of travel, I have a long backlog of things to do, and some preparations to make for the work at hand which I will try to detail in a future post. Now I need to do my morning routine and get ready for the morning meetings.

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And, another video from the C17 flight to McMurdo:

Earlier post Revolution Number Nine southpole

Later post Fruition southpole

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