Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving at the Pole

The table setting. The picture I wanted to share wouldn't upload. Stupid internet...

The appetizer tables.

Here's the meal I had.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here. It totally makes sense. Thanksgiving is on thursday, which is friday here, so we do it on saturday which if friday at home. Totally logical. Really, it's just so people can have a 2 day weekend. And by people, I mean people that aren't in my group. We only worked a half day yesterday. It was pretty annoying, though. Naturally, just about every thing that needs to be done here is incredibly tedious, so I was back to making cables. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Even the socket which holds the pins of the connector fell apart. It took me a while to line up all the pins to put it back together. The sockets were difficult to solder into due to their positioning, and the wires were too big to fit in them. It was just an enormous pain. And we didn't have the right tools to make it easier, so I was doing most of the soldering while holding the cables with my knees. Just a real pain. Because it was a special holiday, there wasn't breakfast, so by the time lunch rolled around I was starving. The served brunch which was ok, but it made my stomach hurt. Oh, and while I was on the phone with Sara, the satellite cut out before I could say good-bye. Just an all around shit morning.

After lunch though, things really started to pick up. Thanksgiving was broken up into 3 shifts with each shift having a half hour appetizer session followed by dinner. I was planning on playing music for each of the appetizer parts with Mark and Danny. So after lunch, I went into the music room to practice. Oh, that day, I completely broke off my thumbnail, which is my most important nail for playing guitar, and I cracked my index nail, so I was bummed about the prospect of me sounding awful. Once I started playing, things sounded fine.

The appetizers were set out on tables in the hallway, and we set up behind the tables. The appetizers looked really good. There was a table with tapanades, a table with lox, one with baked brie, one with an assortment of veggies and cheeses. It was very impressive. We started playing once people showed up. Mark had some songs he played and sang and I played along on guitar, while Danny played bass. After a little while, Mark picked up his mandolin and I took over for guitar. We sang some songs and did some jamming. The people seemed to enjoy it. After the appetizers, we went in for dinner. The galley was completely transformed. All the windows were covered, and the lighting was provided by candles on the tables and hanging string lights from the ceiling. All the tables had fancy tablecloth and there were fake leaves spread out all over the tables. It looked really nice. Most people dressed nicely. I wore my nicest shirt, which was an Arrogant Bastard beer shirt. All the girls wore dresses. A friend of mine explained to me later, that for the girls, it was a big deal to dress up. For the entire season, they wear big baggy overalls and jackets and can't shower when they want to, so it means a lot to them to be able to be girls for a night.

There were a few speeches before dinner by the NSF (National Science Foundation) rep, the lead chef, and the person in charge of the station. Dinner was still served as a buffet like normal and we all went up by table to keep the line down. They had deep fried turkey, smoked turkey, and baked turkey, along with stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and everything else you'd come to expect from a thanksgiving meal. The food was just delicious. You would never think that they were cooking for 250 people. It really tasted home made. During dinner, there were volunteers who ran wine to everyone. If you would get up at some point in the meal, when you sat down your wine glass would be full. They did a good job! The wine was good, too! They really went all-out to make people happy. After dinner, people came around with pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and chocolate chiffon pie. I had the pumpkin and the pecan, and they were both delicious. They were served with fresh whipped cream, which tasted like they made it themselves.

After dinner, I went back out and played for the next crowd enjoying appetizers. This crowd was waaaay more fun than the first. They were really into the music. To them it was a free concert, not background music. We played Iko Iko, which everyone went wild for, then some grateful dead and some violent femmes. People were singing along and hooting and hollaring. It was a lot of fun to play for them. Once they went inside to get dinner, we worked on a few more songs until it was time for the next shift. The final shift wasn't as fun as the second, but still better than the first. We had a lot of fun playing. After they went to dinner, we stayed in the hallway playing whatever came to mind for a couple of hours.

After all the dinners were done, everyone went back into the galley to party. There was lot of wine and some sangria that somebody made. Everyone broke out their secret liquor stash. People had smuggled in all sorts of fine scotches. I had a couple of beers and some whiskey. It was good. People split their time between the galley and the game room, where we were playing drunken foosball and pool and listening to music. Eventually people dragged the ping pong table out into the hallway, so there was a long line of ping pong players as well. It was fun to see everyone having a really good time.

I decided to sleep in a little this morning, and I'm doing laundry right now. I'll probably go into work after lunch.

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