Saturday, December 10, 2011

First Few Days

It's Saturday here, and I arrived on Tuesday. It's been fairly laid back the past few days (as it is supposed to be). Because of the altitude, you really want to give it 4-7 days before you start doing anything too taxing. I'm able to get up and down stairs now without feeling like I'm going to pass out, so that's good.

I've spent most of the week doing turnover work with the current BICEP2 grad student. It's mostly just an information dump and changing some settings on the computers. It's all mostly set up and I've seen just about everything that I'll need to do once it's just me. This morning, we did a refill of the liquid helium tanks. That's probably the hardest thing that I'll have to do, but I've done it dozens of times before. In my free time (which is ample since my crate hasn't arrived yet) I've been watching movies in the lounge or playing foosball and darts with the other Polies. The station is abuzz since the centennial anniversary of the discovery of the south pole is coming up this week and for it, the Prime Minister of Norway is coming down so some Norwegian reporters, etc. have started trickling in. Hopefully, when the Prime Minister comes down, he'll take a tour of the telescopes so I'll get to meet him. I think it would be cool to have a photo with the Prime Minister of Norway at the south pole hanging on my wall.

This weekend will be a lot of fun. Tonight is an open mic night so I'll play some acoustic stuff and then I got the band back together, so we'll rock out again. I've gotten a lot of comments from random Polies about the band last year, so I think they're excited to hear us play again. One of the cargo supervisors said she heard guitar playing coming from the band room and said to the other people "I bet I know who that is..." Tomorrow will be the first soccer match that I'll play in. I tried a little on Wednesday but could only last about 5 minutes before I thought my lungs were going to jump out of my throat and kick me in the nuts.

It's been fun, but the more bored I am down here, the more I'm aware of the distance and isolation. Luckily, the "holy crap, I'm at the south frickin pole!" feeling gets me past the down times and work and physical activity will be picking up in the next couple of weeks.

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