Monday, December 19, 2011

I love scotch, scotchy scotch scotch

To quote Ron Burgundy...

On Friday, we got a new supply of "liquids," meaning booze at the station. Whenever we get a resupply of stuff for the store (or sometimes for the kitchen), they usually make an announcement asking for volunteers to help unload the cargo. Well at lunch, I was talking to one of the people who helped unload the new "liquid" and she said she saw a few bottles of Laphroig being unloaded. The alcohol policy is as follows: each person can buy either 2 six packs of beer, 2 bottles of wine, or one bottle of liquor each day (a lot per day, I know). With this, prices are pretty much fixed. Cheap beer is usually $5 for a six pack. This would be things like Coors Light. "Good" beer is usually no more than $6 or $6.50 per six pack. This would be beer like Dos Equis. I'm actually impressed that they even have Dos Equis this year. We usually have the choice of watered down crappy New Zealand beer like Speights or watered down crappy American beer like Coors or Corona. You'd probably have to pay me to drink those. Anyway, the liquor is $30 no matter what, which means if you buy Jack Daniels, it's a rip off but if you get Laphroig, it's a steal. Because of this, really good bottles of liquor don't last long in the store. So having been tipped off to the nice scotch at the store, I lined up 10 minutes early to make sure to get a bottle. There were about five bottles of Laphroig and I'm pretty sure that the first five people in the store bought all five bottles. A lot of people who arrived just after the store opened were very disappointed to see the scotch gone.

I was very happy to get this bottle. It's a very very good scotch and for some reason scotch seems to taste better down here. There's nothing quite as relaxing as watching a movie and drinking a glass of scotch after a long day down here. The scotch came in handy as Saturday was James Brown Bingo. Last year was the first time I went to James Brown Bingo and it is quite the experience. The head chef, James Brown, always dresses up in some elaborate costume and then it's just Bingo as normal, except James Brown is a character and as the MC, makes it very interesting. I described it some last year, so I won't go into too much detail but this year his costume was that of a Viking with Norwegian flags painted on his face (in honor of our guests the previous week). James Brown Bingo is as fun as you want it to be. On the surface, you're playing Bingo (which is ok) and James Brown takes forever to call out the numbers. He always waits for the audience to call out numbers and then says yes or no but doesn't really say the number himself for a while. So it's really a test of patience. You can either succumb to the mind numbing boredom, or you can have a couple more drinks and start yelling our numbers or jokes or just random crap. This is really what makes James Brown Bingo so much fun--it's all the tables yelling out hilarious comments because we're all so frustrated with how long it is taking. The prizes are pretty good, too. They start small, like a mag-light flashlight or a gift certificate to a restaurant in Christchurch and then get bigger, like a gift certificate for some hot springs in NZ and eventually a $100 gift certificate to Kathmandu (a NZ REI type store). I actually came close to winning the Kathmandu gift certificate. The final Bingo game is blackout, where you have to have all your numbers on your board called. I had only one number left when the person won. It was a fun game this time around, and I got to share and enjoy the scotch I had purchased so it was a good time.

Eventually, a bunch of us telescope people, as well as some of the younger station worker all got together and had some beers and just talked about standard South Pole things--science, world travel, music, etc. It was a good night. The following day, I had two plans: 1) go to brunch and 2) play soccer. It was a successful day. Soccer was a lot of fun, as usual. It was fairly tiring as I'm still not quite acclimated to the altitude here. Hopefully by next week I will be back to ~100% or at least what my 100% is at this altitude.

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