Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas at McMurdo

Just because we are spending Christmas on the harshest continent doesn't mean that we can't celebrate in style. After four days of Christmas festivities, we finally have returned to work. I'm definitely not ready to be at work yet.

Two story gingerbread houses make for good treats!!

My Christmas celebration unexpectedly started on Saturday night when the Housing department asked me to help them decorate for their party. Their theme was Christmas morning. They did a great job of getting everyone there in their pajamas and serving up a great Christmas morning breakfast. You can't buy presents for everyone, so they did a white elephant gift exchange where every ones gets a turn to pick a present from under the tree or steal an already opened one from someone else. Presents ranged from chocolate bars to hockey sticks to dancing penguins. Fun stuff. After the Christmas morning festivities, things changed into a more normal night at hut 10 - dancing and drinking. It was a school night though so it didn't run too late.

Christmas morning at Hut 10!

Sunday, every department was supposed to work their full day. Few did, including mine. We got off early enough that I wanted to do my distance run for the weekend on that afternoon instead of on a day off. I thought it would be a good idea so that I wouldn't be as tired on my days off. 25 miles in 4 hours and 10 minutes. Surprisingly enough, I spent the rest of the weekend with a slight limp and a lot of tired. Who would have guessed it? I even manged to spend enough time in the sun that someone called me out on having a farmer's tan!!!

Santa at the holiday party!

Christmas goodies that were sent out as door prizes at the VMF party.

Holiday decorations and Santa's sleigh.

After a failed attempt at napping, I was off to the holiday party. They emptied out the vehicle maintenance facility and did a great job decorating. It was like any other Christmas party - drinking, dancing, egg nog, etc. There were a couple cool differences. Santa rides a snow machine instead of a sleigh in Antarctica. We also had different pictures projecting on the wall of things we might be missing. Favorite themes were friends, family, dogs, greenery, and beaches.

The Abominable Snowman!

Pictures to give you a warm fuzzy on a potentially lonely holiday

A candy cane pole to help find a friend who can give you a warm fuzzy on a potentially lonely holiday

As I understand it, Santa may not have been able to work the entire night . . .

Inspired by Calvin & Hobbes?

Fireside on Christmas morning

After some of the more basic holiday events happened at the party, it was back down to the usual shenanigans. Drinking, dancing, and revelry. The holiday party is famous for being the second party of the year where people find someone to hook up with because by this time a lot of the Halloween inspired relationships have fallen apart.

Dave and me at the holiday party

Martin from the help desk gets down!

Usual shenanigans.

After being up way too late at the party, I got myself into bed. Christmas eve day came way too soon. I went for a run to get the ache out of my legs. It helped a little bit, but exhaustion was definitely the theme of the day. After a long day of lounging, I worked in the kitchen to let a dining assistant (DA) be off work for an hour. Even though most of the base is off, they aren't. They may have the toughest job on base. When I was done washing dishes to the Temptations with Meg, it was off to get prettied up for dinner. Some people ate in the galley. Others do more private affairs in converted work areas.

Christmas dinner in the galley.

The kitchen crew who makes it all possible

There were four separate dinners that the kitchen staff had to prepare. When the final day dinner was wrapping up, the evening festivities were winding up. There was a dance party in one bar and live band karaoke in one of the departments meetings room. I'm continually amazed at how they can transform a work space into a play area. At live band karaoke, they don't have the usual music or videos. The singers have to know the words or download them off the Internet and sometimes the band has to download tablature too. It worked really well.

Sky singing at live band karaoke.

Christmas day still to come . . .


  1. So what did you win in the White Elephant gift exchange?


  2. I got two chocolate bars!! :-)

    Happy New Year, Tim!!