Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ann Curry, Discovery Hut and the exciting answer to "How can I send Keri mail?"

First off, lots of people have been asking me, how exactly is it that I can send you mail?

To those people, I say, you are my favorite people in the world! God bless you and your mothers! The answer to your very valid question is, sending Keri mail is easy!

I am lucky enough to have an APO address, which means the cost is the same as shipping to an address in California. You can just scribble my little address (listed below) on your package or envelope, and send it by good ol' United States Postal Service. If you are sending items (and I highly encourage this practice) there's a little customs form to fill out, too, but it's pretty self-explanatory, and this can also be obtained at the post office. A special thank you to Amber, who apparently tried to me some food. I guess didn't like her order. But I appreciate the thought! And again, if you send me mail, I will send you Antarctica things! Yay! (How's that for shameless solicitation?)

So here's my address:

Keri Nelson, RPSC/NANA
McMurdo Station
PSC 469, Box 700
APO AP 96599-1035

When will I get that mail? Well, that's another story. Let's do a little McMurdo Station by the numbers. As of last week there were 22,000 lbs (!) of package mail just sitting in Christchurch, waiting to get into McMurdo-ites hot little hands. There are about 1000 people here right now. So that means at least 22 lbs of that mail is mine! Ha! So let's just say, the mail service here is weather-dependent.

A few more numbers -- as of a few weeks ago, there were 240,000 cans of the world's worst beer for sale here (CD. New Zealand beer. Bad. Cheap. Bad.) They are trying to sell it to us for pennies on the dollar. I don't love beer, so I am not holding up my end of the bargain, but there are plenty of people here willing to take up my slack, and drunkenness ensues nightly.

The station's pretty crowded now, so here's another number .... we can pack 28 people into one room at McMurdo. It's the bunk room, for people housed here temporarily (and that can mean up to three weeks, at this place.) Also known as Man Camp (as it is the boys who get stuck there), it also smells exactly like you would imagine a place called Man Camp would smell.

Anyway, on to other topics. For example, guess who I ran into the other day?

For those who are emailing me asking me if that was me they saw on the Today show, yes, it was! I was hamming it up for Ann Curry's live shot (live from McMurdo at 3 a.m. here). I was being that loser that always drove me nuts when I was doing live shots, and lucky for me, I know exactly where to position myself so the camera would have to zoom in on poor Ann's pimples in order to box me out.

Actually, I wasn't the only one up at that time in the morning. This was possibly the Today Show's drunkest ever morning crowd. We all stayed up and made cute little signs. One of my favorite bands played, and you could feel the Antarctica love in the air. Even better than you could feel your toes. In fact, people made so many signs with Sharpie markers, that I almost asphyxiated while walking through the dorm hallways. My favorite is the "Poler" Bear sign. Funny on so many levels...

But beyond the general drunkenness, there is actual history here. A few weeks ago, I got a chance to check out my second historic Antarctica hut -- Discovery Hut, built by Scott, used by Shackleton, and just a short walk from my dorm.

If you've read about my walks out to Hut Point, Discovery Hut is the hut we are referring to.

The cross, on a hill above the hut, is there for another brave Antarctica explorer who made a bad decision somewhere that ended in death. It happens a lot down here.

This hut is smaller than Terra Nova, and wasn't ever really lived in. It seems to have been used mostly for storage. You can see here there is a dead seal carcass outside, still frozen from way back when, and some boxes of yummy dog biscuits.

I also had to get the obligatory photo of myself ... look mom! I'm an Antarctic explorer too!

Other pictures of the week? Not lots, as I spent a good chunk of the week sick in bed. But I did particularly enjoy this photo of friends heading off to ski. Note the fancy duct tape ski bindings neighbor Dave is about to use. (I hear those skis didn't actually make it all the way back to McMurdo Station.)

Also, please enjoy this cool Antarctica sky -- looking out from town over the sea ice runway. Cheers!

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