Into the heart of ice and snow
I slept restlessly last night. Perhaps it was the fact that the hotel finally turned on the heat and I was too hot, maybe it was the dogs barking much of the night, it could have been the ambulance and fire truck that raced by my window with sirens blaring, but mostly I think it was energy and excitement. This is the day we fly to Antarctica. I am excited and a little anxious. There are a lot of challenges and potential hardships ahead of me for the next 30 days.
I always question myself. Am I ready? Have I done all I need to do? Will I perform well? How will my family be while I am gone? I think this questioning is natural, and that most people do it. I think it helps me to stay safe and to be well prepared. However, in the mountains there is no place for hesitation. One must be strong and confident and put 100% into everything that is done. Hesitation erodes commitment and lack of commitment reduces focus and the energy put into a task. In the mountains, hesitation can make bad things happen.
Our call from ALE came at 9:45 and we were told that all looked good, but that there was no flight schedule yet. Yesterday’s flight went well, but did not get back until 12:00 midnight. By law the pilots are required to have 12 hours of rest before they fly again. This means that realistically we will likely fly around 2:00pm. This is the same schedule as the Norwegians yesterday. ALE has said that they will call us again at 12:15 and give us an update. The weather looks good so we have our fingers crossed.
I took a last (I hope) walk around town before meeting Ryan and Ron at Lomito’s for lunch. There are some interesting things about this city. It is apparently quite a wealthy city with most of the money coming from oil and gas, but some from shipping. While there are a lot of cars there are even more taxis. It is like being in New York City. Any time you look down the road there are at least a dozen taxis coming at you and more are parked by the side of the road. I guess that many people do not have cars and use the cabs as their primary mode of transportation.
There are some parking lots, but most parking is on the side of the road. There are no parking meters however. There are parking agents on every street. They have a small ticket machine around their neck and walk up to parking cars and sell the driver a ticket. It seems to work well, but I don’t really know the pros and cons of it.
The last oddity I will write about is the street crossings. First off there must be no by-law against j-walking because people cross at will at any point in the road. Secondly, when crossing at a stop light it is often a little unnerving because the standard driving style here is to go full out and then slam on the brakes a few feet from the light. As a pedestrian, it is unsettling to see a car roaring towards you and to wonder if the driver plans to stop or now. Later than you would like they slam on their brakes and come to a stop with little space to spare.
We just got the word that we will be picked up at 2:00pm. This means we will fly around 4:00pm. The next blog you get from me will be from the bottom of the earth.
I am off now to do my final packing and to get dressed in my polar clothing.
To follow the weather during the expedition follow this link: http://www.yr.no/place/Antarctica/Other/Union_Glacier/
Antarctica here I come.
Summit Life! Scott out.