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5 December, 2000

My first full day at the Pole. I am still pretty wiped out from the elevation! I have been kinda dizzy off and on today, likely from the lack of oxygen at the Physio Altitude of 10,100 feet. I am taking pills to help process CO2 and O2 that were given to all South Pole bound folks by the medical staff in McMurdo who made it plain to us that they don't want to evac any of us. I have a couple of more days to take them and then I am sure that I will be fairly well adjusted... to the altitude anyway!

On this first day I did a little sightseeing and basically tried to keep hydrated since it is do dry here. Being hydrated means that since we don't have restroom facilities at the SPARCLE Trailer Park we can either walk to the dome or to ARO to become less hydrated. Either way it is a brisk walk in the sunshine on the Polar Plateau, which is somewhere I wanted to be since I was a little kid. It is really amazing to have a dream from childhood come true. I feel very lucky.

What I did do today was to help Penny build an aperture for her SPT. Basically what we did is take an old cardboard box (a Gateway box) all taken apart so that it made a large (5' x 2') rectangle and tied it...actually it more sewn on to an aluminum frame. Later in the day I helped move some of the equipment in the SPT building and was pooped out by 8 PM.

The Dome is the center of South Pole life. This is where the communications center, computer center, store, post office, and our galley are located. Attached to the Dome under arches are fuel bladders, power plant, and workshops. This really is a small city!

ARO (Atmospheric Research Observatory) is one of the close places to the SPARCLE Trailer Park. This is where we go to reduce our hydration level. This building is on the edge of the clean air sector where the cleanest air and snow on earth exist!

The fuel bladders are actually large tanks that hold the jet fuel that powers our electrical generation facility. This really is our life blood here at the Pole. We use electricity to make water and to heat...just about everything we need comes from those bladders.

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