29 November, 1996

We left McMurdo this morning for the South Pole. Our flight was delayed, then cancelled, then back on again. There was lots of helicopter activity last night, the dorm is near the helicopter pad, so it took us awhile to tune that out and get some sleep. The flight here was only three hours, and much less crowded, so we were able to move around in the plane. I took some pictures from the plane windows on the way in of the Trans-Antarctic Mountains.

When we got here at the Pole it was lunchtime. So carried our bags from the landing strip into the Dome to find the galley. The food

was pretty good, but the cafeteria is crowded. They are only set up for about 70 or so folks. But with our group, the number of

people here at the Pole is around 175. So everything is a little crowded.

My "room" is in what is called a Jamesway. Which is an insulated, heated metal building. There aren't really rooms. But there are plywood partitions separating the cots and then a heavy curtain separating the cots from the aisles. There are about 12 people

in each one. The bathrooms are in a separate building, which

means you have to put all your cold weather gear on for the hike outside. The Jamesways are in what is called Summer Camp, which is

a good walk from the dome. The computer lab, galley, garage, and medical facility are all under or near the dome. Our lab space

is in another building across the runway in the opposite direction from the dome. I had my first experience with altitude sickness: a crushing headache and dizziness. I got some medication from the

doctor here and am drinking lots of fluids. They say it will take about four days to subside. The altitude here is 9,514 ft

(2,900 meters). Although I am told the effects on the body

are enhanced due to the extreme cold, and make it seem as if it is around 12,000 ft. Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving celebration here.

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