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31 October, 2002

Antarctic Fashions

The big event of today was a trip to the Clothing Distribution Center, for my very own giant red parka and big blue boots. Approximately 35 of us arrived at our appointed time of 14:00 hours to undergo our fashion fitting experience at the CDC. The fashion experience began with a demonstration and definition of all the clothing to be issued. This was followed by a short video lesson that reminded us of the importance of well fitted clothing and the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite which awaited anyone who did not try on all of their gear. The video convinced me that I had to try on every sock and mitten, hat, boot and long underwear item that I was issued. No easy task, there are 6 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of boots, 3 jackets, 1 pair of bib overalls, 4 sets of long underwear and multitudes of hats and mittens!

Fortunately of the thirty five people undergoing this event,only five were women, which made it much easier to move around in the fitting rooms. Our group included several veterans of the ice who were very helpful in their pointers as to how all of this very bulky stuff was supposed to fit. All of my gear was gigantic, so the experience went from mildly frustrating to hilarious as I tried on and exchanged each piece several times. The best were the bib overalls, which could have fit three of us. I kept wondering, what were they thinking when they chose these clothes for me?

The process took several hours, but in the end I now have two neatly packed orange bags awaiting my departure to the ice. I can hardly wait to put it all on when I arrive back at the airport tomorrow for the flight to Antarctica. I feel so official in my big red parka with my name emblazoned on the chest pocket.

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