Sunday, 5 December 2010

SANAE and points beyond

Hello all!

Right, where was I? Ah, yes, just landing in SANAE. This is how it went down.

The plane had landed, and we were just getting up and stretching when the back door opened and we were welcomed.

Those who read my blog from the start may recall my first Rothera greeting: "Stay on the plane....and welcome to Rothera." At SANAE, it was a Rasputin-esque guy who threw our back door open and yelled "Looks like these guys need some beer!".

Sure enough, he had a cooler full of Castle beer, and gave us one each as we clambered down from the plane.

Now, so I don't slander the South African SANAE team, I should mention that it was the weekend - they were winterers off duty. But man, these guys knew how to party. And, for the record, our visit wasn't the big party. That was the night before we arrived, when the first wave of BAS people came through. This party was so epic that any mention of it, or pictures thereof, are strictly forbidden.

SANAE, to my view, is the concept of the "man-cave" taken to extreme levels. You ever heard that expression? Some men in the suburbs use it to describe their unfinished basement which has hockey equipment, some token piece of machinery, and a widescreen HD TV. Well, suburban men, your feeble attempts at man-caving have been shown up by SANAE. Here it is on the outside:

And let us enter. Here's the bar. Which, of course, was our first stop.

The general room beside the bar contains a swimming pool and a pool table. I am not permitted to post a picture of this room. Except for this:

I thought this was their wine storage - but no, that's a different room.

Want to kick back and watch some TV? Here's the TV room:

...not, of course, to be confused with the movie room:

There are several more man-rooms - I haven't even hit the industrial gym or the garage - but that should illustrate the point.

Dinner was a further man-cave affair. Being South African, it was a six course meal, each consisting of nothing but meat. No exaggeration. There were six dishes of meat to choose from, and some token potato or something to tip the hat to a balanced diet.

And for a backyard, SANAE has a cliff. Apparently there was a recent death there, where someone drove off it in low contrast and blowing snow. Hard to believe from this picture, but only if you haven't experienced zero-contrast.

Anyway, the bedrooms are kind of bland compared to everything else, but spacious. As I have begun a teetotal diet for this season, I stayed in this room most of the night avoiding temptation (I decided that teetotalling at SANAE meant only two beers and a glass of wine.)

The night passed uneventfully for me, therefore. We were hoping for a second night at SANAE, but the weather cleared just enough for us to get out. Our plane had snowed in, though, so we had to stand around and wait for them to dig it out.

And then that was that - we got on the plane, got to Halley, and here we are. I have a room on the main Laws platform, where the real teetotalling began, as mentioned. Going to bed at 8pm and getting up at 5am has remained effective.

Next post: Rumples, penguins, and modules. Hurrah!


Edmund said...

Only 6 meat courses - wussies !

westcoastcousin said...

Do vegetarians starve there?