Saturday, October 3, 2009


Well, the big invasion is finally here. After our invasion of 300-some folks at Winfly, we kept a stable population of around 480 through September. The first flight of mainbody was supposed to come on September 29th, but some bad weather caused a delay. The Air Force tried again the next day, but had mechanical problems. Between the weather and mechanical issues, the first flight was delayed for five days. That is a really big deal, because the train of people flying into Christchurch doesn't stop, causing a huge pileup of folks there. I was set to leave on the fifth flight out, but the delays caused the schedulers to put all the northbound folks who were supposed to leave on the first four flights on the first northbound plane (yesterday). 140-some new folks came down, too. After a long winter of unlimited privacy and fairly mellow energy, it is quite unnerving to have a bunch of loud-talking tanned people invade. I'm ready to get out of here. My plane takes off tomorrow (weather permitting), so today is the big packing day. I'm not planning on coming back next winter, so I'm not leaving anything here. I am trying to travel as light as possible, so I mailed a bunch of stuff to the states, and I'm giving a lot of stuff away. I made the difficult decision to put my mandolin in the mail. I'd like to be able to play while travelling, but it is such an incredible pain to schlep a lot of stuff through all those airports and hotels. I think I made the right decision.
It was a relief for a lot of people that that first mainbody flight finally arrived. It's really a drag for folks to go through the emotional goodbyes, and find that they aren't leaving yet. Plus, quite a few of the winterovers did what's called a "winfly-summer-winter", meaning they have been here for fourteen months straight. Those people are READY to get out of here! I'm glad to go, but not in that big a hurry. Here the food, gas, and housing are all free, and it's a rude shock to transition to a life with so many expenses and no income. I'm definitely not craving that, but a little salad would be nice.

(These pictures were taken on one of my last working days. I drove a PistenBully up to the top of Crater Hill to repair a sick data circuit. Where you see me walking downhill, I'm decending from a tiny hut called the Doghouse down to a comms shelter called building 65.)

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