Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Building 155: Main community center....

Mess Hall

Outside views of 155 and its new 'welcome to Walmart' paint job

Serving area: fairly new with lots of stainless steel
Usually two or three entree options/meal with soup, handbaked breads, sometimes salad, lots of cold salad, fruit, and dessert options.
Best fare I've had, but that's really not saying much- most people arent very impressed!
They do put on a very tasty, varied and visually appealing spread for Sunday brunch and holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Midwinter

155, HWY 2

Handwashing stations outside mess hall
Cold/flu viruses circulate readily through McMurdo, at least until everyone leaves on the last flight out (March 5). I've lived in the tropics, the desert, the arctic, and cold temperate climates, but I've never been sick as often as I have here. During approximately half of my six-month summer season I suffered from sore throat and very swollen tonsils, congestion, muscle aches, and weariness. For I while I had trouble swallowing food and went and got tested for mono, strep throat, and swine flu, but it turns out it was just a common cold/flu virus. I'm almost never sick at home, but apparently this experience is very common here. Most people feel like they've aged 10 years while theyre here. Medical specialists contribute this to a combination of deep dehydration (Antarctica is the driest place on earth but the thirst drive is reduced here) and cold (my body temperature has dropped 2 degrees, a common phenomenon), as well as other poorly-understood factors. Healing is also difficult here. If someone were to break their arm in April, it could be reduced and splinted, but by August there would probably be zero new bone growth. Environmental effects on health are poorly understood. During summer at least, the diet is varied and healthy; I eat much better here than at home. Soaking up summer sun is not hard.
Since R&R in New Zealand in January I've been feeling normal. I've taken a lot more care about hydration and started a creatine regimen, which has miraculously resolved all muscle aches (these were pretty severe after the slightest exercise). Once 24 hr darkness falls in April, McMurdo residents will be faced with new challenges- extreme cold, vit D deficiency, and darkness-related T3 syndrome.


Building 155 computer kiosk- always empty now that winter has arrived!

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