I am all checked in and weighed. My check-in bag weighed 69 pounds. I am allowed 75 pounds. It is a good thing I sent 15 pounds back in the mail. I didn't ask what my body weighed with my carry on bag and ECW. I am going on a diet again. My survial diet down here has definately added five pounds. My flight weight wearing my helmet and extreme cold weather (ECW) gear has been 194. I figure 30 pounds for clothes. On these intercontinental flights they want your weight with your ECW and your carry-on. We first put our check-in bags on the scale and then you and your other stuff step on the scale. It occured to me that there might be a modesty issue involved for some folks, but for folks like me doing my job those aspects were lost months ago if you had any.

We had our IT department party tonight. I am shown bartending in the the "Coffee House". I was getting a lot of information about what life was like in the former Soviet-union in the '80s and '90s. In our department we have folks from Africa, Latvia, Croatia, Mexico, Ohio and other very strange and foreign lands. Being here on the ice has been a good concentrated experience for world travel (since I have not been doing much for the last few years). I will be trimming my beard and getting a haircut soon. **I won't get into the haircut scandal here on station.** Us folks in Comms (sometimes appropriately called "Kommz") are a wing of IT that gets their hands dirty. We take risks and connect what is known in telecommunications as the "last mile".

I am apprehensive about going back to the real world. I have been repeatedly told about the sensory rush I will get in New Zealand with all the biological stuff. I have fully acclimated to things here in 4 months. It all seems very normal. There certainly isn't much life here outside of the sea. In fact there is almost nothing living down this part of the globe besides scientists. I have been in the field. It is harsh out there. In town it is pretty tame.

The "Palmer" came upto the ice-pier as planned this morning. http://www.nsf.gov/od/opp/support/nathpalm.jsp We had to go aboard today to get a wireless telephone hooked up.

My transport/flight isn't until 12:15 noon. So I will probably post in a few hours before I leave the ice.

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