Monday, October 24, 2011

Put a bird on it, Antarctica style

Here's the ridiculous vista picture of the day to start us off.
Those three tiny figures are some friends of mine who were out watching a pregnant seal. This is the closest thing I ever see to darkness; the sun really doesn't get any lower than this, and even this approximation of a sunset will soon disappear as the season progresses. This was taken around 11pm. I walked out of the bar after watching the world cup rugby finals and decided that I needed to take myself on a long, meandering think. There's something to be said for perpetual sunlight and being able to charge off on a hike at any hour of the day or night. I will say, though, that it's giving me some mighty strange sleeping habits. By which I mean I don't really sleep.

What I want to talk about today is the prevalence of all things penguin related. As far as I can tell, there are two reasons for this overabundance of penguins: 1. Penguins are really cute. 2. There aren't really any other animals down here, so they win by default. I keep thinking of the put a bird on it Portlandia sketch (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you're clearly on the internet-- google it and watch)... Penguins are the unofficial mascot of Antarctica, and as such their likeness shows up on every sticker, patch, memo, sign etc. on station. 

I decided to walk about with my camera for half an hour to take pictures of every penguin related thing I saw in the course of my natural wanderings. I actually gave up after about 10 minutes because there were just too many penguins to photograph and I lost interest. But this gives you a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about.
 This is one of my favorites. Adorable!
 Bookdrop. I do believe that all libraries should have bookdrops that look like this.
 Penguins flanking the doors to the chapel.
 View from the chapel window. I love the fact that someone actually made a stained glass window in the shape of antarctica with a penguin in it.
Penguin banners in the library. There's a lot of strange art down here, and I'm gathering material for a future post about Antarctic Art.

While Antarctica has a lot of penguins, do you know what it doesn't have? Polar bears. Those only live in the Arctic. People apparently don't necessarily know this, and so someone made a very helpful t-shirt that is far and away my favorite item available for purchase at the McMurdo Station Store:
I've spent the last few years on a crusade to not own unnecessary possessions, and I have a pretty firm rule about not acquiring any sort of commemorative memorabilia T-shirts, but I might have to make an exception for this one.

7 comments:

  1. Ah! I will trade you a care package for a no-polar bear Antarctica tee-shirt!

    ...I mean, the care package will get there anyway...

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  2. Great post Tessa~ I still sleep with my penguin every night. :-)

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  3. I think I was 7 when I told everyone that I LOVE penguins. From that year forward, every birthday/holiday/any day I have been given something with a penguin on it by almost all my relatives and friends, whether it be an actual stuffed penguin or plates with pictures of penguins.

    I bet Antarctica looks just like my house...

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  4. Tenaya I totally remember your penguin!

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  5. Grete, people do the same thing with me and unicorns. Which I'm kinda ok with, really...

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  6. The bear looks like he might be trying to poop.

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