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.


  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...

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

  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...

  4. Tenaya I totally remember your penguin!

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

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