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July 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm #1325
Are kleenex type tissues available on the ice? If yes, are they brand names like Puffs or sandpapery like the ones generally found in hotel rooms? What about cotton balls or squares?
CherieJuly 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm #11076
At Pole they have boxes of cheap tissue paper available for free in the bathrooms most of the time, I usually just grabbed that.July 17, 2011 at 4:16 am #11077
It all changes from year to year. If you really want it, then ship it down. I remember one year, they had Miltex toilet paper. You could see pieces of wood in it. I used to joke that it stood for all in one multi-use miltary texture. Good for everything. Wipe your butt or clean a battleship.
All joking aside. They will have basics, but only that. The shampoo, soap, etc might be good or it might be generic. If this is your first year, then spend a little and ship yourself all kinds of goodies that will make you feel nice. The environment is harsh and there are always people in your face. IAfter those quiet times when you get to have the room to yourself and you pampered your inner soul, you might even think to thank us for telling you send stuff down.
On that note, If it is your first year, be sure to send down a halloween costume. It’s the first of the really nice times that you will remember. 13 years into the program, I no longer find it fun, but if it’s your first year, it’s a blast you won’t want to miss.
Most times you will just be wearing normal old clothing, but you will want some dress up items. If you enjoy dressing up for special occaissions, you will have plenty of opportunities. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are big ones, but it’s likely that you or your friends will reserve Hut 10 for a special friends get together. After working 10 hours a day 6 days a week, dressing up makes you feel a million miles away and makes the evening special.
You will also develop routines with friends. I have small group of very special friends who for years have met every Sunday morning for coffee. It’s not the coffee or the goodies that people bring, it’s more what happens when you make time for it. I count each and every one of them as among the nicest people I’ve ever met. Thats what special times on the ice do for you. Send down some things to add to whatever routines you develop.
You can get the clothing that is issued to you and just wear that the whole season. You will look like everyone else. Most everyone sends down some clothes that make them look unique. You can’t miss me. A pair of cargo pants over some sweats and a pocket T or hawaian shirt over a sweat shirt. It’s my uniform. I have a hat that I’ve worn for the last 5 years as well. Just me.
The bottom line is that you are an individual and sending down items that help you be you and not a clone of the program will enhance your life on the ice.
MJuly 17, 2011 at 6:27 am #11078
Thanks so much; you guys are a wealth of information, and very kind to share it. I shall pack puffs and cotton squares and ship some more. Mike, Halloween costume is already in my bag.
CherieJuly 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm #11079linglinrtwMember
a good pair of heels for the formal occasions as well? lol 😉July 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm #11080
Your first year down, you will undoubtably send down tons of things you will never use. You at this point have no clue about what your life will be like and you won’t know until you get down and find your niche. I used to tell people be minimalistic, but I think your first year can go in so many different directions that it’s good to have nice things. Once down, you can have things mailed, but science and emergency supplies get priorty and historically the mail can be very delayed, so think carefully about what items to hand carry.
If the season progresses with no icebreaker,they will be flying in lots of stuff and my guess is that there will not be a lot of room on the planes for mail. This might be the year to use up your weight allowance. In the past, it hasn’t been uncommon for your mail to not show up until way into November.
The other side of the coin is that it’s really nice to travel light. One suitcase, easy to get in and out of all the various airports and shuttles. I always went down with little and then filled my bags in Christchurch with goodies. Good cheese is high on the list. This year I’m not so sure there will be many places left in NZ to purchase items with the earthquake and all. I think I’ll still go down with nothing and wait for my mail to catch up.July 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm #11081
I copied/pasted from a number of old postings, mostly from you, and created a packing list for myself. I plan on having very few changes of clothing and love the thought of minimalistic traveling and living. (I even love the word.) Still it seems like there are a whole lot of necessities. By the time I pack towels, bedding, enough toiletries to get me thru 2 months while waiting for mail, shoes (hiking boots, mucks, kitchen shoes, gym shoes & a pair of normal shoes), laptop and other electronics (ipod, kindle, camera, battery charger), I’m going to be loaded.
Thank you for all your helpful tips, as I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the kind of support that this site offers. You’ve done so much for us newbies, or in Ice-speak, FNGs……now if you could just do something to resolve this icebreaker issue and ensure deployment.
CherieJuly 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm #11082
Generally they’ll provide bedding for you, so unless you’re really picky about it I wouldn’t bother bringing it from home. And maybe it’s just a male perspective, but that list of shoes seems pretty long. You’ll be issued at least one pair of ECW boots by USAP, maybe two if you’re working outside a lot; you’ll have to keep track of those and wear them on your flights, even if you have no intention of ever wearing them. At Pole I don’t even bother with boots, I just wear some decent socks and my street shoes.
I kind of lean towards packing minimally, if only because the most stressful part of the job for me is traveling to and from the Ice while lugging my junk around airports and hotels. Also, twice in a row now I’ve forgotten to ship a package home at the end of the season, and then gotten stuck lugging a suitcase full of stuff back to Christchurch only to mail it home from there.July 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm #11083
Don’t carry down bedding. They provide it. If you want some nice fleece or flannel sheets, mail it and do with the issued sheets till they get there.
I also would not carry down so many shoes. Mostly you will be working six days a week.
I’ll let the others chime in, but bring something to work in and something to play in and ship any more you might want. I think you get 140 pounds of gear now, but you will be miserable lugging all of that from your home to Denver then to your hotel then back to the airport pick it up in Auckland, walk it to the domestic terminal, pick it up in Christchurch, get it on a shuttle and then carry it to the third floor of whatever hotel you will be at.
On that note there is a change this year. At this point pretty much every hotel in Cheech that we have been using has been declared unsafe or is not open. There are only 5 hotels available for us and we will not have an opportunity to pick which one we would prefer. Most seem out by the airport which is fine to me, because absolutely nothing that I loved about the downtown is there anymore. Sad, but to tell you the truth, after the Feb earthquake, the further from downtown the better. I’d just as soon not have any more building falling down around me. Call me a whimp.
MJuly 19, 2011 at 10:41 am #11084MATKATAMIBAMember
Cher, remind us again… are you going to McMurdo or Pole? Summer, winter or both?July 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm #11085
Thanks guys, I’m scratching the bedding…..well, I might mail my quilt for personality. Now for the shoes…..I got the impression from previous posts that hiking boots are necessary to enjoy walking around McMurdo. Wrong? I also got the impression that in order to use the treadmills, I had to have dedicated shoes. Wrong? As a DA I had to order Kitchen shoes, black, non-slip, water resistent. Does anyone know if they can be worn for street shoes as well? If they are not dedicated to the kitchen, I can use them for street shoes and eliminate those. The mucks are doing double duty as “shower shoes” and house shoes.
I think even if the hiking boots stay, I could wait for them, so I think I’ll move them to the “mail” pile. If the gym shoes are needed for the treadmill, I don’t want to wait for them. If they are not needed, I’ll leave them at home.
Mat–the plan is McMurdo for the summer.July 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm #11086
Well, it’s likely to be in the 10-20 below zero range when you get there. It will warm up quickly, but initially if you do much hiking it’s likely you will wear your ECW boots if your hiking boots aren’t extremely insulated. Early on most of your walks will be on snow and ice. Many people bring down heavy insulated cold weather boots but I don’t as I don’t really hike that much. (After 13 years, I like being warm more than being cold.) I mail the tennis shoes down. My boots are not full on hiking boots, more like a cross between sneakers and boots and very comfortable to wear all the time. Low cut, not ankle high. Normally I would wear the pair of hiking boots on the plane. I leave the laces loose so I can slip them off. The main reason is that if you get delayed in Christchurch, you might like to go for a hike.
My favorite place to hike in Cheech is gone, though. It’s in the hills around Sumner and Godley head and from what I can tell, it broke off and fell into the ocean. This year we may just sit in the hotel until we fly. I don’t think any of us will know until we get there.
If you have required shoes for work, you will have to bring them. No getting around that. I have to wear work boots. I leave them on the ice from year to year to have something right away to wear, then mail down a new pair. I also regulary scope out the skua piles for used shoes in my size. If they are already broken in and have some tread left and aren’t ripped, I throw them in the washer a couple of times. Mostly because new shoes hurt my feet while they are being broken in and I hate sore feet.
I know all this is so complicated. It’s because every person fits the niche down there in different ways. Some hike, some party, some read, some do crafts. Most people at first will try to do everything and will stick with the things their friends do. 24 hour daylight helps with that, but you can exhaust yourself at the same time. That’s the hard part. Not knowing. As I said, you will undoubtably bring down a ton of stuff you won’t use your first year. In later years, you will have an idea of how you will spend your free time, but for now you won’t, so bring down a little more if you have to. I brought down books, board games, an electronics kit and a ton of things thinking I was going to have all this boring time alone with nothing to do. I never used any of it and either gave it away or sent it back home again. You get there and work 6 days a week 10 hours a day and every night and all day on your day off 10 people want you to do something with them. In the end you find you have no free time unless you force it on yourself. If you can do that, then you need the goodies. My guess is the first month you will try everything.July 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm #11087
I guess you very well might need dedicated shoes at MCM for the treadmills – we certainly don’t at Pole, but part of the magic of being thousands of feet away from the nearest ground is that your shoes usually don’t get dirty. McMurdo is a pretty filthy place, they probably don’t want all that volcanic dust getting into the treadmills and clogging them up.July 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm #11088
, thanks. Y’all are life-savers. I plan to do more shipping and less lugging. I sure hope I like the Ice and it likes me, as all this new knowledge and experience needs to be utilized for more than one season 🙂 I’ve lived in remote areas where my comfort depended upon the mail, but a big difference was that mail had priority….after passengers and baggage came the mail. If it got backed up, then a plane was chartered. This is my first experience with mail having bottom priority. I need a reset button; maybe I’ll paint one on my forehead.July 21, 2011 at 2:58 am #11089skua77Keymaster
Sorry, I’ve got to throw in my 2¢ about shoes…for people with size 15 feet like me, they take up an awful lot of room in your baggage! I hope you have small feet, then you can carry several pairs in the space it takes for one of mine.
The mail used to have more priority in the old days before the internet got invented 🙂
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