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AntarPostcard from the Field:Clothing Distribution Center, United States Antarctic Program - Windows to the Universe

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   Image courtesy of Sally Walker

From: Sally Walker
Christchurch, New Zealand, October 8, 2008

Clothing Distribution Center, United States Antarctic Program

I live near Atlanta, Georgia, where "CDC" means the Center for Disease Control. In Christchurch, "CDC" means the Clothing Distribution Center for the United States Antarctic Program. At this Center, workers and scientists going to Antarctica are issued two bright orange duffle bags stuffed with extreme cold-weather gear. In a crowded CDC room, we try on all the gear. By the time I had finished putting on three thermal under layers, a cotton bib overall, the large "Big Red" US Antarctic Program parka, and the blubbery "bunny boots", I looked and felt like an overstuffed marshmallow being grilled over a fire. At the same time, I was given a flu shot, so not only was I very hot, I had a red-hot arm! I can't possibly need all this gear, I thought, as I gazed at the posters of what to wear.

After peeling off the layers, Dr. Sam Bowser and I spent a great deal of time weighing, labeling and boxing up our scientific equipment. We were ready to go to Antarctica, if the stormy polar weather ever cleared. In the postcard above, I am holding my departure card and "Big Red" in anticipation for the flight to Antarctica. Now, we wait for the fax that will let us know when it is our turn to leave for the most southern continent in the world.

Antarctica

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