Friday, November 03, 2006
I got to do something very fun today. I
conducted a Crew Tour for the flight crew
from the SAFAIR plane that landed at McMurdo.
SAFAIR is a South African company that flies
charter flights for the Italian Antarctic
Program since the Italians don't have any
planes capable of making the trip down here.
They fly a L-100 Hercules that is configured
a little differently than the US Program's
Hercs. Frequently, our department gives crew
tours to the pilots and ground crews when they
land. The only problem is, I work nights and
most of the tours take place during the day.
This time, the plane came in during the
evening and I got to conduct the tour.
I had over two hours so we got to go to a lot
of places. First I took them to the store in
B-155. Every crew tour, long or short, goes
to the store. Souveniers must be purchased
for the folks back home and these folks were
no exception. Next came a trip to Scott's Hut
at Hut Point. They really enjoyed the historic
aspect and took lots of photos. I had a nice
conversation with a couple of the guys and they
loved America. One had taken a six week camper
trip from New York to California in an RV and
the other had been to Pittsburgh and Miami.
Pittsburgh??? I then took them to the McMurdo
Sign for more photo ops. The sun was in a
horrible spot, but I got a decent group shot
nonetheless. Lastly I drove part of the way
up Ob Hill where they got a good view of town
and the Ice Runway.
They had fun like everyone else, but a couple of
the guys seemed to have this fascination for lifting
large chunks of snow up above their heads. Maybe
they don't get a lot of snow in South Africa???
Overall, they were really nice guys. I expected
them to be able to speak English, and they did.
However, their English had a much different "accent"
than I expected. Instead of a British touch like
Australians or New Zealanders, it sounded like a
cross between English and Dutch (they speak Afrikaans...
kind of a Dutch offshoot)
The plane was impressive also. It's painted all white
and was very camoflaged against the white snow. I got
some good photos after I left them at the plane and they
were all very appreciative, shaking my hand and thanking
me for the tour profusely. Nice guys those South Africans.
Posted by Tom Hamann at 6:19 AM