Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Day 121: A number of note

Today marks the completion of 1/3 of my year journey.

I am in no mood to give this post its typical entertainment value. A day of more significance than a bizarre fraction is coming very soon. When it comes I will write on it.

My host father works for the local weather station, which is one of the main stations in Greenland. A big part of what they do involves monitoring the upper skies for wind and weather conditions for the air traffic that passes through the region (of which quite a lot does from North America to Europe). One of my host father's main jobs is sending up a weather balloon and dealing with the mechanical and technical aspects of the information it receives.

The other day I went with him up to the station to see him deploy the weather balloon and learn a bit more about the station. It is also a seismology center, as well as the town's connection to the outside world - all internet, telephone, and satellite connections are organized through this station.

My host father explaining some Scoresbysund geography:

The weather station kitchen, where they spend a lot of time waiting:

Interesting: three men of an age significantly more than mine (let's say 50-60's) work at this weather station - one of whom is my host father. They were all here this morning and we sat around drinking coffee while waiting for some of the machines to warm up. I realized that I have never in my life sat down in a casual situation with three old men, where I wasn't 1) in some family function 2) making a presentation or being interviewed or otherwise extremely proper, or 3) too young to be part of the conversation. For some reason it struck me. And - although everything was relaxed and respectful - I felt my old RHS* training firing up and had all kinds of thoughts about gender and age dynamics.

Which normally I'd get into, but like I said I'm not in the mood.

*RHS - Residence Hall Staff, an organization I worked for at my university. RHS keeps order in the dorms and ensures the safety and well-being of the students in addition to maintaining awareness of a multitude of social hierarchies

View from the balloon platform:

Filling the balloon in the hanger:

Releasing the balloon:

Another station-worker's house:

"Sunrise", otherwise known as "as much sun as we'll get today." This day had remarkably clear skies.

Coming home, Duka (who we recently found out is pregnant) greets my host father:

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