Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The Russians Are Coming!
Those years of suffering in Mr. Reilly's high school Russian class came in handy this week.
The day before yesterday, two Mi-8 military helicopters dropped in (literally) as the advanced party for a group of Russian officials who were on their way to visit the American station at the South Pole. As the closest thing to a Russian speaker here at the base, I spent a great deal of time with the crew, who ate and socialized with us for two days.
Last night the VIPs arrived aboard and Antonov 47. They included, among others, Arthur Chilingorov, Deputy Chairman of the Duma and a major figure in Russian polar exploration for over three decades, and Dr. Alexander Bedritsky, president of the World Meteorlogical Association. I had a chance to chat with them as well as a good number of their associates. Unfortunately, a planned ham radio operation by one of the members of the group did not come to pass, as the party was far behind schedule due to highwinds (up to 60 knots) at our location.
The photo above is with Mr. Chilingarov. In case you cannot tell us apart, he is the one with the warmer hat...