Letters From Antarctica

This will be the only CARE package that I ask you to ship down to me so I can make it through the long Antarctic winter in relative comfort. Buy quality and don't worry about price. This is one of the main reasons I left money behind.

Slippers for walking around indoors. Preferably the big, furry, skooshy kind with perhaps a bit of a rubber sole, if possible. Something in which I could even make a mad dash from BioMed to the galley. Buy the best. My shoe size is 8 1/2 to 9.

One bathrobe. Be creative. Preferably loud, colorful, and with a pattern (anything wild gets rave reviews down here, where there is a serious lack of all things colorful). Terry cloth would be great, or perhaps velour. Whatever feels best to your touch. Something warm and soft.

Pillow, regular size. Firm and heavy (not feather).

Two packages of Glide brand Dental tape (similar to floss, but don't send floss).

Electrical power strip with circuit breaker - the kind where you plug into the wall and it gives you six or so new outlets in a strip at the end of a cord.

Two sunlamps, the old-fashioned floodlight style. I have a fixture equipped with a timer, so just send the bulb. Don't send a regular floodlight, make sure it's a sunlamp, that puts out UV radiation.

Two plain brass coat hooks, with screws. I only count fourteen in my room so far, and I could use a couple more. Hanging clothes is one of the keys to management of personal space here on the Pole.

Weatherstripping, flat, with adhesive on one side. I'm looking for one-quarter to one-half inch thickness, one-half to one-inch width, and about 20 feet length. There is ice on the wall inside my room around my escape hatch.

Portable urinal bottle with lid, plastic - yes, exactly the kind you would find in a hospital for a male patient. I have a great bathroom, and the only bathtub on the base, but I still don't want to get up and go down the hall just to pee in the middle of these Antarctic nights. Everyone uses "pee cups" around here, which are basically large, empty tin food cans. You may have to go to a medical supply store for one of these gems. Actually, send three. They will make great gifts. A couple of bows if you have them.

Ten Uni-ball Vision fine (not micro) point pens, black. If you can't find them (they're common), don't send any substitutes, please. Half of them will be ruined from the altitude by the time they arrive here, just like the ones I brought with me, but half of them made it. Seal them in a ziplock bag, please. I don't want ink on my pillow or bathrobe.

Two of the largest bottles of generic calcium carbonate tablets (i.e. TUMS). I prefer the assorted fruit flavors or cherry. These aren't just for me. Unbelievably, there aren't any on base (I've got thousands of Tagaments, but no simple antacids).

Aloe baby wipes, the kind that dispense from a plastic tub. I recall a brand called "Chubbs(?)" that I liked Will come in handy between the mandated, twice weekly showers. Send three of the large size.

Corkboard or bulletin board, which I am trying to squeeze into a space that measures approx. 18" X 48", so not bigger than that. If it's something I could cut to fit, that's fine. And push pins for the bulletin board.

One Iomega brand zip drive diskette for my desktop computer. Not the drive, just the diskette. If it is a much better deal to buy a three-pack instead of just one, then go ahead and I'll give them to friends.

Two large bottles of shampoo, your favorite (available here, but expensive).

Three bars of Dove soap.

Three large boxes of Kleenex (Pole brand kinda rough).

Ozium brand spray air freshener. Prefer unscented. Hard to find, but this brand or nothing, please.

If you come across anything I could add to the water in my humidifier, some kind of menthol or liquid Vick's or something, send it.

Two large bottles of 100% Aloe Vera skin gel. I like a brand called "Fruit of the Earth," but anything will do as long as it is "100%" aloe (not the stuff that simply contains aloe). This is to counter the extremely low humidity here. Recall that the South Pole is a desert.

Year 2000 picture wall calendar on which I can mark off the days. Should have photos of something tropical, lush, and warm. Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Girls would be perfect, seriously. No pictures of winter or snow. Anything but snow.

Two bottles of Dom Perignon champagne for the millennium. We get all twenty-four time zones here so I plan to do a little celebrating. You should be able to buy these in a box ready for shipping.

One universal television and VCR remote control. Make sure it can be programmed to work a VCR. Video is a way of life down here. Our library has over a thousand selections.

Don't knock yourself out trying to obtain difficult-to-find items. If an object is too much trouble to locate, skip it.

Use the pillow, the bathrobe, and newspaper for packing material. Do not send styrofoam, especially the styrofoam "peanuts." They are not allowed in Antarctica, and if customs checks the box, they will return it for this. Pack extra securely and use a heavy-duty box. The ride to Antarctica is very rough. The cold causes a lot of tape to fall off, so use extra on the outside.

Thank you so very much. These simple pleasures will go a long way toward making the Pole feel more like my home, which in fact, it is. Don't hesitate to e-mail me if you have any questions.

Love,

Robo

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