Goan to Antarctica....

Goan scientist Helga do Rosario Gomes is en route to the icy continent, and is keeping her blog of the journey...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Who are you wearing?

Standing almost four feet, the Emperor Penguin is a work of art.

Its beautiful white feathered breast shines in the Antarctic light like the most luminous of pearls. Its head and back are satin black but as this is haute couture; its black beak is interrupted with a dash of the sharpest of salmon pink. Because every fine outfit calls for the perfect accessory, the Emperor penguin sports a scarf around its neck which falls lightly on its pearly breast.

It's impossible for me to describe this scarf for every color in the sunset resides in it.

Thus clad the penguins strolled amongst us often in pairs. They would come real close, stare us in the eye, then raise their beaks to the sky and make guttural sounds. Someone claimed they were mating calls so perhaps they were trying to pick us up?

But after a while they would walk away bored.

At some point a few sporty participants started a soccer match -- Raytheon vs. the scientists. It was constantly interrupted by the Emperors, many of who waddled from real far just to spoil the game.

They would stand in the middle of the 'field' staring, making those sounds or just bobbing their heads. Later the scientists confessed that they were a welcome distraction for not everyone is as fit as the Raytheon techs.

Then the hot Philippine music was turned on and from afar, a group of Adelie penguins came running towards us in a line, their wings aflutter. The Adelies are much smaller than the Emperors and are dressed like New Yorkers -- sharp, well tailored black suits and white shirts.

Unfortunately their behavior doesn't match their sophisticated attire.

Adelies are the clown penguins -- they are small, walk funny and run towards you with their wings outstretched like long lost classmates. Of course just when you think you have been singled for special treatment they walk past you.

The rest of the party was fueled by Pisco and the YMCA song. The only can of beer that I managed to grab on my way out froze almost immediately and then tasted awful. But it did not bother me for I was in another world.

Light in the Antarctica assumes an enhanced luminosity because you get a double dose of it. Once when it hits the earth and the other when the ice reflects a large part of it. Add to this the mountains of jagged and shining pieces of ice and the penguins milling around and you have a party from which you do not want to return home at midnight.


At 8:03 AM, Blogger Kiran said...

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