By Alexa Thomson

She got here. She observed. She burnt the toast. a tender lady with a stellar urban profession yet an expanding dissatisfaction with existence, Alexa applies for the placement of prepare dinner with a personal corporation which organises Antarctic operations. Armed with an outdated cookbook, she makes an attempt to create three-course food with out electrical energy or working water and struggles to defrost meat within the coldest position on the earth. lifestyles in a skinny nylon tent within the corporation of scientists, explorers and eccentrics quickly starts to tackle amazing dimensions. As 75-mile-an-hour winds blow and tensions upward push, friendships - and love - are cast during this frozen neighbourhood. Alexa Thomson has been an online fashion designer for an funding financial institution and a author for Salon.com. She divides her time among Sydney and San Francisco

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My head is swimming with logistic details that completely consume me. Benjamin has told me that I have to buy an oven and we are really racing the clock now. Our advance party has been at Blue 1 for about a week and Mike will be giving us constant updates on the weather from hereon. If the weather is good to go today, we will fly in a few hours’ time. I still need to pick up vital kitchen equipment: the oven, pots, pans, tea towels, plates, cutlery, spatulas… and we need to take a look at the food order that is waiting in storage.

I look at her dumbly as if she were about to take a pistol from her belt and shoot me between the eyes. in39 39 27/09/2005 16:35:32 A NTARCTICA ON A P LATE My addled brain has a meltdown. I am overwhelmed. I don’t know what I should do, and I can feel frustrated tears creeping into the corners of my eyes. I phone Gerald. Gerald of course already knows about the food debacle. He explains the unfortunate turn of events. We had sent our food order as an attachment to the e-mail. When the e-mail arrived in Cape Town the file was opened and the only sheet that was on view was our beverage list.

I am looking at the home of the Ice Queen. I stand at the door and gulp at a panorama of ice and snow. There are mountain ranges to the south that send a shiver of awe through me. Every book on Antarctica emphasises that it is the highest, flattest, driest, coldest… I knew it was the land of extremities but it’s one thing to read about it and quite another to bear witness to its blazing, frigid perfection. I stand at the exit of the plane and gaze mutely about me. For a silent moment I don’t notice the cold or the bustle of people below me.

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