"How come the only time I hear poop jokes is when I am with the Harvard team?" -Our airplane mechanic.
Imagine working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a place where the sun never sets. You lose track of which day it is, how long you have been here, how long you have left here. People here work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. More than that and it gets weird. Oil workers work 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off. Their motto? "It's not gay if it's week 3!"
When I first arrived in deadhorse, it was more like this:
Apparently at third week, everyone gets confused and it starts to look like this:
We are here for a little over 4 weeks. How's this affecting our group? We are making awful jokes. We've all started making 3 week jokes around the oil and other workers. Recently I was hanging out playing Magic: The Gathering (yep) with some random people I met here. Chris comes down to make fun of me a bit, starts walking towards the cafeteria, and asks if I want anything. I say, "From you? It's not week 3 yet." Laughter all around. Literally every single person here enjoys a good 3-week joke.
I found out that Deadhorse has almost no real permanent residents. There are a very small number of people that enjoy working here and don't like society. They stay for 13 weeks, and are forced to take a week off. They make more than $10k a month and have no expenditures (all food and such is provided), and they have done this for 20 years. In short, they are millionaires and just don't want to be anywhere else. Outside of this, everyone leaves Deadhorse.
As you can see from the caribou photo above, this place really is just oil and wilderness. It is all dirt roads, and there is no car wash. Check out this bus!
I had to take a day trip to Anchorage to pick up a vital piece of equipment. While there, I went out to a bar and talked with a ton of random locals. I heard about a phenomenon called the Slope Wife. It's been said here that when you go to the slope, you don't lose your wife/girlfriend, you just lose your place in line. I thought this was an exaggeration. It's not. Everyone I ran into in Anchorage said that if a woman has a husband on the slope, she is highly likely to cheat on him. They are in effect "open season" at the bar. I don't like this. I was happy to return to my team on the North Slope after a night in Anchorage.
We live in a man-camp called Mag-Tec. It's really great here. The food here is amazing. 3 really great meals a day in a cafeteria. On one of my first days here I walked into the cafeteria and Charles, the cook, yells to me "How do you like your steak?" I thought he was kidding. And then I saw a giant pile of steaks. It's some of the best steak I have eaten. On Sunday nights, they have prime rib. In 4 more hours, I get to eat some excellent prime rib. You know when else I have been able to have prime rib? Pretty much never. This place is great in that respect.
Rooms are off a hallway with shared bathrooms. We can't lock the rooms during the day. The place is like a dorm. We hang out in our rooms at night. A bunch of 30 and 40 year olds sitting in a tiny dorm room, interpreting data and making awful jokes. It's like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit.
We are kicking ass up here. More on that next week. For now, here is a photo of our plane flying low over ground.
Thanks for reading!
- Jason Munster