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'Today, my mind has become numb'

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GoKunming is republishing the travel reports of Kunming resident Jin Feibao (金飞豹) as he travels with an international expedition to the South Pole. Jin has been making daily phone reports to Kunming which have been translated into English by Frank Gua.

January 16: 54.5 km from South Pole

"Today, the weather is very good, without wind, the temperature rose to 20C below zero. We can call it a warm day. We took the full advantage of such a good day and trekked 15.9 km.

"We have taken 10 days' food on our sleds, now 5 days have passed. You'd think the sled would be lighter, but it is not because we have to carry all of our waste on our sleds. So, the food is lighter and lighter but the waste is heavier and heavier, thus our burden is nearly the same all the way to the South Pole.

"I have asked [tour leader] David to give me several more of the plastic bags [for waste storage], which I will take back to China, I will ask China's factories to produce them, and I will advocate China's mountaineers to use them to seal their waste when they climb China's mountains in the future. This is a very good thing for China's environmental protection. Next year will be a good chance to spread this message, because China's climbers will take the Olympic torch to the top of Mt Everest. They will need this kind of plastic bag. I hope the next time Chinese explorers come to Antarctica, they can use the made-in-China plastic bags.

"Today, my neck bone is still sore and painful, and I found that I have noticeably lost weight. So I can say that I have found the secret to losing weight: trekking to the South Pole, it's 100% effective.

"Now, we have covered more than half of the distance [from camp to the South Pole], we are all still in good spirits, we've been cooperating better than before and we are going faster and faster. David said that we can reach the South Pole within 4 days if the weather stays good. I am sure that we can reach the South Pole this Friday [Jan 19] or Saturday [Jan 20]."

January 17: 37.9 km from South Pole

"Today, we trekked 8 hours, covered 16.6 km. When we started in the morning, it was still sunny, but in the afternoon, the weather changed, it's really cloudy but not windy. The temperature dropped to 42C below zero. In such freezing conditions, we dare not stop, we have to keep going.

"Today, my mind has become numb, I am walking like a machine, or maybe like a dog dragging the sled, without any thoughts, without any imaginings or pleasant memories.

"My neck is still painful. The good news is several days ago I taught David some simple massage skills, so now he can give me a relaxing massage when we camp.

"Now we are only 39 km away from the South Pole. But the nearer to the South Pole, the harder the snow and ice on the ground become, which made dragging the sled more difficult, because it is always bumping. However, when sitting down in our tents, we encourage each other and talk about visiting each other's homes after this adventure. Surely we have built a deep friendship, which is one of the benefits I have received from this expedition."

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