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February 27, 2009

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PAGE 6B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 27i 2009 South (very far south) for the winter I "0 happy living things! no Ancient Mariner." By Lisa Z. Segelman New Jersey J4wish News A lot of Jewish New Jersey snowbirds head south to Florida for the winter, but that's not as far south as Betty and Arnold Goldstein did last January. While their contemporaries headed to Boca, the Whippany, N.J. couple took a road much less traveled, journeying by air and water to Antarctica, a place described as a"limitless landscape of ice, sea and sky" and"one of nature's last, most remote strongholds" by Patri- cia Shultz in "One Thousand Places to See Before You Die." "I was hesitant to go at first. " says Betty Goldstein. "I wondered what on earth we'd do there and what there was to see. And the cold! There aren't even any build- ings. But Arnie wanted to go for a long time. and nv I'm glad we did. " Both in their 60s, the husband-and-wife team began their adventure with a 10-hour flight to Buenos Aires. From there. tongue their beauty might they traveled to Ushuaia, a former penal colony on the southern tip of Argentina at Cape Horn. In Ushuaia, they boarded their 800 -passenger- capacity cruise ship, aptly named Marco Polo, and plied through notoriously choppy Drake Passage. The waters are named for 16th-century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. (Ironically, Drake nev- er sailed the passage, instead opting for the less turbulent Strait of Magellan, but due to a storm, was propelled south to reach the convergence of the Antarctic and Pacific oceans). Those unfamiliar with the continent sometimes as- sume visitors actually go to the South Pole itself. While explorers have made it to the "pole" at the center of the continent, everyday adventur- ers for the most part visit the Antarctic Peninsula, a finger of land that juts out from the continent's northernmost tip. The continent contains over 70 percent of the world's freshwater in its cap. The low- est recorded temperature is declare...'--"The Rime of the -128.6 degrees Fahrenheitand the deepest ice is over 16,000 feet thick. During the winter, Antarctica almost doubles in size, as snow accumulates and ice forms; it's considered one of the world's 20 natural wonders. While the Goldsteins arrived prepared for frigid temperatures, they ended up sweating bullets on the smaller Zodiac rubber boats that shuttle 12-14 people from the larger ship to the penin- sula. "Don't forget, January is summer in Antarctica, "says Arnold Goldstein of "mild" 28-degree temperatures. "While there's lots of snow, it wasn't where we were. The shore was muddy. Still, the weather can change ona dime, and the wind can pick up, so you have to be preparedwith hats, gloves, and goggles." The cruise ship provided ev- ery passenger with a warm, bright-red parka that they were allowed to keep as a sou- venir. In preparation for their excursion, passengers were treated to onboard lectures that provided insight into "And now there came both mist and snow, and it grew wondrous cold: and ice, mast-high, came floating by, as green as emerald.'--"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. every aspect of Antarctica. They were told what to look for. and naturalist-lecturers didn't hesitate to point things out eitler, including how not to harass penguins (stay at least 15 feet away). One big question explored during lectures (and no surprise to anyone) was global warm- ing. The lecturer's scientific explanation was intriguing. "He basically said that there's evidence thatglobal warming and conversely, global cooling has been going on for hun- dreds of thousands of years," says Arnold Goldstein. "There can be a periodof90,000 years where ice builds up, followed by 10,000years of ice melting." Passengers averaged four trips on the Zodiac boats. They circled islands and gotup close and personal with icebergs and penguins. On the land trips to the peninsula, they got even closer. The Goldsteins took 2,800 pictures, includ- ing hundreds of penguins. "The penguins we saw aren't the Emperor penguins most people are familiarwith, "says Betty Goldstein. "But adelie penguins who stay in their own groups, gentoo penguins (who look like they're wear- ing earmuffs) and chinstrap .penguins, aptly named thanks to a line of black resembling a helmet strap under their chins." While the couple has visited Alaska. they say it's a common misconception to think that Antarctica is anything like it. "There are certain similarities in that there is so much ani- mal life and so many birds," says Betty Goldstein. "But Alaska has towns, people, and civilization. There are no permanent settlements in Antarctica. No 'Antarctican' people. It's avery foreign place that very few people go to." A trip to Antarctica doesn't attract many first-time travel- ers. "That's one of the things we liked about it," says Arnold Goldste!n. "Seasoned travel- ers seem to have more respect for their environment, their fellow traveleCs' and tour leaders' time." What the continent does attract is other countries trying to stake a claim to it. "Nobody owns the continent, "he says. "But some countries think they do. Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom all claim a piece. The U. S. does not claim a piece and we don't recognize that anybody owns anything." Countries stake their claim by building outposts and even selling souvenirs. "You've got Chilean soldiers selling hats for $20 apiece thatwere made in China," he says."Itjust goes to show you that somebody's always selling something." The Goldsteins have been to every continent, and many off the beaten track. How did two kids from the Bronx become world travelers? "When I was in college I transferred from a tuition school to Hunter College in New York City, which was free," says Betty Goldstein. "My parents were so thrilled with the savings, they sent me on a trip to Europe and Israel. I just loved it. That's when I first got the travel bug."Arnold Goldstein, who grew up a mile from Yankee Stadium, is the son of immigrant parents. His father was a dress operator. "It was a terrible way to make a living," he says. "He was paid by the piece. If the employees wanted an electric fan, they all had to chip in." Knowing he wanted a better life, he pursued an interest in chemistry, even- tually earning a doctorate in chemical engineering. He recently retired from ExxonMobil after 36 years. The Goldsteins have traveled with companions too; their daughter Laurie and friends Helen and Barry Reiter of Mountain Lakes. The two couples have been on 14 trips together to places such as China, Russia, India. Nepal, Mexico, Canada, .Peru, the Galapagos Islands, and all of western Europe. Even in the remotest areas, they always try to experience whatever Jewish life can be found. "In the Chinese city of Kai Feng, we were supposed to visit a I " : - / i  ..... Jewish cemetery, but it was really just a stone that said 'Jewish people are buried here, '" says Betty Goldstein. "We also had what was billed as a 'traditional Jewish meal' consisting of four sweet, four sour, and four bitter dishes. I think they were trying to recreate a Passover seder." "I knew one guy in China out of literally a billion," says Arnold Goldstein. "While we were touring the famous terra'cotta figures in Xien, I see a guy that looks familiar. It turns out to be Steve, my one China connection!" The Goldsteins hope to travel with six-year-old grandson Joshua someday. "When he gets older it will be fun to visit some exotic locales," says Betty Goldstein. "But right now it's the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the police and fire museums." So, afterseeingpretty much thewholeworld, which is their favorite place on Earth? "]Right here," says Arnold Goldstein. "There's no better place than this country for civil liberties and economic opportunity. In the U. S., every immigrant has the chance to better his or her Circumstances. Going away is great, but coming home is better. When you see that flag, you know it's ours." Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Jewish News, www.njjewishnews. com. photos courtesy of Betty and Arnold Goldstein and NJJN "We were the first that ever burst into that silent sea...'-- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" While they weren't the first to venture into Antarctica, Betty and Arnold Goldstein did get to keep the bright-red parkas provided by the cruise ship as souvenirs.