Can you imagine needing to have your appendix removed just to be able to live in your city? That’s exactly what the residents of Villa Las Estrellas, a small Chilean settlement in Antarctica, are required to do in order to live there long-term.
你能想象在自己的城市居住需要切除掉阑尾吗？而这正是南极洲智利居住点Villa Las Estrellas的居民为了长期居住必须做的事情。
To be able to comprehend such a bizarre requirement, you first need to know a few things about Villa Las Estrellas. In short, this place is probably the closest you can get to experiencing life on another planet. It’s located so far away from human civilization and weather conditions are so extreme that would-be residents must pass a very thorough psychological exam in order to prove that they can live here for a long period of time.
为了帮助大家理解这个奇怪的要求，我们首先需要了解一下Villa Las Estrellas。简而言之，这个地方是人类可以到达的，最接近其它星球生活体验的地方。它远离人类文明，气候条件极端，想成为居民的人必须通过非常全面的心理测试，以证明自己可以长期居住在该地区。
In winter time, the whole place is buried under several meters of snow and the hours of daylight are replaced with a few minutes of twilight. The average temperature is -2.3 degrees Celsius, but they can drop to -47 in winter months, making it nearly impossible to even set foot outside the container-like houses.
Villa Las Estrellas is currently home to over 80 inhabitants, mainly members of the Chilean air force and their families, with everyone over the age of six missing their appendix. The requirement to have the potentially-problematic organ surgically removed is a precaution. Because this icy town is located on the remote King George Island, 120 km off the coast of Antarctica, with the nearest surgical hospital over 1,000 km away, removing residents’ appendix lowers the risk of an emergency evacuation.
Villa Las Estrellas现在有80多名居民，主要是智利空军和他们的家属，每个超过6岁的居民都切除了阑尾。通过手术切除可能存在问题的器官是一项预防措施。因为这个冰冷的小镇位于遥远的乔治王岛上，距离南极洲海岸120公里，最近的外科医院也在1000公里以外了，切除居民的阑尾可以降低需要急救的风险。
Villa Las Estrellas actually has its own hospital, but it’s manned by a general practitioner who can’t handle emergency surgeries, and with winds here blowing with speeds of up to 200 km/h, hail and other extreme meteorological phenomena, taking off in a Hercules C-130 military plane on a gravel runway can be quite difficult.
Villa Las Estrellas实际上拥有自己的医院，但它由一个无法处理紧急手术的全科医生管理。而且这里的风速高达每小时200公里，还有冰雹和其他极端气象现象，乘坐Hercules C-130军用飞机在碎石跑道上起飞是相当困难的。
“We must be prepared to keep a person alive two or three days, the time it usually takes an airplane to take off from here,“ Sergio Cubillos, the commander of the military airbase, told EFE. For this same reason, becoming pregnant in Villa Las Estrellas is not forbidden, but discouraged.
So why would anyone live in a place like this? Well, Villa Las Estrellas was founded in 1984, during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, as a way to consolidate Chile’s presence in what was then called the “Chilean Antarctic“. Families have been living there ever since, and Chile remains one of only two countries – the other being Argentina – to settle entire families in Antarctica. The other 24 countries present on the frozen continent only operate temporary research and military bases.
所以，为什么会有人想住在这样的地方呢？Villa Las Estrellas发现于1984年，为了巩固智利的存在（当时被称为“智利南极“），许多家庭开始居住于此。而且智利仍然是全家在南极洲定居的仅有的两个国家之一，另一个国家是阿根廷。其他24个国家在这片冰冷的大陆上，仅仅是开展临时的研究和军事基地。
Nowadays, families who decide to move to Villa Las Estrellas and have their appendix removed – even children over the age of 6 – choose to do so primarily for monetary gain. The Chilean government offers considerable financial incentives to settlers willing to spend a few years in this remote community, and some find them hard to resist.
现在，决定去Villa Las Estrellas居住并切除阑尾（超过6岁就要切除）的人主要是为了赚钱。智利政府为那些愿意在这个偏远地区生活几年的人提供了相当诱人的财政激励措施，有些人发现自己很难抗拒。
Despite the obvious hardships of living on a remote island just off the coast of Antarctica and having to give their appendix to do so, most of the residents of Villa Las Estrellas manage to find a silver lining.
“Family life in Antarctica is very calm and pleasant because we spend much more time together than before,“ journalist Macarena Villarreal, mother of two, and wife of a military man, told EFE.