I've found myself neglecting Livejournal as of late. By the time I finish working out in the field, I'm by far too exhausted to compile any sort of coherent sentence, let alone an entire entry. Today I didn't go out into the field - my boss went to sleep at 5PM yesterday and is still in bed now, and as I'm still in training I figured I didn't really have to do anything, which I sincerely appreciated.
The first leg of my flight, from San Francisco to Houston, was without a doubt one of the most interesting experiences of my life, if not number one. Somewhere above Texas, we struck a patch of entirely unexpected weather. The plane seemed to drop from the air, thrashing about violently. At one point, it felt as if we had turned so that rather than flying parallel to the ground, the plane was at a 45 degree angle. The four year old girl seated next to me, on her way home from celebrating her birthday in Santa Cruz with her brother, kept exclaiming, "The plane wants to go faster! The plane wants to go faster!" Her father just held onto her, silent and staring straight ahead. Many people were screaming and swearing. When the pilot told us to put on our seat belts, you could hear the terror in his voice. I braced myself against the armrests and my life didn't flash before my eyes. I only hoped that, if the plane was going down, I would pass out before the inevitably terrifying plunge and surprisingly, I had no regrets... I felt that if I were to die, it would be too soon. But I was satisfied, albeit extremely pissed off that, of all the possible ways, I was going to die by crashing into Texas.
The plane leveled out and an hour later we landed at George Bush International... lovely. I pulled some benches together and camped out for the next eight hours, before boarding for the second leg of my journey to Liberia, Costa Rica. After landing at the airport, which was less of an airport and more a expanse of concrete with a roof over it and open walls, my boss picked me up and we headed into town for lunch and to restock the communal food supply. I attempted to make conversation with Ronnie, our pirate taxi driver, but ended up merely nodding and looking confused for our forty minute drive out of town and through the endless cattle pastures. We arrived at the Albergue, the tiny little building that houses the researchers, and I was introduced to all of my new friends. I honestly knew from the start that these were people who I would sincerely like, and I definitely do. I unpacked, and a couple of hours later Reid came back from the field and we caught up - I hadn't realized that it had been almost a year since I had last seen him.
Training has been exhausting. I've only been going on six hour hikes so far, but soon I need to move up to the full 12 hour day. Tracking down monkeys, bushwhacking, and hauling around a load of equipment. One month ago, I had no idea that this would be how I would spend the next four months. It's still surreal. But somehow, it already feels like home.
( Too tired of typing. Here are some photographs...Collapse )