Random Updates & a Plane Story

Hola!

 I've been relatively busy the past couple weeks, yay!

 One week ago, when I arrived in the office in the morning, a gringa was there! Julia is a fellow estadounidense who is taking a gap year here in Iquitos.  Somehow, no one had thought it important or noteworthy to tell me she was coming beforehand?? Then on Friday morning, bright and early, Linda's boyfriend arrived!! We met up around 7:30 am to head over to the airport together and collect him and a Hopkins professor from their flight.  Will and Cristina are also back in town, so we've got a full gringo crew again! Woohoo!  It was a rough 2 weeks going solo here, so I'm ecstatic they're all here. 

 I had a mild infection last week that was draining me and my motivation, hence the lack of blog posts.  I now have a Dr. here and he put me on antibiotics that seem to have done the job. 

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300+ year old tree

 Sunday morning Will and Cristina took Julia, Marisa (student visiting for the week), and I out to the jungle to do some bird watching.  W & C are basically the leaders of the group here; they're really good at coordinating with everyone and scheduling fun activities. Turns out their bird watching level is pretty high, so I learned a lot.  We had a speedboat drop us off at the entrance to a small town, from which we walked about 9 km through the jungle to another smaller town, where we took a colectivo boat back to the city.  We saw lots of birds which I don't remember their names and some monkeys (tamarins).  My favorite thing we saw was a Toucan!

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By the way, I've been here for 2 months now!  Jeeze it seems like much longer, doesn't it? Haha even time moves on Peruvian time here... [we like to say someones "on Peruvian time" if they're running late or if somethings taking way longer than it should]. 

 This week I was able to get a bunch of stuff done for both arms of my study!  A new set of observational samples became available and I sampled from older sets as well.  On Wednesday, I started 2 more experimental conditions and sampled from the previous set! 

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Julia's guard dog at the moment. I love him. I have named him Gordito. We are best friends. Unfortunately for me he already has both a family and a job (and a name).

 I've been thinking about things/stories I should be taking note of on the blog but that I forget to, so I'm gunna start here from the beginning: 

 1) My first flight in June was from Washington DC to Bogota.  I go by the wait-until-everyone-else-has-boarded-and-get-on-last strategy at the airport, so 95% of the plane was full and there were maybe 3 people behind me as I walked from the jetway and stepped onto the front of the plane. The pilot was standing in front greeting me, when he looked towards the back of the plane, then back out the door and screamed "SEGURIDAD!!!" At this point it is important to note that this was an Avianca flight to Colombia and I was the only person on board not fluent in Spanish, so from the time I got in line at the counter to check my bags this entire experience was in Spanish.  Now, I know "seguridad" means "security," but more importantly I know that if the pilot of your flight gets a concerned look on his face, screams something, and then runs off the plane, YOU SHOULD FOLLOW HIM.  My anxiety has prepared me for this moment, so as the pilot is running down the jetway back towards the airport, I've hurried myself OFF that damn plane. 

 Turns out, there was an entire Colombian family (and that means like 15 ppl) on board and the maternal figure (grandma) had gone into a panic due to a fear of flying. If you didn't know this, having a panic attack on a plane is THE WORST. You're in an enclosed space, no way out, no room to walk it off or take a break, and the worst is: it causes everyone else around you to go into a panic attack. especially if said person is with several of their grandchildren.  Again, important to note that as all of this was unfolding no one spoke English only Spanish so I had nice people trying to explain to me what was going on in Spanglish.  But, as far as I can see this is the best possible outcome for the situation; the grandma didn't take the flight (hopefully that worked out for her somehow??) but no one was hurt and we didn't need to significantly delay the flight. 

 2) The trainers at the gym always come show you how to operate the treadmill, which to me seemed silly because the buttons are quite self-explanatory and all treadmills really work the same .. But, I realized it is because some people here have never used a treadmill before! Have you ever seen an adult experience a treadmill for the first time?! I bet you haven't. I have. It was very interesting and surprising. He was extremely cautious and suspicious of the machine, and almost fell multiple times.   Tomorrow I'm off to Arequipa!! I really need this vacation!

K

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