Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bagaces Week 3

My third week of adventure in a small Costa Rican town!

Day 15:
Day off from field work. Go to farmacia and buy more hidrocortisona from my new pharmacy friend. Also discover they sell phone cards! Calling the love of my life has been difficult because the ladies at the grocery story will only sell me one phone card at a time. Not sure why. But I can only buy a 20-minute phone card each day. Weirdness. Wish I could ask why.

Do a bit of work on the computer and watch TV with T while Prof B & twins are at the pool.

Read and review a paper that Prof B gave to me 2 days ago. Try to give him my comments and he says he already returned his comments (way to waste my life).

New phone cards don’t work today. Darn third world countries and their unreliable international phone service.

Day 16:
Go to the field and get lots more replicates! Very good day again! Data is looking awesome!

Have horrible night sleep. Well, no sleep actually. Around 11pm, convince myself that a peeping tom/rapist/murderer is sitting on my back porch, watching me through the window. Hide in corner for 30 minutes while debating what to do. Not able to outrun anyone, decide my best option is to hide and hope that my predator gets bored and moves on to other prey. Hide in bathroom for 2.5 hours. Decide it is safe to try to go back to bed. Fall asleep with shoes on, while holding pocketknife. Canadian roommate scares the hell out of me when he returns home at 4am. Finally sleep between 6 and 8am.

Day 17:
Field day on 2 hours sleep. Miserable. Get some more data collected.


Bug bites and rash are clearing up. Still look like leper, but less painful.

Convince myself that no one was on back porch last night. It was just the wind and the dogs and my keen imagination. Actually get some sleep.

Day 18:
No field work. Make plans to rent car and go to beach. Prof B cancels plans to rent car (for some reason he is very anti-car rental. Anti-spending any money, really).

Buy light for back porch (added security against non-existent rapist/murderer).

Do some work at home. Watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. Find myself talking like the Gilmore Girls.

Go to pool with Prof B, T and twins. Somehow, am convinced to go down the super-scary waterslide! Also have drinks at in-pool bar. Nothing like public pools in the States.

Day 19:
Meet at 8am at Prof B’s house (as planned). Leave for bus to beach at 9:15 (does no one else in the world appreciate efficiency as much as I do?).

Watch a few buses go by. Get on one to Liberia (closest “major” city). After hour bus ride, sit at Liberia bus station (“parada”) for 50 minutes. Get on bus to far away beaches.

After 2 hour bus ride, arrive at beach with Prof B, T and twins. Twins are whiny with hunger, so we head to an all-inclusive type resort. We sit and T is appalled by the prices on the menu (though $7 for a burger and fries is not expensive by American standards, it is by Costa Rican standards). He curses the gluttony of Americans and their propensity for vacation. Try not to get into debate (because I would win any debate against this 22-year-old). Try not to hit him.

Get to spend 1 hour at the actual beach before next bus arrives. Waves are beautiful, yet powerful. This beach is not a protective cove and gets serious waves. Prof B seems to think his kids can handle the massive waves and associated undertows. The police officer that calls me out of the water (by yelling “Baby, Baby” at me) disagrees and tells me I must remove my children from the water immediately because it is too dangerous. Try to explain that they are not my kids. His English is limited and I end up talking to someone on a walkie-talkie. Agree to remove the kids from the water. They fight with me until Prof B shows up and basically says he knows better than the people that live and work at this beach and his kids are not in harms way. Fortunately, our time is up and we have to go anyway.

After 3.5 more hours of travel on the buses, arrive back in Bagaces. Rush home (covered in sand and salt) to discover that Gringo Poker is at our place. Shower quickly and try to straighten up.

Small crowd at poker. Good for chatting and laughing with the very nice English speakers. I only buy in one time this week! After many hours, actually get Second Place at the tournament style game! This means 7,000 colones (about $14)!!! Woohoo!!!

Day 20:
Back in the field. Hike for about a mile to get to new study area.


Very glad I booked earlier flight home.

Spend evening discussing stats (Thanks Joe!) and conclusions.

Call RyGuy very late at his new place in Small City. Hard to believe that when I get back to the Little Town that he will be gone. But very excited to visit him (and my family) a few days after I return!!

Day 21:
No field. Undergrad T has hurt his back and has a sunburn, so how could we possibly work?

Spend morning discussing data and find results very interesting.

Spend early afternoon working on graphs, photos and blog!! (Benefit of poker at my place = table & chairs to do work on!!!) Lots of email to catch up on too!

So, week 3 is finally over. I only have 5 days until I travel home, and, while it hasn’t turned out badly, I am excited to be getting back home!

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