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June 20, 2003

Mississippi River Delta

Thunder rumbles int he not-so-distant distance. I can hear a bullfrog croaking to my right. Geese argue across the street. I am set up a good 100 meters from our instrument, in the closest patch of shade, on a folding chair, wiping sweat from the bridge of my nose. Crows caw, bugs whirr and hum. Smaller, more pleasant birds chirp and make sounds like plucking a wire. Something groans. A cow?

The thunder rumbles closer, and I can hear some crackling intermixed. Soon, it seems, I will seek shelter from the rain and not the sun.


It's my first work trip, as an official UNAVCO employee. Mississippi River Delta, accomanying one Mr. Chuck Kurnik. Kurnik means chicken coop in Polish. Chuck picked me up around 8:30 AM on Thursday, and we drove to the airport. Departure time: 11:30 AM. I hope there's food on this flight, I said. Me too, he said. We were both too lazy to check. As it turned out, we were served a snack-lunch on our way to our stopover in Houston. Chuck assessed the cart as it came our way. I don't know what we get for lunch, but it looks like it involves Fritos. Oh, good, I said, and we were both excited.

The man controlling the food cart merrily hands us two wrapped plastic plates with our names on them. Oh, Chuck says, I guess I ordered us vegetarian meals.

Chuck had good intentions. But good intensions do not necessarily lead to good food. We did not get Fritos. We did not, of course, get turkey sandwiches. We got one half of a pita pocket, each, a small container of hummus, and a packet of salsa. (???) We also got an apple, instead of the Fritos, and a vegan German chocolate cookie.

It wasn't so bad as you may think. Well, except one part. My apple, a small red delicious, was surprisingly good. Crisp, juicy, bright white inside. I was even going to comment on how surprisingly good it was. Then Chuck bit into his. And spit the bite out onto his plastic plate. Both the bite and the bitten apple were solid brown. Disgusting, I said, and he appologized. Not you, I said, the apple. I'm so sorry you had to be subjected to that.

So went our airplane meal. In Houston, we were greeted at our departure gate by a mariachi band and, since our plane out was delayed due to thunderstorms, diverted to a nearby cafe for a delicious (stale) pretzel. The mustard dispenser only worked for a squirt or so, so the girl working the cafe fixed it. The it worked for another squirt and we decided we didn't really need very much mustard anyway.

There's not a whole lot to say about the surveying. We flew into the heat and humidity of Lafayette, Louisiana, and set up camp in an air-conditioned apartement which we shared with PhD student Zenon and undergraduate John. We had a comfy spot on the carpeted floor for sleeping (we had been advised to bring sleeping bags), and most meals were grouped meals cooked by the field team and eaten in another apartment.

[to be continued.]

[John with GPS. John's a piece of work.]

[Petia at the dump. It's stinky there.]

[Juan and Petia play in the mud.]

[Petia likes to play in the mud.]

[On the bayou.]

[Zenon and Juan nap.]

[Me up close and personal with little froggie, through dirty lense.]

[Zenon and Juan do the shove-the-sampler-into-the-ground dance.]

[Zenon gets rewarded.]

[As does Juan.]

[Ah, that's nice...]


[Scott gets ready to pose for a picture. For some reason, I thought it would be funny to get him putting his shirt back on.]

[Funky cricket.]


[Lizard doing its lizardy-thing.]

[Froggie on a palm.]

[Bigger froggie, in a pond.]


Posted by beth at 12:03 PM | Comments (4)

June 18, 2003

From the Ice Age to Modern Technological Times

Crazy how life slips on by, how things change from under us or even remain the same when we expect to find ourselves halfway around the world in a monastery studying the ancient arts of sand-sculpting. Or something.

I've gotten a job. It's my first real job, full-time, with benefits and everything. It's a little weird. So, big changes, but at the same time, I'm back where I left from--I'm working for UNAVCO in Boulder, Colorado, supporting science utilizing GPS. In fact, I've just gotten back from doing so in Louisiana.

But my real reason for writing this entry is to announce my arrival into the world of modern technology and convenience--I've gotten a cell phone.
I don't really have a home, at least not one with a land line, so I've given in to carrying around a contraption that will make me socially accessible after and around work hours. Hooray.

If you're reading this and are not on my list to which I am going to send my cell number, and know me and are on good terms with me and would like to have it, let me know and I will get it to you. Otherwise, hope you're all well, and if you need a mailing address, let me know.

Until next time,


Posted by beth at 7:08 AM | Comments (2)