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January 14, 2008

The Trip Gets Started

It amazes me how time flies. Actually, it amazes me how time moves at such different speeds in different situations. In Afar, in a dusty camp behind a school in a small and infrastructure-less town, time crept in miniscule, immeasurable, individual intervals. No hurry there. In Tanzania, time was dragged out as a few days contained in one—the day in which we ran errands and met someone, the day in which we drove and broke down and met someone and got the car working again, the day in which we were game driving, the day in which we bedded down. Here, in Boulder, time flies. Speedy, speedy, almost two weeks gone since I’ve been back already? That’s the same amount of time I spent in Tanzania, and over half the amount of time I spent at camp in Afar.

Where to even start with the adventure? Since this is a blog, I get the easy way out: Start and the beginning, and work on in time from there, of course!

So I’ll summarize the time in Addis, which was full of preparations and which went pretty fast and which I already commented on in the blog while I was still in Addis, even.

Tim and I arrived early early on a Friday and David and Talfan, of the petrology group, were already there. Graham, from the MT group, arrived at a reasonable hour on Saturday, and Lorraine and John and Charlotte, the rest of the foreign contingent of the petrology group (except for David Pyle, who wasn’t coming until much later), arrived on Sunday. The time in Addis was spent buying food (mostly David and Talfan), getting equipment out of customs (Graham, Talfan, and myself), testing and organizing equipment (me), discussing the camp and field plans (Tim with assorted), extracting money from the banks in the Hilton (Tim), gathering gear for camp (mostly David and Talfan), and trying out different restaurants (all of us). And, discussing science over beers back at our hotels. True story. Not that science was the *only* thing that was discussed over said beers.

[A traditional Ethiopian dinner at the Guion hotel with (clockwise from lower left) Lorraine, Talfan, David, John, Graham, Tim, me, and Charlotte. Photo compliments of David, taken by a nice American tourist.]

Don’t let me fool you into thinking the foreigners were the only ones doing any work. The Addis Ababa University contingent of the Afar Consortium (as the science group is officially called) had been busy for some time laying the ground work for the field season, including a trip up to Afar to talk to officials and smooth the way, and also time dealing with paperwork, paperwork, paperwork for getting the equipment out of customs. Everyone involved, of course, had done a good deal of prep work before any of us arrived in Addis Ababa. This type of thing doesn’t just materialize spontaneously. I could probably pretty confidently say that I was the one that prepared the least.

Posted by beth at January 14, 2008 8:31 PM

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