Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

04 January 2008

Argentina Day 2

The plan had been to meet for breakfast bright and early, call the airport to see if the generator was coming in on the 11 flight and if not take off and head north. Well Tim woke me up a few min before 7 and we went downstairs for breakfast. I had some cereal and a glass of orange juice. There was no bacon so the normal therese travel diet wasn’t complete. Chris and Dema arrived about the same time we did, but noone else was there. After a while Dave, Kathy, and Max wandered in and I went over to ask dave how much the ticket from salta to BA was. It was apparently 250 US, which is mostly reasonable depending on how much the change fee at AA would be. He said the one problem was the 15kg weight allowance could jack the ticket cost up a lot if the overweigh charge was high. After eating I asked Jason for the key to our room only to discover I was suppose to grab it on my way out of the room since I was the last one out. So I tracked down another key, went up and sent mom an e-mail asking her to check how much it would cost to change my ticket. I then went back downstairs and gave Jason and tim each a key, then grabbed Chris’s key and went to pack my stuff. On my way I was sent to make sure Santiago and Geret were awake. I pounded on their door and sure enough, they were still asleep. I woke them up then went to the room to pack. I used one of my big ziplocks to put my beer in incase anymore broke. I took the one that had been opened and ducktaped the cap in place and then wrapped that up in a second bag before putting it in the baggie. Chris walked in after a while and I asked him how difficult would it be for me to stay until the 19th? He looked at me and asked if id already changed my ticket. I told him no, I was just looking into it at this point, but if it was going to make things really difficult then I wouldn’t. He said it depended on if Dani and her friend came or not since if they did the trucks would be too full for another person, but he wouldn’t know until the 6th or 7th since Dani wouldn’t find out until after her job interview.

It was now time for the first big adventure of the trip- loading the trucks. We had 2 crew cab short bed trucks and 1 small car. Jason and Tim stuck all their stuff in the car and were planning on a 3rd passenger until it was decided that we needed all the space we could get so instead of 4,5 and 3 wed put 5 in each truck and then just Jason and tim in the little car. The packing was sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, we must have moved each piece of luggage around 3 or 4 times before finally finding a way to get everything in. While we were doing this Anna and LeAndrew made it to the hotel. Anna works on Agallinis and LeAndrew works on flies. They were suppose to have come in yesterday, but Anna’s id was expired so they wouldn’t let her on the plane until she got a valid one. Chris made an executive decision- leafhopper people (plus LeAndrew) in the small truck, Cicada people (plus Santiago) in the big truck, and NYSM people in the little car. We gave up on the generator and took off. We were packed in like sardens, but it wasn’t as bad as it almost was since it looked like we would all have to hold our backpacks until Jason found room in the car for them. It was still super tight especially for poor LeAndrew who was stuck in the back and had quite long legs. Chris drove although Dema did some driving too. We didn’t stop much although we did stop a couple times to do some sweeping. The highlight of the drive raptor wise was seeing a bunch of caracaras. They’re all over down here. We stopped in a small town and bought a backup generator incase the 110 died on us, then finally grabbed some dinner around 2000- pizza, although the meat pizza took forever to come out so I also ate one of chris’s empanadas. We decided to camp at a nearby campsite and run lights there. I got my stuff out to set up lights and with Geret’s help we got my sheet deployed. Since we had to pay per tent I asked max if I could sleep in his tent so I stuck my stuff in there then headed out to the sheets. I tried to do my normal collecting method, but soon discovered I really needed to give into aspirators and chris said he had an extra on in the truck. So I found it and after 30 min of trying finally got good enough with it to actually catch bugs. It seems like weve got a pretty good group of people on this trip, all a lot of fun around the sheet, especially once Geret and Santiago showed up with a cold beer and them, me and Chris passed the bottle around until we killed it and called it a night. I got to Max’s tent and discovered I lost my leafhopper vial somewhere. I figured it was somewhere near the fence we had to climb over going between the sheets, sure enough it was over there- tragedy averted. I slept really well, my mp3 player is awesome


Driving over a bridge. Note the lack of cups in the cup holder














Jason and Tim's car















View from the road















Looks like Texas
















Field right off the road
















Look familiar?




















Our truck (closest to me, bed covered), and the cicada truck (farther away, and bed cover up Any time we stopped, even for 10 seconds that bed cover was opened.

03 January 2008

Argentina Day 1

What a day. So Jess dropped me off at ORD around noon. I checked in and proceeded without issue through security. While waiting I mostly just screwed around on the computer and watched part of the Godfather. I started checking the flight info and discovered that Chris’s plane from CMI had been canceled. That should make things interesting. I grabbed Mcdonalds for dinner and ate while watching the Godfather. After eating Dave came up to me and so I hung around with him and Kathy until it was almost time to leave. We grabbed more McDs and then prepared to board. This was looking like the blind leading the blind since none of us really know Spanish and pretty much had no clue on the game plan. Still no Chris. I called his house and his wife said hed made it on a plane that should arrive with just enough time to get to our fight. The 3 of us got on and I called up the family and Chavez then sent a couple txts to Cammack and AMC. I saw Chris and Dmitri walking towards the seats at that point so figured it would all work out ok. I waved at Dmitri but Chris apparently didn’t see me at all. The flight took off and we cruised along for about an hour. Nothing too exciting although they showed the route on tv screens along with how fast we were traveling and that sort of thing. Well after about an hour of this I got bored so decided it was time to talk to Chris. So I popped up over the seat (he was sitting behind me) and said Hey Chris. Hes like how long you been sitting there and when I told him the whole flight he seemed in disbelief and asked again. I thought it was pretty funny especially when he said hed been looking for me as he walked in. We talked bugs for awhile and then we hit turbulence and the pilot put on the fasten your seatbelt sign again, so I moved back to their row between chris and demitri so we could keep talking. Soon they served us dinner- BBQ beef stuff which was actually fairly good. I had yet another glass of milk plus a coke since I knew that the one thing I miss foodwise when im not in the US is good milk. After dinner Chris and I talked a bit more then he decided the temptation to watch Rattitui was to great and watched that. I went back to my seat and turned on my mp3 player. I tried to get some sleep, but I had a heck of a time staying asleep for any length of time. I did mange to get some sleep though around 4am, and woke up just in time to watch the breakfast cart pass me by shortly before 6. We landed without incident and met up with dave and Kathy in the terminal. We went through immigration which took me forever since some random guy cut infront of me when I got to the desk and he didn’t know what he was doing. I eventually made it through and caught up with the rest of the group at baggage. My bags both made it and were actually not the last ones off like they were in Guatemala so that was nice. I exchanged a bit of money then went to customs. I got waved through, didn’t even have to give them my customs form or get my bag x-rayed so I beat everyone else. We gathered outside customs to try and figure out what to do next. None of us were sure if we were suppose to meet geret at the airport or not and saw no sign of him at the baggage area. Dave pulled out his computer and read the emails for geret, but we still wernt exactly sure what was going on. We waited around for about an hour while we got some money out of the ATM (it wouldn’t take my credit card, said I needed a pen number) and then got a bus to take us to the hotel. The bus finally showed up, and we discovered Dave had wandered off. He reappeared 10 min later or so and we walked out to the bus area. On our way we aquired Geret, apparently there are 2 terminals at EZE and hed come into the other one. We managed to squeeze all our stuff and ourselves into the bus and 40 min later arrived at our hotel after a few wrong turns and some circling through neighborhoods. We expected to find Jason and Tim waiting for us, but instead walked in to discover not only were they not at the hotel, but also that the hotel was overbooked and Chris and Dema were moved to a hotel across town. We did find Santiago waiting for us though. We spent the next 30 min trying to convince the hotel people that we were fine putting 3 people in a room, that someone could sleep on the floor, or that we didn’t mind shareing beds especially since Dave and Kathy only needed 1 bed. At first they said no, but eventually we prevailed. I was put in a room with Chris and Dema and we started the trek up to the 6th floor. The hotel was very small, only 3 rooms per floor with really narrow hallways and a tiny elevator. I got on the elevator with dave and Kathy and some of my stuff. It dropped them off on the 2nd floor, but then rather than taking me to the 6th it went back down to the ground floor. So Dema got on with his stuff and we pushed 6 again. This time we went down to the mantinace level, but didn’t realize it. We got off and sort of wandered around looking for our room until some guy came out and told us we weren’t suppose to be on that floor. So we went back to the ground floor- the door opened and chris looked at us and was like what are yall still doing on the elevator, dema and I were laughing too hard to tell him so the doors closed and we went up, this time making it to the 6th floor. We unloaded our stuff and sent the elevator back down to chris. He made it up without incident apparently and we explained to him the great elevator adventure. The next challenge was figuring out how to work the AC. Dema tried to turn it on, but nothing happened. We then realized none of the lights would turn on either. The fridge was cold though so something was up. After a few min of wandering aimlessly around the room Chris figured out that we needed to put a room key in this slot to turn the power on. That problem solved we got settled into our room, I got on the wifi and played around while Chris took a shower. Then it was Demas turn to shower and I got off so Chris could get on the computer. Once Dema was done I took my turn in the shower and then we headed downstairs to meet the group. We were going to find a bank and a supermarket, but before we could take off Jason and Tim finally appeared. Turns out their flight from Albany to Atlanta got cancled, do Delta took them by taxi to JFK where they caught an American flight. They lost their generator somewhere along the line though. They got the key to their room, but were informed that the power was off in the hotel for the next 30 min or so and they would be unable to unlock the door to their room until the power came back on. So they stuck their gear behind the hotel bar and we started to leave. By the time we located everyone though again the power came back on so they took their stuff up to their room. Finally we left to do our shopping. Dave and Kathy had to book a flight from Salta back to BA in order to catch their flight on the 19th so that was our first stop. While they did that chris wandered off to find a bank never to reappear. The rest of us went to the grocery store down the street. We spent an hour wandering around the store trying to figure out what to get. I got some tuna, and the only can of corned beef I could find. I also got some oranges, apples, lemon juice concentrate, sugar, water, and beer. I got 2 Quilians and 2 Quilian stouts. Me, Dema, and Geret started walking back to the hotel only to have my bag of beer break and one of the guilians fall out and the top pop off. It was fizzing like crazy so I started drinking it. We walked a bit further and my second quilians did the same thing. This one I handed to Geret and he carried it back to the hotel. We made it back with no more beer losses and we went to our rooms. I walked in to find Chris staring at my computer trying to figure out the password. I told him he should have gotten it since it’s a leafhopper genus, and he said hed tried the ones he thought it could be then checked the password hint which was Agalinae before Dietrich moved it. Well apparently he didn’t make the change, Andy did, and anyway couldn’t figure out what the hell it went to. So I told him Aceratagallia and I had no idea what I was thinking when I wrote the hint. He figured it was a trick to keep hackers from getting in. So he played around on my computer while I stuck my groceries in the fridge including the ½ a beer that was open. After a while Geret came over with my other beer and I stuck the top back on as well as I could and put that in the fridge too. Chris left at 1800 to pick up the rent a trucks and I played on the computer and talked to Dema. They were gone forever and finally reappeared around 2200. We tracked down the others and we went to find dinner. We walked down the road we were on until we found a hamburger place to eat at. I got a cheese burger and fries. After dinner we headed back to the hotel. Jason and tim said they had an extra bed in their room, so I moved down there but left all my stuff in Chris’s room. I just took my backback, computer, and the open beer down there. I plugged my converter into the wall and instantly the lights when out in the room. I stared at it for a min, then Jason said to get the desk guy so I walked downstairs. The guy came up and stared at the fuse box which was unopenable since it was painted over then left to go check some stuff down in the basement. That didn’t work so he said unless he could get into the fusebox we wouldn’t have power that night. Since the ac was off that wouldn’t be a good option so I pulled out my leatherman and Jason was able to cut through the paint to get into the box. In the process the knife slipped and cut a big gash in the paint in the box. He turned around and looked at the hotel guy who said “I didn’t see anything, did you?”. We flipped the fuse and power was restored. I sat in my bed and drank my beer and read my book. I tried to go to sleep, but since it was only 2200 back in dallas I had a heck of a time going to sleep. Instead I started plotting to stay longer since I realized since I was getting home wensday and it was a long weekend due to mlk day there was no chance I would actually drive to CLL just for a 1 hour class, then turn around and go home, so maybe I should go back with dave and Kathy on the 19th. The more I thought about it the better it sounded, so I decided in the morning maybe id e-mail mom and see how much it would be to change my ticket. I finally went to sleep listening to my mp3 player.
Picture from the 6th floor of the hotel