Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lima 7-16-08

We have finally made it! We are in Peru!! Lima is not what I expected. It is a very poor, run down city. I figured being the capital city it would be a little nicer, but it seems a very sad place. The buildings look sad, old, worn, and decrepid. Even the people look sad. Amongst the masses of people on the streets this morning there were no smiles.
We did finally meet some smiling Peruvians today. We made our first trip to the National Museum of Natural History. My advisor, James, has been working with Hernan, the director of the ichthyology department for many years. Hernan was great and most helpful to everyone and all his students seem to love him. I think it will be great working with his students, but too bad the museum won't give him time off from teaching to join us in the field.
Upon leaving the museum, James, Laurie (LSU professor, mollusks), and Carolina (professor from Spain, flatworms) went to buy us plane tickets to get to Pucallpa. This left me sitting at a table in the hotel restuarant drinking beers with the remaining members of our team: Christina, Fransico, and Io. Being my first day in Peru and not having spoken a lick of spanish in the last 8 years, I didn't understand a darn thing. They would chat and every so often stop to look at me and say "entiendes?" This of course was always followed by "no" from me. I really hope my spanish will improve quickly, it could really make it a difficult trip.
I forgot to add Blanca, one of the peruvian students, is a god send. We would be no where without her. She has taken care of arranging everything for us here. I'm also very glad that she is insistant that we take snake antivenom with us. James didn't seem to think this very important dispite the abundance of potentially deadly snakes that we could encounter. Blanca will remain in Pucallpa while we are in the field in case there is an emergency and also to make the plane go to get us when it is supposed to instead of whenever the pilot feels like. Tomorrow morning we fly to Pucallpa. I can't wait to actually be in the amazon.

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