Sunday morning in Canarana

The pizza buffet last night was not a buffet but the waiters just kept bringing different pizzas to us (ridizio  – pronounced ho – geez – ee- o). I ate too much but it was hard to stop. Flavors included; garlic & oil, tomato, basil & cheese, hard boiled egg, onion & ham, chopped tomatoes, green peas, and hamburg or sausage, creamed corn & chz (didn’t have that one), french fried onions (or potato strings) & hamburg, coconut & evap milk n cheese, chocolate sprinkles & cheese, 2  different ones with fruit & evap milk…. and more. All with cheese but no tomato sauce on any. Tried the Brazilian drink Caipirinha (with cachacha – pronounced cashasa). They serve beer really,  really cold and in a xlge coozie.

This morning we had cafe at the hotel, sat by the pool and swapped pictures with Kathleen & Paul. I’m blogging, Kathleen is writing up the “field notes” for WHRC and Paul is making me a map of Tanguro labeled with my pictures where they were taken.

The barbecue at Osvalwo’s is at noonish – will add more later.

Sox make any deadline trades?

Last day at the Ranch

Slept in (til 7am) then was awakened by noisy birds in the yard. I must have been in a dream about crows cawing or something and woke to this noise, got up and investigated. There were 1/2 dozen yellow/green macaws in the tree jawing at each other. I startled them a little and they moved to other trees and eventually flew off. Got lots of decent pics. Carmen and Chelsea (Brown U grad students) made breakfast for us – oatmeal, fruit and eggs; as opposed to the bread and fruit that is usual weekday fare.

Paul, Kathleen and I went to look for monkeys at a different jungle site but it was not accessible enough to us – tramped around, saw lots of cool plants, birds and bugs - but no monkeys. Our last stop was to pick up the 3 Critter Cams. One site was a gold mine! Lots of wild pigs and tapirs (we baited the traps with papaya and banana). Made sure to take a picture of me next to a termite mound so you could see how big they really are!

We’re done at Tanguro today and heading into Canarana. I’m looking forward to going to the pizza buffet at the restaurant in town tonight – it’s highly recommended by all!

Change in plans

This morning we headed out to one of the 10 meter deep “pits” to do soil sampling. We were still hoping to see monkeys too, but no luck. Did hear a toucan in the forest and tried to track him but the leaf litter is very dry and we are so not stealthy – he ditched us.

Later, Paul took us for a tour of the ranch through many, many soy fields and through the rubber fields that I did not realize were even there. The fields looked like maple forests in Vermont – with the taps and buckets etc… The rubber was nasty looking though and smelled like dirty, stinky, cheese feet!

We also took a hike out to the edge of the Amazon Forest and into the Jungle. The temperature rose and the humidity skyrocketed but the stream at this location was pristine. We couldn’t get very far though because the tiny wooden bridge had collapsed in places and was very rickety in others. In between the tour of the ranch headquarters and the rubber tree plantation, we needed to retrieve a datalogger from the Darro River. It is placed under a wooden bridge (away from prying fingers) and pretty difficult to reach. We voted for Carmen (the grad student) who is the youngest and most agile. She retrieves the logger, amidst double tractor trailers and various other motor vehicles passing overhead and threads it up through the boards of the bridge to be downloaded and replaced safely back in it’s pod under the bridge. Pretty cool operation!

On the way back “home” we saw a tapir just moseying across a soy field to a nearby stream. We decided to drop Kathleen nearby with her video camera and Paul and I would take the truck out of hearing/sight range so she could “stalk the Wild Amazonian Tapir”. He wandered very close and she got some great footage but he ended up getting spooked and took off back from whence he came. – no drink this trip!

We got back in time, after the work day was done, to hit the reservoir (or as they call it – Donkey Pee Pond - there is a story). There is a 2-person kayak so we took a spin around the pond and then floated for a while in the inflatables.

Usually, the scientists and crew leave the ranch on Friday afternoons and head to town (Canarana) for the weekend but since we lost a day traveling, we are staying tonight and heading back tomorrow. The cook and the other Brazilians are gone already so Chris (from MBL) went to town, got some food and we’re having a cookout tonight – just the 6 American scientists. We’ve been invited to a barbecue at one of the Brazilian scientists houses on Sunday – yummmmm.

I’ve tried and tried to post pics here but no luck so far – maybe shutterfly????

Yesterday’s News

Ran out computer battery checking the critter cams, so could not blog last night. This $99 netbook has actually been a valuable field tool! We got images of wild pigs rooting around the test site, one cam failed and one just had images of us setting it up so we moved it to a new location where we saw a path into the forest and lots of animal tracks. Our “spy cam” on the porch is just for fun.

Spent the morning working with Wanderlay (pronounced Vanderlay, a Brazilian IPAM scientist) while he monitored his CO2 plots in the burn forest. Then Kathleen and I took off to check the critter cams. After lunch (rice and beans and meat), we went t0 the control forest to run another transect for Paul’s resistivity project. It was really hot in there … and the bugs! The more you sweat, the more the small black flies are attracted to you (salty sweat) and I was so hot my knees were sweating! (not knee pits, knees)The leather snake chaps go over the knees so cause more heat. At one point during testing, we needed to wait for the machine to run so Paul, 3 of the Brazilian guys and me practiced our Portuguese/English pronunciation etc..

We ran long in the field so there was no time to swim so we went on a drive around to see – whatever… Saw a tapir (kind of a small hippo type critter) with a baby and chased down an armadillo in the field. It was running and I caught up to it as Paul ran the other direction to head it off! Pretty funny image in your heads now right! Took many more photos and can’t wait to share.

First Full Work Day

It’s really dark beginning at 6:30pm but the stars are really bright and beautiful. Saw a bunch of bats at dusk – We’ve been told that they roost in the ceiling of our house and come out to feed at night, so any noises at dawn are the bats returning for the day! Have seen lots of birds (but no ”cool ones”), tons of bugs but no monkeys or wild pigs … yet.

Alarm at 6am, breakfast, then into the forest around 7am, before it gets too hot. Probably around 65-70 this morning. Worked on Paul’s Resistivity project today, laying electrodes along a transect to record moisture content of the soil. Put up 2 more critter cams along the transect – along the path where we saw pig poop and hope to catch an image of something tonight! I’m taking tons of pictures but there’s no way this computer can handle even one I’ll bet.

There are 2 grad students from Brown Univ in RI and one of them, Carmen, knows some of Joey’s friends who I had as students in 8th grade! It really is a small world.

Every meal so far has been rice and beans, meat, some other starchy carb and fruit juice (Passion fruit/cashew mix today was yummy). I’m sitting on the porch now typing this and waiting for a group to go down to the reservoir. I think the only way to get all the bug spray and dust from my hair is through a swim! We ran out of water this morning so need to conserve. (it comes from a well and somehow the pump failed during the night, it’ ok now - only has one temp anyway) Wait til you see the pictures!

We made it!

The bus ride from Goiania to Canarana was long but uneventful and relatively comfortable. I slept on and off the whole ride. Got there at 9am. Paul (from WHRC) meet us in Canarana, took us to breakfast, to the supermarket and to meet Maristela, who is an educational consultant to IPAM in Canarana and is coordinating my visits to local schools next week.

Finally made it to the ranch for lunch at noon, then dressed in long pants, long sleeve t. Don’t forget to tuck socks in pants and boots – don’t forget the snake chaps, sunglasses and hat. Placed a few “Critter Cams” to capture images of whatever may pass them in the forest. Will check on then later in the week.

Paul and Kathleen swam in the reservoir near the compound while I acted as “lifeguard”. It’s 8pm now and I’m really tired. Will add more tomorrow.

We’re almost there!

We finally left JFK for our 1pm flight at 2pm and arrived safely in Rio at 1am. Long flight, saw the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” with Matt Damon as well as a bunch of NBC TV shows. My kindle has been awesome too. Tried to sleep but only dozed from time to time. Got a voucher from the airlines for a hotel and taxi when we landed. Got to a decent hotel at 2:30am. Slept til 9am but still tired.

This morning we saw the big Jesus from the roof of our hotel – very cool. Drank cafe zima and had poa de queijo, little cheese balls, at an outdoor cafe in downtown Rio. On to airport. Taxi drivers drive VERY fast!!

Security in Rio – put bag on belt – thats it! No free internet anywhere. Kathleen paid $.25/min at the hotel to contact WHRC about all the changes to our reservations.

At airport, needed to exchange dollars for “R$ – Reai”, pronounced Hay I, (the rate R$1.5/$1). Food – got a cafe con leche 4.70 (Brazilian), a small quiche 6.40 with onion and some green stuff that I thought was spinach when I ordered it but don’t think it was when I was eating it – but very delicioso anyway. 4 postcard stamps (8.4).

Now hanging out at a “day room” near the airport til bus time tonight at 9pm. Will arrive in Canarana mid morning I think.

Will blog from “the ranch” tomorrow night.

The adventure has begun…

Yesterday (Sat), Kathleen (from WHRC) and I left Cape Cod around 3pm. We were psyched -  no traffic going off Cape, no traffic in Boston, no problems checking bags or going through security. The flight to JFK in New York even arrived a few minutes early.

It’s when  we got to our gate that our worries began. The flight to Rio had been delayed from 9:35 til 11pm. Not a big problem, but then they moved it to 12:30, and gave us a food voucher for “our inconvenience”. Unfortunately, at midnight, all the food places but 1 were closed so there were slim pickins. I figured that as long as we could make our 3pm connection the next day, the wait time in Rio was lessened by waiting in NY.

When they posted 9am departure, we were truly concerned and when that changed to 1pm (on Sunday) we knew we were in trouble! The airlines said they would set us up with a hotel and transportation and would rebook missed connections etc.. Things were looking up, minutely.

We waited, and waited and waited some more – it was Sat night in NY – there were no rooms? Finally at 2am they started issuing vouchers to a hotel in Stamford, CT! We eventually boarded a taxi at 3am, got to CT at 4am and will catch another taxi at 10am back to JFK.

Keep your fingers crossed for success! Success in arriving back at airport on time, success at going through security – again, success that the plane will leave NY, and success at rebooking all the missed connections.

Final thought for today – pack a toothbrush in your carry-on.

Weather in Canarana

http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/BRXX1408

What am I gonna do in Brazil??

Here’s some interesting info from the last time teachers went on this trip.

Brazil Research Experience for Teachers  by Chris Brothers, Falmouth High School

Scroll down to page 4 after clicking on this link to Falmouth High School Teachers Journey to Center Field Site in Brazil