Archive for March, 2008

End of month two.

I can’t believe March is over…  mid-semester crunch has officially hit and a lot of us are feeling the stress.  We got our midterms back this week and I think I got one of the highest grades in the class on Coastal Ecology!  Unfortunately I also think I got one of the lowest in the class for Principles of Resource Management.  (A brief rant about PRM: I hate it and I don’t think we’ve learned a damn thing worthwhile.  Sorry I promised myself I wouldn’t swear in this blog but there’s just no other word to complete that sentence properly.  I’m not the only one though, most people agree with me, and the highest grade on the midterm was an 84% out of thirty students.  Most people got Cs and Ds.)

Anyways, I’ve been sick most of this week with some sort of cold/flu-bug but I think it’s finally leaving.  At least I can walk around without feeling nauseous so that’s a start.  Being sick here is not fun.  You can’t just skip class when your entire school has the same classes and your professors live next door to you…  Thankfully they’re all really understanding and I was able to skip most things that involved hiking or snorkeling.  We leave Tuesday for our trip to Loreto, turns out its only two nights so I’ll write about it at the end of the week.

If you’re in Montgomery County and reading this, go say hi to Honey for me ok?  I keep having dreams about horseback riding.


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Picture:  on our horses at the beach (you can see land’s end in the background)

We got back from spring break Sunday night, and I finally have enough free time to write something.  Cabo San Lucas is crazy (they don’t call it San Locos for nothing).  I was so surprised to so many people younger than me!  It was fun, but it is definitely a college party town.   They really cater to tourists and it took me completely by surprise when I’d ask how much something was (asking IN SPANISH) and they’d answer me in English and give the price in dollars.  Elyse even had someone give her change in dollars.  It’s to their advantage of course because the exchange rate is about 11 pesos to the dollar, so by charging you $10 for something that they sell for 100 pesos, they’re actually getting 110 pesos from you.

Honestly the best part, besides the beach of course, was the food!  On the first night, we went out to Johnny Rockets and I had a chicken club sandwich, cheese fries and a chocolate shake.  French fries have never tasted so good.  Another night we went to an Italian place and had real brick-oven pizza.  Other than that we had Mexican food, and I finally got some real huevos rancheros.  They were so good I even ate the runny parts (and if you’ve ever eaten eggs with me you know that’s really an accomplishment for me).

We went to the beach most days, and the water was great.  On Friday we tried to go out snorkeling, but apparently we were there at peak spring-break season and snorkeling was banned for the week by the coast guard because there were too many boating accidents last year.  We ended up taking a ride on a glass-bottom boat to go see the rocks and “lands end,” the southernmost point on the peninsula.  Saturday we went for a trail ride in the desert so I finally got my horse-fix for the semester.  My horse was named Pollo Loco (that’s “Crazy Chicken” for you English-speakers) and he was great!  At one point the guide turns to me and says, in Spanish, “if you want to gallop, go ahead, just wait for us at the top of that hill.”  So I did, and it was a blast.

So it’s back to work here at school…  we’re going out camping to catch turtles again on Friday, then on Tuesday we leave for a four day trip to Loreto a couple hours north of here.  Thank you to everyone who’s been reading and leaving comments!  I miss you all!

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A Loooooong Week

What a week it’s been.  On Tuesday we went out crabbing and had a lecture on the blue crab fishery here.  Contrary to what I was told earlier in the semester, this is NOT the same species we have at home in the Chesapeake, and I can tell you from experience the crabs at home taste much better.  (Maybe just because the Old Bay was missing.)

Then on Thursday we went out observing osprey nest behavior again, in seven-hour shifts.  I got up at 5:30, in order to be at the nests by 6:00, and watch them until 1:00.  It wasn’t actually that bad, and I’m getting some serious tan lines.

Then Friday night, we had another camping trip to go turtle-monitoring in another estuary a little north of here.  This time I drew the early shift, and woke up at 3:30 on Saturday morning to go out and check the nets at 4:00 and 6:00am.  At 4:16 we caught a 115 pound turtle that we named Aretha.  It took Poncho (the panguero), Cassie, and Stacey all lifting her to get her into the boat, and it was still quite the struggle.  When we measured her, we had to practically sit on her to keep her still; she was incredibly strong.  As big as she was, I’m pretty sure she was still significantly smaller than Calypso (the green sea turtle at the Aquarium in Baltimore) so I can’t even imagine what Calypso must weigh.  Usually to weigh the turtles we put them in a small rubberized net and pick them up with a spring scale.  Because one of us couldn’t do this alone for Aretha, we had to hook the scale onto a pole, and two people lifted the pole onto their shoulders.  (See my Flickr for photos!)

Finally, here we are frantically studying for midterms which are tomorrow and Tuesday.  At least spring break starts on Wednesday and I’ll be off to Cabo San Lucas for five days with Monica and Elyse!  Also, I’m starting to get really excited for senior year!  I’ll be living in an on-campus townhouse with three other girls, and I think I’ve nearly figured out my class schedule.  Check back next week for spring break news!

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La Purisima


Picture: The hike down the rocky hill to the oasis

Yesterday we took a day trip to the oasis at La Purisima.  It was pretty cool, oases really are real, and yes, they actually look pretty much like they do in movies.  No, there were no camels.  There was a date farm though, with horses and burros.  But they didn’t want to be our friends and ran away when Cassie and I walked over to them.  On the way back we stopped for dinner in Consti and had pizza.  Not as good as Kohler’s and definitely not as good as Draft Zone, but it was pizza at least, so I ate it.

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My home-stay was yesterday and it was really cool. Go to my flickr (link is to the right) for pictures! It was fun, we watched a movie, went to the car show at the whale festival, hung out with the family and neighbors/extended family for a cook-out style lunch, sang English and Spanish songs on the karaoke, and went to the festival again at night to see Nicole (a Fulbright Scholar doing research here) dance.

The whale festival was all weekend and was a lot like a smaller version of the county fair. There were games and rides and lots of food and craft vendors set up in the plaza. It didn’t even look like the same town! The hot fresh churros here are great, so much better than at home. We also had our first hot dogs from Martin’s stand. He wraps them in bacon, then grills them, and puts them on a bun with grilled onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, hot sauce and guacamole. It’s amazing. There’s also supposed to be mayo, but I think mayo’s gross. Anyone who wants to come over this summer, I think we should have a Mexico themed barbecue welcome home party for me and we’ll re-create them. (I mean, I can plan my own welcome home party right?)

Turtle monitoring last week was better than the first time because it wasn’t as cold and the nets were really close to the campsite. This time we were near the town of San Buto. Osprey GPS-ing went well, we marked a total of 68 nests, most of them active. Today we started observing the nests (two of them) for behavior which turns out to be long and slow and a little boring, and great opportunity to get sunburned. Monica and I were assigned the same shift so we talked and listened to music and it wasn’t that bad.

I hope everyone at home is having a good semester, I miss St. Mary’s! And if anyone’s coming to Cabo for spring break tell me because I’ll be there too!

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