vervet_monkey: (Default)
*yawns* Sleepy kayla.

Just got back from Llamaing and Spain. Start with Spain first.

Generally a good 10 days. Started kinda disasterously as we got off the plane for the 2 1/2 journey to the village we were staying in to find no coaches there to pick us up... And the co-ordinator had no number for the coach company as all had been done via e-mail. So many harassed calls to UK and Spain and 2 hours later we actually got on our coaches. (Thankfully, there were 80 of us, somehow I doubt our ability to find that many beds on Malage on such short notice!!)

Spent the first 2 days on taxonomy, Angiosperm and Arthropod. Which actually turned out to be really interesting, even the plants bit, which i wasn't looking forward to. But its quite good fun trying to work out what they all are and that. Then had a trip to Ojen Valley, about half hour coach rideaway (Another mix up with coaches meant we did this a day early, as we walked out of the hotel to find the coaches waiting to take us...) We spent an hour and a half collecting as many different species of beetle as we could in groups of about 5. Then had to see if we could determine the diversity of beetle species within the valley and compare it to the diverstiy over the past years. On the first trip they collected 200+ species, in 1996. Last year it was about 80. This year we got 60. Doing the same course in the same place every year makes things more interesting, as the uni has built up quite alot of info on the area by now. 

Had a day of sampling the next day. Not the best day of the trip but still usefull. The morning wasnt to bad sampling the biodiversity. It did involve working in slightly larger groups, 15 rather than 5, which complicated things a little, but the acutal collecting of the data was fine. The afternoon however was stressful. Should have beeen fairly dimple, except we were now working in groups of around 40. We had to flip rocks, find the species living underneath them andrecord our data. Then back at the lab we had to correlate the data and present our findings. As a group of 40. That was never going to b easy. But then our co-ordinator decided that rather than guiding us as they were doing at the other hostel he was going to stand and shout at us to fragment us and see if we could still come up with the same results at the end. As it turns out we did, however we worked from 10am to 7pm without stopping, and were very stressed by it all, while the other hotel finished by 4 and had a nice relaxing day!

Had a day left to our own work then on mini taxonomy projects. We each took a family (Ours was Ordonta, Dragonfiles and damselflies) and produced a poster with all of the taxonomic infor on it. As we were only in grous of 3 this time it worked fairly well, I worked with 2 girls I'd been chatting to over the week and we got alot done.

Day off to Seville, with no work! Yay! Althouhg we did spend the entire 2 1/2 hours journey each way revising the Angiosperm and Arthropod taxonomy for our test the next day. I think all Biologists should be taught latin. Not conversationally, just the bit that are used. we had a whole range of random ways of remembering these latin nams that were entirely logical if you knew what it meant in Latin, but complete non-sence otherwise! Seville is a nice city, although we didn't see much of it, just the cathedral and a few back streets. Nice relaxing day anyhow!

Test next morning. Then started our project that afternoon. We ended up doing one on the plant species around ants nests. It was acutally quite interesting, althouhg doing 40 wally plots (marking out an area and counting the number of each differant species within the area.) was incredibly tedious. As was doing 7 hoursof  statistics the naext afternoon (120 standard deviaton equations and 60 z-tests plus another 120 Chi) But by some mircle we got it finished. As it turns out there is no correclaton between where ants build there nests and the species of plant around them, but it was still a good project!

OK, Llama farm...

Ummm, we went to the Lllama farm? There were llamas... and we stayed in a Yurt, which was fun. Basically just spent to days getting excited about Llamas and generally mucking about. It was good fun, rather random. Obivously the yurt had no power so we cooked over the fire and sat with candles literally everywhere. Didn't get a huge amount of sleep, what with 6 of us in there! Was a little bit odd as they had 2 double beds, which Amy and Dave and Heather and Geoff had obivously, but then mine and Johns single matteress were wedged inbwteen their beds. So i slept with Daves head hovering over mine and geoff over my feet, with John wedged in the other corner by the stove and kinda half under heather. This led to much nearly but not quite being stepped on in the night as people got up to the loo and much giggling.

Am now so so sleepy, having driven 3 hours today and yesturday. All on motorways, which i'd never actually done before but was really easy. And i did the whole way without getting lost! Which is pretty impressive on my own i feel! Am going to spend this evening veging, possibly watching the first dollhouse ep (which I'm trying my hardest not to get over excitedabouyt but failing misrably...) if the wireless net is working, if not probably Dr Who...
vervet_monkey: (Default)
My laptop is still revolting against sonic stage, so I have no music still. I do however have the radio. Which means that has been on almost constantly.

And therefore i have been getting quite excited over the Kilamanjaro climb (plus, Ronan, thats always good) Roriama wasn't as high as they have gone, so we didn't have altitude sickness to contend with. But it is just reminding me so much of our trip. The absolute drugery of walking and walking and walking one foot in front of the other, crawling on hands and knees to get up the slope without toppling off sideways. Climbing into tents that you don't really fit 3 people in and trying to sleep(although watching their videos they have a tent about as big as we did for 3 people each!), but the ground being so rocky that by the time you wake up you are covered in bruises. Now we did have to carry all our stuff on our backs and cook for ourselves and put up and take down our own tents at the begining and end of each day, which they don't, but it doesn't make it any (well, much) easier. And remembering when they ar speaking about how good it is to be there, but actually, they've had a bad day and really would like to stop now.

Tbh when we climbed the top wasn't all that exciting. It was cold, it was wet, we did get a day off at the top which was wonderful, but you do then just haveto climb down again. BUT I have this vivid memory of getting to the end to this weird little gateway village thing and dumping our bags in a pile, sat on my bag facing the mountain with Gemma (I think) sat next to me. I just remember looking over at her as these park rangers are searching our bags and both of us just collapsing into giggles. We were so pleased to be down and absolutely filthy and exhausted but we just sat there giggling and hyper. And by the next day, we all wanted to be back there again. Even if just for that ending (although the day after we did look really strange trying to climb up and down the stairs with legs that were aching so much!)

So yes, that is what my week has consisted of. And being glad that I've managed to find a good group of people here, that I am acutally going out 2/3 nights a week (although I am generally back by midnight...) And a group that as far as I can tell is nice and stable and isn't going to be as manic and stressful as my last group of friends was (not that I don't love them, but a bit lass drama is very nice) AND that when we go out we go and sit in the pub and TALK TO EACH OTHER which is always good. Oh, AND we're going to the llama farm!

*smiles*

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vervet_monkey

August 2011

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