18 October 2009

Portugal part III

I slept crap. I shared my bedroom with a noisy gnat, when I managed to sleep I was woken up coughing due to a dry throat, when I was trying to sleep I kept on seeing myself surveying the salt marsh. I was woken u from the first decent stretch of sleep when Wil started clanking and stomping thorough the house. This was not going to be my day.

The morning was trying everything to improve my mood

We were going to take some more surface samples along Transect I, some bonus samples (don’t ask), and somewhere when it was convenient we were going to fill up the pit made for the monoliths. Somewhere along the line, synchronous with scorching sun and rapidly rising water, we encountered an evidently ill-timed communication problem, but we managed to solve it.

With the water already being so high it was a challenge to move about on the marsh we completed Transect II. It had been a long field day. And it may have been the last! A proper evaluation would decide on that, but with a bit of luck we had done all there was to do.

Rob posing as Camel man

The marsh was seriously flooded, and we were positively boiling, by the time we were done, so we again jumped in the river, that by now flowed right over our entire marsh. That enabled me as well to retrieve all the flags marking our surface samples. Wading, jumping, and sloshing would also do the trick, but swimming is more fun. This time I did not have to restrict myself to the channels; I could swim right over most of our marsh. Fun!

Then we retired. Home, to get somewhat freshed up. The men wanted to go to the beach, and I had had enough or blazing heat, but it would be antisocial to not join them, and they promised me a deckchair and a parasol, and with that promise I agreed on going. I got a cool beer with it! And I planned to extract a kilo of bramble thorns from my skin, but it turned out that Rob liked such amateur-surgical activities, so I had them removed for me, and even by a charming young men. In that way a beach is quite acceptable.

On the way back we had to do some shopping. Wil thought it was a good idea to let me drive. I was, in my general state of exhaustion, not looking forward to it, but I acknowledged that as an independent swamp scientist you also have to be able to drive in unfavourable circumstances. And good drivers can park large cars that have the steering wheel on the wrong side, in busy shopping streets, after only a few hours of sleep, and many more of charring fieldwork, so I tried. It was not going very smooth, so I ended up having Wil scream angrily at me to make it even more trying, but in the end the car was parked, and later we got home with all the groceries we needed.

I was very tired, so I sat down to process the data of the day, saved it on a memory stick, gave it to Wil, and slapped my laptop shut, hoping to not have to deal with these data again. Rob had made excellent chilli, and after I had wrestled myself through the dishes I settled on the couch with a whisky. For the first time! So far it had generally been directly to bed after dinner, as we did not eat especially early, but had to rise early anyway. And I did not manage more than one snifter, but now the relaxing could start.

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