Kicking Off the New Year
So 2007 has arrived and the winds have changed directions; literally. The winds have changed directions and again the ash from Santiaguito is falling on my newly washed clothes and dishes. I guess that is appropriate, however, as in the figurative sense my task down here has taken a change of course, or maybe it is better to say that I will be doing new and different things.
I took in the new year asleep; something I haven’t done since I was maybe 5 years old. On New Years Eve, I woke up around 4:15 because we were leaving at 5:00 to go to a soccer tournament in the department of San Marcos. It was a 4-team tournament, here called a “quadrangular”. We were the first team to arrive at the field, in the middle of another coffee finca (the only reason I was disappointed was because I thought I would have the day away from the flesh-eating black flies), just as beautiful than my home in El Faro with a great view towards to Pacific coast, looking through the valleys over the cafetal, or coffee plants. Beautiful.
In short, we won our first game 5-2, or so. I actually scored the first goal. I was just standing some 5 meters in front of our opponents’ goal, unguarded, and the ball came deflected to me and a simple tap put the balón in the back of an open goal. Score.
We lost the second game 5-4. But as the first win had put us in the finals, we finished in 2nd place over all. We put our 1m tall trophy in the back of our pickup and after the 4 hour trip home, standing all the way, we arrived back home at 8. I ate pasta with margarine and cajun-seasoning (the only food I had for the past 2 days and a further 2 more) and then I went to bed. Exhausted.
They were supposed to arrive to the observatory on the 3rd. Unfortunately there were problems with customs and the first wave of scientists didn’t arrive until 5 o’clock in the afternoon on the 4th. They are 3, driven down from Xela by a Guatemalan who works at one of the hydroelectric plants; (I have no idea how he got involved in this). One of them is Matt, who will be here until the very end of the project. The other 2 are staying just for a night to see the observatory and compare equipment. They are a German and an Englishman who works in Mexico.
The next wave of scientists comes in on the 5th, among them a friend I knew while I was still in Houghton. Mari is now working on her PhD in volcanic gases and remote sensing. So we now have 3 cameras recording the volcanic activity: 1 regular video camera, an experimental UV camera, and an infrared radiometer (it measures heat radiance). And of course we all have our own digital cameras.
Another group arrives on the 6th. They are seismologists, and they are carrying a ton of equipment. Well, maybe not quite a ton, but a lot. Seismometers, computers, car batteries, gear, the works. I think we now have 9 people staying at the observatory. There are only 7 beds, so two are sleeping outside in tents. Oh, and on the 8th, 2 more students arrive. Again, they are also sleeping outside in tents. Mari and I make dinner for everybody and we make just the right amount. A lot of veggies, chicken, chow mein noodles and chicken. And, of course, since this is Guatemala, tortillas. I think we had 11 for dinner.
This is a very comprehensive study being done down here, but in two groups. One group is the infrared and UV cameras doing their stuff; Team “Heat and Gas” I will call them. The other team, for now, is “Team Other”. They consist of seismology, infrasonics, and Doppler radar.
More to come later…
It feels good to write again, to tell you all what I’ve been up to. So, if it would please you, why not send me a little story about what’s happened to you recently. I’d love to read a little about how you’re all doing. Anyways, have a good one.