25-01-2018 Back home

It’s a beautiful day in the jungle. I woke up this morning at 10am which never happens because I’m usually sweating by 8, but this morning it was cool which was delightful.

We arrived a couple of days ago with 2 volunteers who are living here for 2 weeks. They are a French/Colombian couple who are both Doctors, and they are here to experience life in the jungle and help with our research. Also at the station, we have Xaali (in the middle of her Ecology PhD) and Jagoba (Dr of Arachnids) who both have ongoing research projects in the jungle. Xaali is working with Bromeliads and comparing the genetic diversity between different bromeliads to the community of animals that live within them. Her project involves lots of climbing trees because typically bromeliads grow off of the trunks of other trees. They are Epiphytes which means a plant that grows on another plant. Jagoba is an arachnid specialist living in Barcelona and he is doing a spider biodiversity study here – the first of its kind! This will involve all 7 of us catching spiders using various techniques night and day for the next week or so!

So the pace of life in the station has picked up! We’ve talked a lot about projects and science, and generally the kitchen is filled with a Spanish babble of conversation which makes a nice change to the silence that normally hangs in the air throughout the day. Thankfully, my project is coming together. There might even be a way for me to combine my two projects, and instead look at how the community use fungi medicinally! Very interesting!! Jagoba and I are going to meet a Fungi specialist in Quito in February who may be coming to the station in March to do this research as well!

The visa sitch is looking a bit worrying. My mum sent out some documents which I need for my visa to be processed, but Royal Mail has royally fucked up and even though she sent them two months ago, it looks like they haven’t yet made it out of England. And sorting this mess out from the Rainforest is quite hard so not too sure what I can do about it apart from register a MASSIVE complaint about their incompetence and lack of communication.

I got thwacked in the eye by a tree branch on the way to the station a couple of days ago. Heather, the 2 Doctors and I were sat on the roof of the Rancherra (the lorry-thing which takes us from Loretto to the indigenous community in the Rainforest), and for the split second I was changing songs on my phone, a branch came out of nowhere and got my eye! Excuse the pout – I was feeling quite sorry for myself (and looking for sympathy).

So I am now going to go for a swim in the river!

And tonight we are having a FIESTA for Burns Night!!! Heathers family is Scottish so we are going to pay homage to Robert Burns all the way from the Jungle!

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