Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Well, we didn't get to do the playback. We ran into several problems. When we had hung the loudspeaker, and placed the microphone, we finally found the R group as far as they could possibly be from the loudspeaker. We needed them to be within 150 meters from the speaker to make sure they could hear it, and they were over 350. We also ran into a girl doing research on parental care, who must be new and no one had told us about. She was Asian, but not Thai, so she spoke in half broken Thai, half even more broken English to Julie about how she was following R today and for the next 3 days, and then would move onto M. She is going to be here for 55 days apparently, which means we are going to have to coordinate our experiments so that we don't run into her. It is best not to have too many people and too much noise.

Then, as we were waiting for the gibbons to decide to either move further or closer to the loudspeaker, six white tourists and two guides showed up with their huge cameras looking ridiculous in their shorts and their leech socks. Tourists are allowed to go off the main tourist trails if they have a guide-unfortunately for us. Julie and I wished there were more leeches today so they wouldn't be tempted to stay long. Of course when one guide finds the gibbons, he calls the other guides to help them out. So just when we thought we were rid of the tourists, and the gibbons started moving closer to the speaker, another group of five or six showed up. By the time they were gone, the gibbons were not in a good position at all, and in fact we thought they had crossed the river. They hadn't, we found out when we tested to loud speaker to make sure we could hear it at over 100 meters, they rushed towards it so we turned it off immediately. So, the day wasn't a complete bust; at least now we know that the gibbons can hear the speaker, and that they react to the leopard alarm call. I feel a little guilty, because from the time we ran into the first tourists I was crossing my fingers we wouldn't be able to do the experiment today...I just didn't feel ready to follow the female, not lose her, hold the video camera and record her (seems impossible) and record data at the same time. I'm intimidated. Hopefully I catch on quickly.

The rest of the day was pretty boring. Incredibly boring actually. Maybe because it was too hot to even take a nap, and I wasn't tired anyway because I actually got 8 hours of sleep last night. So the hours just dragged on. It makes me feel lonelier. I wish Julie and I knew each other better, or that she had less work to do so we could get to know each other better. I can't help her really because she is just transcribing her field notes of all the days calls we heard onto check sheets, so its pretty much a one person job. So I just sit, and read, and wish I had one of my friends or my mom here with to pass the hours talking with. I'm plowing through books, even faster than before. Its because my mom let me use her Audible account to get books on tape so I didn't have to buy anymore heavy paper books. But the problem is this way I can listen when I'm doing anything mindless, like while I cook lunch or lie in bed too hot to function. So I'm already two thirds of the way through The Help and I've only been listening to it four days.

I like to go out and sit on the porch when I read or relax, because there's a nice breeze and its cooler than being inside. But there are just hard wooden benches. I really wish there were hammocks! My favorite time of the day (besides when something interesting happens in the forest) is sitting on the porch at dusk, just as its starting to get dark and cooler. Its so peaceful. Its the best time to read out there, or talk with Julie after its too dark to read.

Tomorrow, unfortunately I will be returning to Bangkok to go to the National Research Council of Thailand. Apparently now, a month after I've arrive, I have to go there and show them I'm here? It seems weird to me. Oh well, its just for the day, but that is going to be a lot of busing for one day; three hours each way. Hopefully I'll at least be able to grab something yummy for lunch.

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