Above: Joe and Jenn caught off guard by a photo in the back of the Land Cruiser.
Today our final team member, Kelly, arrived. After picking her up from the airport and having breakfast, we went to the Department of Immigration to get our permits to stay here and do research. While it took a while, it could have taken much longer. We also visited Dr. Katongo at the University of Zambia where we met with a professor who has helped us work with the Zambian government and was gracious enough to provide us with some ethanol for our samples (flying with ethanol would have presented some obvious problems). He and everyone else we met in the Department of Biology we met was extremely friendly (as it seems everyone in Zambia is), and it was great to see another college campus.
Around the house and in various other parts of town we’ve seen plenty of interesting things (at least to a group of biologists): plenty of lizards, giant millipedes, and huge land snails. I’m guessing most of the Zambians consider us pretty unusual Mzungus when they see us all huddled around a tree or anthill.
It looks like we will be heading to the lake on Wednesday on an overnight bus ride, so we’ll arrive Thursday morning in Mplungu. Tomorrow we have some more errands to run, and we’ll need to get everything organized for the bus trip.
Above: a new friend at the farm.
We made it to Zambia! It is currently 5:30 p.m. here in Lusaka, we’re staying at the farm outside of town for the next few days before we depart for the lake. Its warm. Its beautiful. Everyone is extremely friendly. Today after leaving the airport we came to the farm, unloaded our gear, and cleaned up before going to the mall to pick up phones and SIM cards, as well as get some money changed to Kwatcha. Since returning to the farm, we’ve all quickly fallen asleep. The climate here today reminded me a lot of inland Florida, complete with an afternoon rain.
I did get a phone, its not a smart phone, and to my knowledge I don’t receive photo texts, but if you’d like the number e-mail me at my OSU account ligocki.3 and I’ll try to get it to you! It may be cheaper to call my phone over Skype, I’m unsure.
Jenn and I getting ready to leave Columbus.
Jenn and I have arrived at Heathrow Airport in London. We’re currently waiting for all but one of the team members to arrive here (Kelly flies in on Monday) in the hopes we can meet up for lunch.
Both of our bags have been searched three times, each time we’ve had to explain what the dive weights and dissolved oxygen meters are. Both at JFK and Heathrow we didn’t realize we would be going through security again, and each time had to chug Nalgene bottles full of water before going through.I think the security officials are more entertained than anything else with all the random junk we have with us.
I must say the flight from JFK to here was one of the best I’ve been on. The concierge changed our seats so Jenn and I could share a row, but then it turned out there were few enough passengers that we each got our own row and got a few hours of sleep. The flight attendants were very friendly and the food was actually very good.
We’re here for 12 hours before flying to Lusaka overnight. I’m a little bummed that both flights are overnight; this morning I saw the city lights in Ireland, it would have been cool to see the landscape. Tonight we’ll be going over the Mediterranean, the Sahara, and the Congo. All at night. In any case, this is going to be an amazing trip, and I’m sure there will be plenty to see once in Zambia!
In less than a week I’ll be en route to Zambia for the long awaited 3 month expedition, and I can’t wait! To be honest, after planning for this trip over the last 6 months, it seems a little surreal that it’s so close. The plan is to arrive in Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) on Saturday morning, and spend a few days getting things together before taking an 8 hour bus ride to Mpulungu, on the lake. I’ll be buying a phone while in Lusaka, I’m not sure exactly how phone calls and texts will work there, but if you want that information when I have it let me know.
The high temperature for tomorrow in Mpulungu is 73 degrees F (23 degrees C), which will be a stark contrast to the snowy drive I had in today. Once there, I’m sure I’ll have tons of interesting things to write about, but in the meantime all I can tell you about is my decision making process in selecting ear drops, or how happy I am my income tax paperwork arrived before I left, so I’ll spare you.
I promise a science post is coming very soon (grades are due tomorrow and my load will lighten exponentially). With three days remaining in the SciFund Challenge I just wanted to express how grateful I am to everyone who has contributed so far. Your generosity means so much to me, and you’re really making this expedition possible. Its been so exciting to check my inbox and see so many updates from RocketHub informing me that another person is willing to invest in my work. Thank you all so much!
As of 12:01 am, SciFund challenge has begun! Check out my page here. Coming up later this week, what social behavior in fish, traffic jams, and Patrick Ewing have in common!
I’ve been mulling over the idea of starting a website/blog for a while now, and I’ve decided now is as good a time as any to get started. My primary goal is to show and share my research, but also to have an avenue to share current events I find relevant either from the perspective of Biology, Science Education, or whatever else catches my interest. Hope you all enjoy it!