I’m on day 2.5 of a 5-day Palangkaraya binge, so I thought I’d give you all a taste of what a day in the amazingly exciting life of a researcher is like when she is not in the field (aka possibly bore the crap out of you, sorry…) Ready?
Wake up at 5 am when the most annoying dogs in the entire world start their daily barking routine. Curse the people who keep them tied up there all day and try to go back to sleep. If you’re lucky, you can! If not, well… people in America are just getting off work so at least you can catch up with friends. Open the computer. Wander off to the kitchen to plug in the kettle so you can heat up water for coffee. Return to computer.
Check email and Facebook to see who’s online and if anything interesting has come up overnight. Get distracted by the latest U.S. news and marvel at how silly politics is. Lose track of time and think to yourself that the kettle MUST be done by now because it’s been almost 40 minutes, walk to the kitchen to discover that the water isn’t even close to boiling. Continue incessantly checking every 5 minutes until you finally get hot water and can make coffee. Come back to your desk with said coffee, start answering emails or doing data entry, and lose track of time again until you decide that maybe you should eat something (and by something, you mean noodles, because what else do sensible people eat for breakfast?) After eating, return to data entry/report writing/Skyping family and friends to procrastinate your one chore for the day: going to the market. When you finally run out of computer-y things to do, venture begrudgingly off to the market. Although you need to buy things for life/camp, no one really ever wants to go to the market for several reason: 1) it’s hot, 2) only the most seasoned market-goers can actually find what they are looking for, and 3) you must tolerate the endless streets of Indonesian people yelling “hello mister!”, asking to take a photo with you, and telling you how much they wish their skin/hair/nose/all of the above looked like yours.*** Wander around the market until you find everything you need, at which point you are desperately craving a mandi (remember the mandi post, guys? this is one situation in which it actually feels amazing), and go home.
***I have nothing but love for Indonesian people, but after about 20 minutes the routine gets old, and more importantly I run out of clever things to respond with.
Arrive back at the house. Take the aforementioned mandi, and cool down while doing more data entry or reading some papers on your favorite research subject. Check email, check facebook, do work, repeat until 5:00 pm. On a good day, kick back with a beer and catch up on the latest news from the forest. On a slow day, keep working until you realize that it’s 7 pm and you haven’t eaten dinner yet. Go out in search of nasi campur, or better yet hit up the juice place (we don’t actually know the name of this restaurant, but it’s got delicious juice, and the owners love us). Return home, do the Gchat/Skype thing as necessary, and go to bed at a time that feels really late, but actually is normal because not everyone in the world goes to bed at the same time the forest does. Congratulations, you made it through a day in town! Get ready to do it all over again tomorrow, but if you’re lucky you might end up going to the mall instead of the market. Oh, Palangkaraya….