We haven't even gotten to the field site yet, but our little research team has already been plagued with some major frustrations. I have two people joining me now, and one more that will be hear in a couple weeks--Katy, an undergrad who will be my summer assistant, and Aga and Jason, both masters students that will be conducting their own projects on the spiders while help me getting my project off the ground. Aga, Katy, and I were all supposed to fly from Chicago to San Jose yesterday, and leave for El Zota today. However, Aga's purse (containing both her passport and drivers license) was stolen in Chicago on Sunday. Since everything was closed on Memorial Day, she had to reschedule her flight a day later so that she could run around getting replacement documents on Tuesday. This also meant delaying our departure to El Zota by a day, so we could all go together.
Originally, Aga and Katy were on one flight, I was on another, and we were all going to meet up at the San Jose airport. However, since Katy would be without Aga, I was worried about find her at the airport in San Jose. However, I made a little sign with her name in bright pink pen, and waited for the hour after my flight (her flight was supposed to come in shortly after mine, but it was delayed) for her. When the Delta passengers were pouring out of customs (I was waiting with a few other people waiting to greet passengers on the flight, and their friends/family had all arrived), I was approached by a girl who cautiously peered at my sign, and then approached me. Katy? I asked, and she nodded. However, it was not until we got into a cab, and were just about the leave the airport, that we determined that SHE WAS NOT THE RIGHT PERSON (and her name was NOT Katy--despite her nod in the affirmative). She didn't have her glasses on, and thus didn't realize that she had read the sign wrong. Who would have thought? So at that point, we had to ask the cab driver to stop, let her and her stuff out, and he was annoyed, so I decided to continue on to the hotel and hope my assistant Katy would remember the hotel name and would get a cab. Unfortunately, she didn't know which hotel we were staying at, expected to meet me, and was really freaking out. She ended waiting at the airport for a very long time, at which point a nice man who worked at the airport gave her a ride to the Holiday Inn, where she was able to check her email and look up the correct hotel information. I feel this could have ended very badly, but luckily she made it here.
And now, today, my credit card has gone missing, either lost or stolen, I'm not sure. I used it earlier to pay for the second night of our hotel stay, and I'm SURE I put it back in my purse or wallet. I have my purse, have my wallet, but not that credit card. Luckily, my sister informs me that the fraud department had called my cell phone (she has my phone, and sent me an email). However, the stupid hotel phone hear won't accept phone cards, and requires paying with credit card so they can charge you exorbitantly, so right now I can't call to reach the credit card company and confirm that my card has gone missing.
Nonetheless, I feel like things aren't going so well for us (and this is on top of a lot of other minor hassles and frustrations). At least Katy and I had a good time visiting the zoo here in San Jose, which isn't too impressive, but actually has a decent spider monkey exhibit with a large group of beautiful spider monkeys. No matter how much anything else might go wrong, watching spider monkeys can always make us feel better.
Tomorrow we're off to the field station, where I will be cut off from internet (but will be able to have an easier time calling and receiving calls, which will be a relief). But then we can settle into the station, and get to work, and enjoy the beautiful forest.