Wednesday, June 26, 2013

飯 (rice!)

Today was an early start! We all had to meet at the university by 7:45! In order to try and escape the sun's peak, because today we were going to learn how to harvest rice at the NTU's farm! Last month, I always passed by the farm on my way to my lab, but never got to walk in it and explore. So being able to actually see it first hand and working the fields was too cool! Each of us got to wear a unique hat that most of the farmers use to keep the sun's rays reaching their skin. So with our hat in place, and a long hook looking tool, we were off to the field. It was surprisingly easy to cut the rice shoots from their base, just a few swipes of our 'slasher' tool, and you had a handful of rice shoots. But, I have so much appreciation for the famers who do this all day long, because it was very tiring after only a couple of times. After this, we were all very hot and sweaty, so we cooled off up to the conference room to prepare for some lectures.
On our agenda we were going to learn about the geography of Taiwan, the flora and vegetation of Taiwan, and finally a little bit about the marine biodiversity. They were really interesting, but I think the early morning of outdoor work was felt among everyone. Our breaks were spent mostly trying to fit in a nap before the next lecturer. And we needed to because for tonight, we have planned a night hike/frog observation!
So at around 7:30, we all headed to the mrt station to take the train to a bus stop, that then took us to the forest! I didn't realize this before we got here, but this was the same area some of the grad students took me too almost a month ago! It was cool to experience it again, with a different guide and company. Our guide was a frog expert! Throughout the hike, he knew which frog calls matched which species; he also was able to imitate (pretty accurately) the different frog calls to try and lure their voices out of the bush. We found so many different types! Even a snake passed our path, which got some screams and commotion from some of the students haha. I posted some more photos below!

the rice field (left) and Ben with a huge stack! (right)

Jessica, Kylee, and me!

The Bufo bankorensis (an endemic toad)

Taipei tree frog (leaping right at the moment I took the picture haha)

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