Sunday, February 20, 2011

Travel: Day 1 - Puerto Rico - From snow to riches!

One of the advantages of teaching at a small liberal arts institution is the freedom to design and offer courses that are close to your heart. In January 2011, I was fortunate enough to lead a group of 6 students through the world of Tropical Ecology. Apart from not being in the right ecosystem, Nebraska in the winter is definitely not the place to have field trips about Tropical Ecology. Consequently, one portion of the course involved a 10-day trip to Puerto Rico where we got to see for ourselves all the things we talked about in the classroom.

This is a travelogue of our adventures together, the sights we saw, the things we did, and the lessons we learned.

At 2 in the morning I received a text from Andrew J, wondering whether the snowstorm that was hitting the Midwest would let us even leave Omaha. I looked out the window and saw nothing but whiteness. Our original plan was to leave for the airport at 7:30am. I quickly factored in the weather and told everyone to assemble by 6:15am instead. By 5:30am I was at the University's motor pool trying to jump-start the van that would take us to the airport. (Naturally it picked that day to die). Luckily, the head of Maintenance also believes in an early start and, a hasty truck ride later, we were able to requisition another van for the trip.

The ride from the University to the airport is normally a 45 minute one. That day it took us an hour and a half. We slip-slided our way, more than drove, to the airport. Finally, we reached the airport in time to leisurely stroll to the check-in counter, pick up our boarding passes and stop for the obligatory before-the-trip group photo.

(Miranda Beran 2011)