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Busy Days

July 4, 2011

Saturday of course was work as usual, but it was a little different, a little more “hands on.”  What I mean is that we tested the six or seven samples of charcoal that we had for how fast it would light, its heat capacity, and its heat retention.  So I got to play in the lab all day.  It was extremely difficult to get good results.  We started before we had really thought the experiment out, and there were some things like lighting the charcoal which we could just not figure out how to get a consistent fuel source to light the charcoal.  So even though are results were not perfectly accurate, we did have some approximate results and it was great break from staring at the computer all day.

Sunday was our day off and so we tried to make the best of it.  This included sleeping in a bit–we seem to be tired all the time!–but then once we woke up we secured a nice lunch of coconut rice and toast butter jam and we ready to carpe diem.  We had arranged for a vehicle and driver from the company pick us up a little before one to go to a place called Pilikula.  We had been told there were four places we needed to visit in Pilikula: the zoo, the water park, the boating park, and the botanical gardens.

First stop and main attraction-the zoo.  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.  We also got to see leopards, monkeys, snakes–including a python and king cobra, deer, elephants, porcupine, peacock, boar, turtles, crocodiles, and a few others that I’m forgetting.  It has been a long time since I went to a zoo to see the animals–I did go to Hollywild last year to see the lights–and I really enjoyed it.  It really was a zoo and a nature walk compiled into one.  Of course the animal I didn’t mention seeing was people, and I am a people watcher so I want to share what I thought was an interesting tidbit.  The zoo was not dominated by little kids or even by families.  Instead the most prevalent group was 5 or 6 guys just hanging out at the zoo.  Some of the groups were my age, but much more often they were 35-40 years old.  I don’t quite know the significance of that, but it was very interesting to note.

Next we told our driver botanical gardens and in only about two minutes we were outside the boating park.  Our driver had no clue what or where the botanical gardens were, so we took a stroll in the boating park.  In fact, we thought it possibly was the botanical gardens too.  It was a park covered by hedgerows, hardly hedgerows and flowers and in the middle was a small pond where one could rent a boat if they so desired.  Again, the most interesting part were the people.  Indians are a very conservative people in the main, unlike S. America or France where amorous lovers have no problem with PDA.  However in this park I saw three or four couples holding hands and even one kissing!  So that really was the interesting part, because with Indians having upwards of 90% arranged marriages the dating scene is pretty small.

As I said the driver didn’t know or couldn’t understand botanical gardens so we drove by the water park the looked for all the world like a great big temple.  We decided not to participate because of some foreboding clouds, but it was a site to see.  Afterwards we headed home and took it easy for the rest of the day.

In other news: My nook broke yesterday from what I would call normal wear and tear.  I lifted up my pillow on the bed and it fell about one foot.  There are no discernible scratches on the screen and yet half of the screen is now all black lines.  Extremely distressing, I guess I’ll have to go a bit slower on the books now that there’s a cost involved…

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