Saturday, September 19, 2015

Centro de Investigation, Posgrado y Conservation Amazonica (CIPCA)

David and Mercedes took us to CIPCA and gave us places to work.  Alina shares their office in the administration building.  

I have a very nice desk in the front of the Herbarium building with two enormous openable windows: later I will probably move into the Laboratory building in between the two.  Unfortunately, the labs don’t have windows that can open, and get quite hot.  I might have one of my air conditioners installed.  Security on campus and at CIPCA is very high: there are many armed guards patrolling day and night.  They have little fear of anything being stolen: a rarity here.  They also have squads of gardeners and cleaners: I suspect that it is in part a jobs program to boost employment and the economy while making the president popular.

CIPCA has a huge nature preserve: thousands of hectares alongside 5 km of the whitewater Rio Piatua.  The forest near the road and the buildings is secondary growth, and there is a moderate amount of pasture which is being used as research plots.  The primary forest is somewhat further out in the reserve. The lights on the buildings at CIPCA attract all sorts of cool insects, and actually work as traps.  I emptied one, and the next day it was full again.  That’s going to be very interesting!

Alina and I discussed our situation, and I suggested that we don’t really need the money right now: we should wait.  If we don’t teach this semester or even this year, so what?  Things here cost 1/3 to 1/10 what they do in the US.  Alina and I could afford to work full time on research, collecting, and organizing the botanical congress for 2018.  But I think we will be hired at UEA before that.  If not, she could be hired at pretty much any university.

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