The past week was pretty uneventful as far as what we accomplished. We didn't find much as far as our field research is concerned; mating season is wrapping up, leaving the paddies empty, and we are having some difficulties finding the frogs that have moved back to the forest (we've found none.) However, we did do a little frog experiment that I will address further down. As far as travel, we're all kind of broke, so we've managed to avoid expensive travel for a week. Our highlights include revisiting Bukhansan National Park via the subway and watching Michael Bay ruin the Transformers franchise. In his defense though, it was already not he downward slope and Mark Wahlberg made me care less about how awful the movie actually was. But I'm not one of those nerds who really cares anyway, I just feel like warning anyone that hasn't seen it that it isn't a great movie. Bukhansan, one the other hand, was as impressive in sequel form as the original visit. We decided to hike a different line of mountain peaks this time, and it was a much more demanding excursion than our first time around. It wasn't without mishaps, though. Justin and I lost Kyle at the bottom prior to our ascent, but continued anyway. Sorry Kyle. After 6 or 7 hours of great views and steep climbs, we ran out of water at the highest peak on our line, despite having 4 liters between the two of us. By the time we reached the bottom we were well beyond parched, and zealously searching for water, but that proved to be another 2 mile hike to the nearest convenience store after reaching the main road at the bottom of the mountain. We both chugged a liter and a half of powerade as some guy claiming to be a police officer imparted upon us the great wisdom of the power and benefits of dog-soup. "Much better than steak." "Good for the stamina!" We decided to part ways with our new friend as he finished telling us about the "appealing" (paraphrased) nature of girls at EWHA, the all girls university where we study, and before he could initiate another conversation topic or drag us into his wife's restaurant across the street. Nice guy, but very strange. Justin and I found a Subway (sandwich store) that had nothing remotely in the price range of a five dollar footlong, but we indulged anyway before heading home on the subway (train) and meeting back up with Kyle at out house.
In other news, I think I have come up with an independent research project that fits well with our actual research. It's still in the R&D process, but I'm thinking about using the data we've collected about the locations in which we have caught frogs over the past weeks, i.e. in which paddies they were captured, and relate the numbers of frogs caught to various conditional aspects of the paddies. This might include distance from the forest, the type of vegetation on the perimeter, the size of the bank, or any other number of variables. I'm not clear on the specifics yet, but its a thought.
As not much else happened worth reporting, I think I'll take this opportunity to comment on some cultural differences I've noticed over the month I've been here. One thing that really strikes me, which I actually quite enjoy, is the apparent lack litigation that occurs in South Korea. There aren't excessive warning signs cautioning against the most obvious things. When I ran to the exercise park a couple miles from our house I thought it was strange that outdoor exercise equipment wasn't a common thing in parks in America as well. Then I remembered there is no way they could exist, or persist if there were any in America because somebody would look at it as a prime opportunity to sponge up some money through legal action. Here that doesn't seem to be the issue. It's almost as if parents are responsible for the wellbeing of their own children and people are generally expected to use their own common sense to avoid danger. I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around that, it's such a novel idea... Natural selection has been weeding out those unfit to survive for all of history until the last hundred or so years in America, but I still think they embrace that here. I think we should warm back up to that concept-- It might just eliminate a few problems in our nation.
Either way, Happy Birthday America!
Either way, Happy Birthday America!