Research is beginning to wind down (well at least for the summer... I will be continuing to help the researchers here when I go back home). It's come down to the last week of research (next week). For the summer I have tracked the tree frogs weekly in the forests and rice paddies. I have helped in a ton of different ways to make sure that I've partaken in all of the methods used for the multiple research goals over the summer months. Mainly I have focused on the calling tactics of the tree frog by setting up recorders around the forests and rice paddies every week for a 24 hour data sample. At this point, some students and myself have finished listening to all of the recordings up to August. We have had about 90 hours of data to analyze per week, which means that there has been a lot of time put into this part of the study (this includes the months of April and May, which were before my arrival). I haven't started to analyze the data yet, so I'm excited to see what the results look like from my hard work over the summer.
I've seen a lot of Korea over my time here...because of this I'm running low on my money so over the weekend we made some trips that didn't put a hole in my wallet. On Friday we made our way to a shopping area in dongdaemun. I know this sounds like it would be expensive, however, I didn't spend any money...we only walked around and experienced the craziness of it. Street after street there were little shops. Even when we needed to cross the street (there are underground tunnels used to cross some of the streets in Korea) there would be an underground shopping center. There wasn't a place we walked that didn't have a little shop. Outside and inside buildings were full. The most popular item that I saw from my experience here were the hats. Just about every 3 shops there was a hat store. These hat places weren't small either. There were more hats in each one than there are in about two or three Lids stores combined in America. It was unbelievable. Koreans love their hats, and they definitely have enough to supply everyone here (or the entire world). The only downside from our travel here was that it appeared to be nearing the closing time (which was around 6pm). We knew this because some of the spaces were closed for the night. This brings up some cultural stuff that I want to talk about. In America, stores or small shop owners would lock up their place and most likely have an alarm system set in place before going home for the night. Here, Korea, the shop owners do it differently. These owners will hang a tarp from one side of their store to the other. There is no door. If they don't have a tarp they will hang a net over it...something that a person could just lift up and go under. This amazes me because it wouldn't last in America. This explains the low crime rate in South Korea. I know that no one here owns a gun, but apparently everyone trusts each other with their belongings. I'm not saying that there are no thieves or 'bad' people in South Korea, but there a lot less of them here and people seem to be more relaxed about keeping their items locked up. I wish we could have this in America, but we're so money hungry that it's impossible.
On Saturday we traveled to Bukhansan National Park for our third time. This time to make it to the highest peak, or so we thought. Our travel started out good. We began on the right path to the highest peak. To get there we had to climb one mountain before. We got to the peak of this mountain and took a small water break and appreciated the great view. After, we descended downward for a bit (this was the path that we had to take in order to get to the highest peak). On our way down we discovered some small pools of fresh water from the mountain (in order to get to this water we had to make our way off the path...which ended up being our mistake). It was here that we decided to take our lunch break and soak in some sun. After about 45 minutes we continued to make our march to the top. This is when we made our mistake. On our way back to the path, from the water, we tried to take a shortcut...by taking this shortcut we missed the part of the path that led upward to the highest peak on the mountain. Instead we ended up on a part of the path that took us to the bottom of the mountain. I was really looking forward to making it to the highest part of Bukhansan, but after getting to the bottom I was too tired and didn't want to go back up. This was my second time here (in Korea) having felt defeated after climbing a mountain (previous being on Jeju Island). I might make another trip to this mountain in my last 1.5 weeks here to get revenge, but we will have to see. That concludes this week. Thanks for reading.