In the beginning of the week we started our frog research. During the day, Kyle, Fritz, and I split up with the graduate students and searched the three forests for frogs. This consisted of searching the ground, trees, and homemade pcp pipes that served as a sort of shelter for the tree frogs (so far there has been no luck with the pipes). Mi yeon and I had no luck with catching any frogs during the daytime... but our work was continued throughout the night. From about 8pm to 3am (the time when the frogs come out and the males start their mating calls) we searched the rice paddies around our home. In preparation for searching for the frogs we dressed in clothing that covered our whole body, including the face with a bandana because of the excess amount of bugs at night. I was also equipped with a headlight and a caliper for measuring the frogs. What we did was search the banks of the rice paddies carefully scanning for the frogs. I would usually be on the bank of the paddies while Mi yeon was usually inside the paddies moving along the bank. After finding the frogs we would capture them and I would measure their length from mouth to the back of their spine using the caliper. I would then hand the frog off to Mi yeon so she could take pictures of the frog to capture their lateral line (which is on the side of the body and is different for each frog, making it easy for us to identify each) and the pattern on its back. Then we would release the frog back to its original location. Throughout the night we caught many frogs; between the four teams we had caught hundreds of frogs. After searching the paddies (which ended at about 1 am) we came back to our house and took a quick break before heading to the forest to search for more frogs. The reason for searching the forest is because they move their for safety from predators when not trying to mate. During the night we had better luck catching the frogs. Most of the frogs in the forest were female since the males do the calling in the paddies. After the forest we headed home and finally got some rest for the next day. On our second day in the field we only searched the paddies for about 3.5 hours and called it a day around midnight.
The next morning we took all of the data from the two nights of field work (data included the time of capture, location, male or female, pictures, etc.) and put it into an excel file and named all of the pictures taken. Between Kyle, Fritz and I it took us about 14 hours with a few short breaks in between. Lets just say my fingers and eyes were a little tired afterwards, but it was finally the weekend.
On saturday the three of us decided that we would like to see the ocean, or so we thought. We didn't really leave with much direction decided that we could figure it out on our own. This ended up being a mistake because we never made it to the beach. We are good with the subway system, but the busses are another story. After exiting the subway station at Gimpo Int'l Airport (the closest spot that we saw near the ocean) we had no idea which busses would take us where, and none of us had wifi making it very difficult to see our location. It also doesn't help that we don't speak Korean... Anyways long story short we hopped on a random bus that appeared to be going in the direction towards the beach but in the end it took too many turns and we ended up in the middle of nowhere. What we ended up doing was walking back for a couple hours using the compass on our phones to find the subway station that we came from. After that we just went home; however this wasn't a simple task either. We tried a different way home to save some time by taking the subway (we usually take a bus for the last hour home) to Paju and then we got on a different bus than what we are familiar with. The busses we ended up taking never brought us close to our house so we ended up getting back on the subway to get to a place where we know the busses would take us home. To make it short, we didn't get back home till midnight... I'm just glad we got back. We didn't accomplish much that day but we did have an adventure.
Sunday was a day full of walking. We wanted to stick close to our home in Paju after the previous day so we decided to walk to the Paju outlet mall, which was supposed to be about an hour long walk; however, we ended up taking a wrong turn and walked a couple miles out of the way... Thankfully we found some random wifi and connected to the maps on our phones and found where our navigation was and started heading towards the mall. When we got to the mall I was excited because I figured that I could buy some cheap things (since it's an outlet mall), but apparently their outlet mall is more expensive than the original prices in the stores of America (granted it was the Paju Premium outlet mall). In the end I ended up buying a cheap pair of nike sweatpants (everything else was just ridiculously high) and headed back home. Overall, the weekend was spent walking around trying to figure out where we were. Next time we will be more prepared and know exactly what busses to take so we can actually get somewhere...
Monday was the start of another work week. We met the graduate students in the lab at Ewha university where they showed us how to crop the photos for getting a better look at the lateral lines of the frogs so we can match them afterwards. Recordings have also been taken from multiple locations around the fields, which we will have to go over throughout the week when we have some time. We also discussed new methods that could be put in place of the pipes since they haven't been working. One goal of the study is to see where the frogs go when they aren't in the rice paddies and the pipes aren't producing so we are trying to come up with alternative ways. The next week is going to consist of a lot of work so stay posted.
Random Frog Pics
Random Photos from our adventure on Sat.
After our arrival, we checked into a small hostel called "24 Guest House" where we stayed for 3 nights. The room was about the size of a dorm room and was filled with three beds, a fridge, microwave, and a bathroom that is very different from the american style (there was no separate space for showering... just a shower handle connected to the sink). The time difference in Korea is 14 hours, so my sleep schedule has been a little off. On our first full day here, leading professor of our studies, Dr. Yikweon Jang took us on a tour around Ewha University campus and lab stations to show us where work could be completed on campus if needed. Ewha University is an all women campus with about 25,000 students. The campus is spread out and has many things, including a movie theater. On my second day here we met with the graduate students Jun Young, Miyeon, Yoojin, and Ye Eun who we will be working with over the next three months on our frog research (which starts 6/4). They all can understand and speak english, making it very helpful because I don't know any Korean yet; however, I plan on learning throughout the summer. On the next day we took a tour of Seoul with our professor Hangkyo Lim. There was so much to see that I will let the pictures below do the describing. After the tour, we were taken to the house that we will be staying at for the next three months while completing our research. The house is located in the city of Paju and has two bedrooms (which is an improvement from our small hostel), a living room, single bathroom, and a kitchen. There are also wild cats and dogs that live around us (we might be able to catch one and make it a house pet... kind of kidding). Even though the house is surrounded by more land and rice paddies, it is just a couple miles from the large cities in Korea.
The following day we were supposed to meet up with Christina, Katie, and professor Lim at the Zoo, but we encountered a little problem with the buses. It's very difficult trying to figure out which buses go to which locations when you don't speak the language so we ended up switching buses three times before finally getting it right, but we were 2.5 hours late of schedule, making us late to the zoo. Because of this we didn't get to tour the zoo because the girls were done with their tour when we finally arrived. This means we will have to visit the zoo later in the summer. After the zoo we toured Gangnam district. This city was a lot more modern and must be where all of the wealthy people live because it seemed like the cheapest car was a mercedes. The cities here are filled with seas of people and constant traffic (It's unbelievable).
On the next day, Kyle, Fritz, and I explored the mountains in Korea (pictures will do the justice). The hiking of Bukhansan National Park was tiring but well worth it to see the natural beauty in Korea. As far as culture goes in the country, the people seem to be very nice; however, I have experienced a lot of staring (they have won the staring battles so far). There is a lot more english here than I expected too (a good amount of the signs have the translation for english which helps). Also, the people do not sleep here. People are out shopping, etc. until 3 am doing something. So far I have experienced a lot of stuff in a little amount of time so it has all blended together. There is a lot more to come...
Well the 13 hour plane ride was not fun. The longest I've been on a plane is about 3.5 hours, so this was very different/difficult for me. I originally thought that an international flight would provide the passengers with more leg room, however this was not the case. We were allowed minimal mobility, which made the trip very long. One of the positives however was that there were little screens on the back of each seat that provided us with movies, tv shows, games, and a flight tracker. This made the plane ride go a little smoother, but I found myself continuously looking at the flight tracker. I also want to mention that the food on the plane... well it was airplane food. There wasn't a better feeling then when the plane touched land. We had finally made it to South Korea. From the beginning of arrival (at the airport) I could see a difference between South Korea and the United States. The police force in South Korea does not carry armed weapons; however, in the airport the officers were carrying large semi-automatic weapons. This was a little shocking but I didn't care because I had finally made it to my home for the next three months!
Even though I have been preparing for this trip since the beginning of January this year, I saved most of my packing for today... I've become a master of procrastination. In the beginning of my packing I used a suitcase and found that it was too small so I found another one in my attic that was a little bigger. However, after filling up the new suitcase and weighing it out, it was 5 pounds over the weight limit of 50. Of course I didn't want to remove any of my items, so the next thing to do was to switch over from a heavy suitcase, to a large duffle bag (the green one above). This allowed me the same amount of space as a suitcase and was also light enough to be under the weight limit. The only drawback to this is that I won't be able to roll my luggage around... looks like i'll get a little work out in. The rest of my night includes watching some Korean documentaries and getting mentally prepared for the trip. Im hoping that I will be able to get some good sleep tonight before the 15 hours in plane rides, but I don't know if that will be happening with all of the excitement. Next stop South Korea!!!