Leland did a great job of bringing everyone up to speed on our exploits, but I thought I’d share some breathtaking photos and add a few interesting things I gleaned while on the island of Lembata:
We didn’t really plan on putting a station in Baopukang, but impenetrable volcanic flows and severe country roads tend to be quite persuasive – especially when you’re pressed for time. We bargained for a station, but we got a spectacular view as well. This site had at once one of the most stunning back and front yards I’ve ever seen:
The back yard.
The front yard, with the active volcano Iliboleng on the right.
After a sweaty install, nothing quenches a fatigued scientist like the kiss of a fresh coconut. Lovingly hand-prepped with a machete, all you have to do is remember to breathe in between gulps:
Guzzling coconuts at the house of a man who worked for the local Camat.
Cashews abound on Lembata and I never imagined they looked like this. The part we Westerners assume to be native to Trader Joe’s is actually inedible in its raw form. The actual cashew “nut” grows upside down beneath a sweet but chalky tasting fruit that is usually fed to pigs (don’t worry, Leland and I ate one so y’all could know what they’re like). The nut is green and so hard I had to use wire cutters to gain access to its gooey and raw-smelling interior. Locals throw the raw nuts into a fire or over embers to prepare them for snacking purposes. I'm tempted to bring some back and experiment:
Beloved cashews at various stages of ripeness.
I snapped this last photo while Nova and Leland tried to canvass for our project’s support. Nova and Leland are both great teachers (though one has a distinct linguistic advantage around these parts…) but despite their best efforts the minds of these good people had already been made up by a negative experience with a mining company; thus no station was installed in this town but they couldn't stop us from remembering how beautiful it was. Here’s a shot of class in session:
Nova and Dr. Larry explaining that our project will benefit the region and doesn't target resources.