24 July 2009

Field school is over


No more students, no more having to enforce rules or try to find ways to get people to work. From here on out it's just Matt, the local workers we hire for whichever site we're working, and myself. This is going to be fantastic. I'm in Quito now, but not without a hiccup. We had arranged for two buses to pick us up from our digs up in Cangahua and the Hacienda and bring us to Quito, paid them part of their fee in advance, and were waiting for our 11:00 pick up, having packed and mentally prepared ourselves to leave. Around 10 or 10:15 I find out that the buses decided not to come. They said that if we paid them an extra $160, they'd find 2 more buses to come instead a couple hours later, and then they'd refund the first $100 on Tuesday. Almost everyone's gone by Tuesday, this doesn't work. We paid them to drive us, not to call us with 45 minutes to spare and say they wouldn't show up. So I called Anibal, the bus driver I know best, and asked him to stand by in case these jokers didn't come through. Sure enough, they didn't, but Anibal and I are pals, so he picked up the slack and called a friend of his with another bus and off we went. Now we're in Quito and I had a wonderfully hot shower and stayed in it until the hot water ran out. I haven't felt this good in weeks, and most of the dirt is out of my hands now. I get the feeling, though, that these hands won't be fully clean until a few weeks after I get back to the States. Small price to pay, I guess.

This week was pretty much entirely made up of closing everything down; we closed all of our units, finished all of our maps, and finished almost every single thing that needed done in the lab. I am fairly sure this is the least behind the lab has been in the 3 years I've been a part of this project. Well done.

Wednesday, Matt, Oscar, a couple others and myself went to the Chumillos community to get formal permission to dig on the fortress Quitoloma. The project has a long history with this community, so the meeting went well-- other meetings might be significantly more difficult. In exchange for letting us work there, the community wants us to stay at least several nights in their community, help them update security around the site (they've turned it into a tourist destination, selling tickets and handing out maps and whatnot), help with some other aesthetic improvements, and teach the local children some English. We will likely be able to do many, if not all, of these things, we have another meeting with them on Thursday to hash out the details. These stipulations, of course, are in addition to hiring community members to help with the excavation. I'll pass on the details of our negotiations once we define them.

I think that's about all there is to update about right now, I'm in Quito until Sunday when several of us will be taking a quick vacation to Baños, a city with hot springs and white water rafting and some other fun, mind-clearing activities. It will be exactly what I need before getting back to the grind stone.

Hope all's well, talk to you soon.

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