04 October, 2009

Dispatches from the Field #1

After some internetless time I found some way to access it. The connection is horribly bad, so no pictures unless necesarry. Some stories about my Diplom degree fieldwork. 

Getting there and first impressions

Day 1:

Having spent the last two days packing everything that I might possible need I left home around lunch time. The traffic on the highways was a disaster and one construction site followed the other. I only arrived around 7pm at my half-way stop in Hessen. The pension was nothing special, actually the room was stinking terribly like cigarette smoke and it was awfully noisy. I don't think I slept more than 3 to 4 hours till the next morning. Luckily I did manage to get a nice Tagliatelle a la Pirata at a local restaurant. I didn't feel like eating in the pension.

Day 2:

Construction sites the 2nd day. Today also accompanied by traffic jams for a long way! Drinking awfully much Cola to fight my sleepiness I arrived in Bad Krozingen, a nice thermal bath, around 5pm. Here I spent the night in a, this time, very nice pension. Too bad I had no time for vacation!

Day 3:

Not entirely rested I met the quarry manager and the chief geologist of the company I am doing my thesis at. After an organisational meeting and talking about how to drive we took-off and drove some 90km south-west to the southern most end of Alsace. On the road we found out that the French don't understand the same under "Fast Food" as we do. The Kebab took forever. But it gave us time to talk. After having arrived on the site of interest we took a short hike to the next outcrop, a former quarry, and discussed some of the work that would be ahead of me. I took a short walk after that to see some more of my work area and then drove to my room. It's very nice by the way. Sadly, very bad WLAN internet and only three TV channels - all French! The shopping tour in the local supermarket also made me realise that I am very out of place here with my virtually non-existing French language skills. Feels very embarassing when I can't even ask what they are selling at the meat, cheese or fish stand. Very exhausted I fall to sleep in my bed later on. Finally a really good night!

Day 4:

I drove to an active quarry to ask the owner for permission to access it to do my stuff there. He ain't there. Need to come back on Monday. Good the guy at the door also spoke Alsatian dialect - something inbetween French and Swiss-German. Then I drove horribly long till I found a parking place for todays checking-out of the field. The hill is very steep! Impossible to walk lines. Will just follow the forest tracks and check if the geologic map from....very, very old...matches reality somehow, as agreed with my supervisor. Then I will pick sites for profiling and sampling. Today I already found two or three potential sites. One is small and the other a German bunker from WW 1 that has been built into an artificially extended cave. Carrying the flashlight and helmet all day came in very handy. First impression: Very confused. Too much vegetation. Worse than in the Amazonas. Sigh. Did I mention this hill is a huge, overturned fold that has consecutively been faulted, up- and down-lifted? It has, well better said had, a stone age fort on top. Together with the WW 1 bunker all kinds of imaginable rocks now all lay happily united and scattered all over the hill. The steep slopes do the rest to spread float to every possible and impossible corner. Did I volunteer for this????


Silver Fox said...

It sounds like you've made a very good start in such little time, even if the hill is impossible! Will your English help in places that German won't?

Lost Geologist said...

So far I seem to be the only person here who understands english. Sadly. So if I meet someone I must make myself understood with some words of French and then hope they speak Alsatian dialect. Feels so embarassing, I know 4 languages well and none helps here. Haha.