I arrived in Abidjan Sunday night after a lot of airplanes and many airplane meals. Rather than waste precious new books on an airplane (I've spent the past year building up my kindle's library), I slept and chatted on the first plane, and watched Mulan, Les Miserables, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower on the second. My plane was only two hours late, and - unlike last year - all my luggage arrived! For my year in Abidjan, I've got a camping bag full of clothes, a duffel bag filled mostly with Ziploc baggies for collecting monkey poop and food, and a nice new pair of rubber boots.
I'm currently on the patio of my room at the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifique in Abidjan listening to the call to prayer echo across the lake from the city. Abidjan would like to be a tropical rainforest again, if it had its way, but instead it gets to be a giant, crowded, humid city. It is the rainy season now. Last night and this morning the rain was really impressive. It's since cleared, but I'm glad I got an extra dry bag to keep my camera in!
I spent Monday getting logistical things taken care of in advance of heading for the forest. We'll leave on Wednesday rather than today because we've got a few more things to finish up here. Monday afternoon, we went to change some money and get groceries at a very fancy grocery store downtown. Not only is this grocery well stocked, but you can pay with a credit card! As well as some staples like rice, sardines, and lentils, I got some extravagances (in particular, Nutella, but the French kind without palm oil in it). I also got a *lot* of tea because I like drinking it in the mornings, and I like having tea for people when they come up to camp. I am also now the proud owner of an Ivorian cell phone, and the magical little doohickey which will give me internet access in the forest. And, most importantly, I got my research permit which will allow me entrance to the forest!
So I'll spend the rest of today finishing up some loose ends from school - I'm trying to finish a manuscript draft to give to my advisor when he heads back to Ohio tonight (he's been in the forest for the past few weeks), and I am working on coauthoring a paper with my friend Noah based on some data we've been collecting on forelimb use in several species of monkeys in Tai, so I need to finish up my section of it before he leaves Cote d'Ivoire in late July. But then I'll leave bright and early tomorrow morning for the place that really knows it's a rainforest!