jen yu: argentina - june 1998

argentina - june 1998

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buenos aires, mendoza, san juan, jachal
4 weeks
read about the trip
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I was in Argentina for 4 weeks in the summer of 1998 as a field assistant. I had never been in the field. I had never been outside of the US except to Canada. I didn't speak Spanish and I was flying to Buenos Aires by myself to meet with two American colleagues I had never seen or spoken to before. As was typical of travel in Ithaca, my flight to La Guardia was cancelled and I piled into a shuttle van to Syracuse so I wouldn't miss my connection to Miami. I was nervous about my trip. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what I was doing. I pressed my forehead against the van window and inhaled damp air through the crack. Jeremy appeared on the other side of the glass. He said everything would be okay. I nodded. I was so choked with anxiety, I thought I was going to cry. He reached two fingers up through the window gap and I squeezed his fingers with two of mine. The van began to move and he stepped back and waved.

I made it to Buenos Aires, bypassing my American colleagues somehow for 2 hours in the airport until our taxi driver noticed me and pointed to a sign that had my name on it. I finally met Becky and her advisor, Bob. Becky and I hit it off immediately. She had the equivalent of Spanish One under her belt and from that point on, La Gringa and La China were a team. We sorted through heaps of gear, loaded the truck (La Burrita), and then I drove. I drove with Becky for company through the insane streets of Buenos Aires into the country for 14 hours to Mendoza on Coke and Skittles. We arrived at the motel by 3 am and crashed. Next morning we met with my Cornell friends, Ben and Matt. And the four of us headed into the field - el campo.

At the end of the trip, I spent a couple of days on my own in Mendoza before flying over the Andes to Chile. In hindsight, this was the best field season I ever had. It wasn't my project, so there was a lot less stress. Ben is great to work with and he even quizzed me on some structural geology in the field. I got to see my first real fault, fell in love with the southern hemisphere night sky, talked interferometry and seismology with Becky by the fire for two nights in a row, enjoyed the hospitality of dozens of wonderful Argentines... Ben even orchestrated getting us into the YPF kitchen with the staff one night so I could bake cookies. I'd go back.

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