Whether it’s the nature of fieldwork in general or the nature of fieldwork in Australia, things that should be simple end up as an adventure.
Let me give you some examples.
The task that should have been simple: grocery shopping. Every week, we go on a shopping marathon to buy food for six for a week. We throw grocery bags in the back of the truck (named Matilda), visit three different stores, since each has better prices for different types of food, and try to feed ourselves properly on a field budget. The complicated process can be attributed to the nature of fieldwork and generally having to rely on a grant. But the creatures of Australia make it more of an adventure. The other week, we opened the back of the truck to throw in the grocery bags, and instead found that a colony of ants had taken over our vehicle.
Since it would be unwise to put groceries in the middle of an ant colony, we had to get rid of them before beginning the grocery-shopping marathon. We drove slightly away from our cottage and tried to sweep them out, but that was highly ineffective. We decided to take Matilda into town and buy some ant spray, only to discover that Matilda no longer wanted to start. Eventually we restarted the car and make it into town, but it took several days to get rid of the ants. We had to carry groceries (for six people with large appetites) on our laps in the car. [Read more…]