It’s not every day that you can conduct surveys on a small private island. Outside the main island of St. Croix, just a 20 second boat ride from the Christiansted Boardwalk (known to us experienced surveyors as simply CUB), this small island is actually a hotel with a public beach. However, before I continue anything else. TODAY IS HAN’S BIRTHDAY. BIG 2-1!!! We now know how to say Happy Birthday in Mandarin生日快乐! or Shēngrì kuàilè! After the initial happy birthdays, we began our relatively early trek to Christiansted. After the customary stop at The Pastry Hut TM, home the amazing donuts and turnovers, (not their real saying but maybe it’s a good idea?), we set out on the road. Although we got caught on the main road with a lot of traffic, we made it to Christiansted around 9. Once there we split into two groups. Half of us including Paige, Molly, Jeff, myself (Jakob) were sent to the island with Kate, while the other half of Jason, Katelyn, Han and Meg were sent to the Christiansted Boardwalk to intercept unaware tourists going on their scuba trips. Tourists actually walked up to us at first to ask what we were doing. However it soon became slow so Paige and Jeff were sent back to the mainland to try to interview people at the boardwalk. Ironically, and I think due partly to birthday luck, Han got by far the most of the day with 9 interviews in a few hours! What everyone seemed to really enjoy was the 30-minute break to do some shopping for people back home. The break and opportunity to shop reminded us of everyone back home that we have left for a short period of time and haven’t gotten to talk much to. However, Molly and I during our break still got to talk about our work to the Purple Papaya shopkeepers, who asked us about our sweet-looking shirts. After we had filled in about how lionfish were safe to eat, they responded with saying that “Nemo’s mom was eaten by lionfish, and if it tastes good, “we will eat that shit any day.” It was a welcome endorsement from the locals, and reminded me of what we are trying to accomplish.
The lunch we had today seemed to draw rave reviews from everyone except Kate, simply because she had too small of a plate for the size of her salad. (pictured below) Everything we had from Rum Runners was in big portions, with arguably the nicest bathrooms in St. Croix (also a big shout out to Cost-U-Less bathrooms, which scored very highly on my test) A funny moment occurred when they brought out the food. They came out to Jeff face down asleep on the table. Unfortunately I only got the picture right after he woke up, but smiles were all around. The good news about the day was that we were able to get a good amount of tourist surveys today! Hopefully we will get more tomorrow to round up a successful trip. Most tourists were very willing to talk to us and to help out “poor college students’ to quote one couple from Maine. While this “off “season for St. Croix hurts us in regards to the number of tourists, many of us can see why a good amount of people from the mainland come and move here. It’s relaxing, unknown, and relatively few people (at least why we are here). The most interesting point that I have come across is how willing the people here are when it comes to taking surveys. It seems that back at Emory, people go out of their way to stay away from these surveyors. I have been one of these avoiders before, and being on the other side opened my eyes a little bit. It doesn’t take very much to answer 10 minutes worth of questions, and it could mean a ton to the surveyor’s research. I think that is the best example in terms of how this trip has changed me. We have gotten so used to the surveys that I think most of us could say nearly the whole thing memorized. As I write part of this blog post we are currently coding (picture) at Kate and Paulita’s place, which is a welcome respite from the heat. Han’s birthday dinner comprised of the chicken and rice and jonny cakes we had gotten earlier in the week, although this time I thought it was significantly better, especially the rice and lentils. We ended the night with a lemon pound cake and blueberries that had been made by Kate, which was delicious. Overall from today, I think there are a higher percentage of tourists that are saying yes to our surveys than the locals. I thought nearly no tourists would take part, since they are used to people trying to get them to take surveys and avoid people with clipboards. Combine that with my thoughts about tourists not wanting to take surveys and waste time on their vacation, and I believed we were doomed. However, we have been moving pretty steadily and hopefully we finish them up.
While it is certainly tiring work being in the direct sun in 95-degree weather for up to 7 hours a day, (as you can tell by the candid pictures of catching up on rest whenever possible) this group remains positive and fun. We could certainly use some views or comments on this blog to help motivate us for a final push of tourist surveying and the dreaded coding.
Kate’s extra plate
He woke up!
Kill them all (the lionfish!)
Not a bad mix
Ride over to the island w/Jeff
Start of the day