5/28/2016 – Han Yang

Last Day

Today, May 28th, is officially the last day of our lionfish program. After our last sight of the cabin we have been staying for the whole week and the hill we climbed up as work out every day, we loaded our luggage and supplies to the van. It had contributed so much to our trip in St. Croix in providing transportation, temporary storage, fitting room, and even sacrificed its windshield in order to protect us from the rainforest attack. Today is its last stand. It was a pity that the nice pastries store we have been visiting is closed today but we found an alternative for our breakfast before we headed to our morning drink local culture learning trip at the rum distillery.

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Of course we will miss you, the lovely cabin and the bearing van…

The distillery trip introduced us to the process of rum making. Here used to be a sugar cane plantation and the mill standing there proved the history of the site. We walked by the tanks for distilling and fermenting. The smell of alcohol was just like any other alcohol but the smell of fermenting was so impressive that everyone passed the tanks as fast as they could. Outside of the workshop, we saw the molasses flow out slowly from a truck that looks like still. Encouraged by our tour guide, we all got the prospective sweet taste of rum using our fingers and it was great. The aging of rum in barrels would take up to 12 years and the life expectancy for each barrel is 36 years which means reuse of three rounds. As time passes by the rum gets darker and smaller in volume.

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Basically how rum is made…

The finished product is filled in truck and it will take a few more steps in transportation before it is finally labeled in Kentucky. I guess this is the end of the story. We also tried a few rum samples and of course that small amount of drinking happened in a proper manner-proper for a group that is going to do more survey in the airport right after this.

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Comparing to our surveying in airport today, the close of the pastries can be called as lucky since we found a substitute. We went to the airport trying to grab a few more surveys with tourists to make our minimum-one-hundred goal. After the work in Christiansted for the previous couple of days, we were already really close to one hundred, which is a limit for the result to be statistically meaningful. But unfortunately, either there weren’t a lot flights this morning or the passengers do not have checked bags, we only succeeded in interviewing two tourists before we knew that no more flights will come in the morning. Therefore we gave up at about 95 to 100 and left the airport to have lunch.

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That food truck is awesome!

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Maybe I just should not post the photos of the food but it was great. Everyone enjoyed their lunch. Actually, after staying together for the whole week, we have really learned to work like a team. Cooperate and win as a team but not as a person-these may sound like tedious and boring but only when experienced together do we feel it. Our lionfish t-shirt informs others that we are a team but now we know and feel we are a team by heart, or maybe also by wearing the same without communication.

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We wear the same t-shirts, use the same water bottles, eat the same thing, we are twins!

After the tedious checking in process, we are finally here, waiting for our flight to finish our field research in St. Croix. We decided to spend the last one or two hours here in a meaningful way, like a coding party. Since we are really here for researching, this is the only party we had. That is also the last finishing up part we can contribute to the lionfish research project at this moment.

han y 12 Be serious! We are here to do research! But this party we cannot miss…

Everyone is happy and excited. Therefore, we were filled with the feeling of accomplishment when we had people asking us “how is your survey going” in the airport and keep meeting people who had met during our surveying. Meeting that gentleman in the photo below is actually the fifth time, literally every day after he took a survey on 24th. Again, this is a small island and we shall keep that in mind and behave ourselves. Hopefully so far we have built a good reputation as “the lionfish group”.

han y 13 “That’s not nice.””Well, I never said I’m a nice guy!”

Finally, say good bye to our tiny and lovely airport. “The End” for our field trip. But hey, uur field research is just another start for the lionfish project! Please keep paying attention to further updates!

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