Fieldwork week 5: graduation and the beach

The start of this week was pretty special, it was graduation week at UM and several members of the Institute I’m working in (IOES) graduated. Monday was PhD graduation and IOES had three graduates; a big cause for celebration when you consider a PhD can take up to seven years here. So Monday morning at about 11am several labs emptied and we gathered outside the main hall for the graduates to emerge.

The Universiti Malaya the oldest university in Malaysia and the Malay Sultan, as its Chancellor, attends the PhD candidate graduation. Unfortunately I only caught a quick glimpse as he sped past in a cavalcade of security. Graduation is a much more ostentatious affair compared to the UK, a small town of tents had been set up selling all manner of presents, mementos and food. The IOES girls could barely carry all the bouquets they received.

I also felt quite Malaysian, picking yam-ice over strawberry-ice as my cool down treat…

On Tuesday the celebrations continued with a department lunch, a nice chance for me to meet some of the staff I hadn’t yet had a chance to talk to. But it wasn’t all fun and games as I also had to ensure everything was ready for a trip to the field on Wednesday and Thursday. We went to Port Dickson which is a site a couple of hours drive from KL and somewhere I spent quite a bit of time last year gathering samples and taking measurements. I had hoped to find it relaxing to be staying here and out of the city…

…but it wasn’t the most successful trip we’ve ever had. Wednesday we searched, unsuccessfully, for seagrass and Thursday we went to collect seaweed and found the visibility so bad we were in the water for over an hour staring murkily through our snorkel masks and trying not to bash ourselves on the reef or step on coral. The tide was also against us, so everything was a constant rush to work against the incoming tide. We did find some seagrass in the end, and enough seaweed species to keep me busy in the lab for a while…

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One thought on “Fieldwork week 5: graduation and the beach

  1. Pingback: Fieldwork week 13: and it’s finished… | pipettes and paintbrushes

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