Courtesy of Jim Anderson

From: Dr. Cynthia Twohy
Arica Airport, Chile, November 8, 2008

Mobile Offices: Anywhere, Anytime

When you’re working “in the field”, or “in the desert” which might be more appropriate here, you don’t have the comforts of home. That includes a nice office, with good lighting, a reliable Internet connection, and easy access to the coffee house next door. Instead, you work when and where you can. Here, Steve Howell and I look at data on his laptop after a flight. That old pickup truck is our rental car. It has gotten dirtier and dirtier since we arrived. We clean the windshield so we can see out to drive, but that’s about it. Cleaning the car is a waste of time because of all the dust and the continual wind here—it would just be filthy again the next day!

We have daily planning meetings in the Operation Center (“Ops Center” for short), which is a big conference room at the hotel where most of us are staying. Some people are at the Ops Center all day, while others work out at the airplane or in their hotel room when not flying. Some people have even set up miniature laboratories in their hotel room to analyze samples they have collected! I often wonder what the maids think when they come to clean. We aren’t the typical tourists, that’s for sure!

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