Michael Leiken's Blog (11)

The Caribbean, Tikal, Petén Itza, Flores, and more! Days 18-24, July 14, 2016

Wow! We did so much the last few days, this will either be a really long one or a medium one depending on how much detail I get into.

To start with last Saturday and Sunday, we mainly worked on assignments but some people (not me) went to Pana on Sunday for tourism and then in the afternoon they went to the Catholic Church in Santa Catarina to see the differences between here and the U.S.  I guess it was much much longer and also they mixed both the Spanish language and the local…


Added by Michael Leiken on July 14, 2016 at 11:33pm — No Comments

It was more than a coffee plantation: Day 17 Friday, July 8, 2016

Today, we went to Charley’s coffee plantation and home, which is on the other side of the mountain from Atitlan. Before going to Charley’s, we went to Crossroads and Mike gave us free coffee (which he gets from Charley).  We got there around 10:30 and we were greeted with a gated fence and a security guard with a shotgun, which isn’t as uncommon as you would think.  We went inside and met up with Charley’s wife and he came in a few minutes.  They started to show us around the property after…


Added by Michael Leiken on July 8, 2016 at 10:57pm — No Comments

Tul planting, a Wastewater Treatment plant, and rock skipping: Day 16 Thursday, July 7, 2016

Yesterday, we started the day early once again.  We all went out to the Quiscab and pulled a few small baby Tul to replant in the San Juan area.  We met Lujain and two stray dogs (who followed us the entire time we were in San Juan) at the dock and she took us along the shore to a spot where she organized a gathering of the local fisherman to dig a plot of land for the tul.  When we got there, Eliska and the head fisherman had a conversation about the lake in front of the whole group.  It…


Added by Michael Leiken on July 7, 2016 at 10:04pm — No Comments

Day 14: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 – Lake Tours and Volcanos

On Sunday, we spent the entire day touring the lake with Elisa, the AMSCLAE director, and her two masters advisors, Jean and his wife, who are from Sweden. We stopped at the different important ecological components around the lake including the two large tributaries (Rio San Francisco y Rio Quiscab), the raw sewage inputs from multiple pueblos and municipalities, and the water treatment area for San Lucas Pilas, which are laundry areas for people to wash their clothes.  We also stopped in…


Added by Michael Leiken on July 5, 2016 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Day 11: Saturday, July 2, 2016: Santiago and Soccer

We started the day counting coliforms and E. Coli, but then we got to go on an adventure. We first went to Pana, where we stopped at a coffee shop called Café Loco and it’s our professor’s favorite place anywhere in the world to get coffee (and she’s been to a lot of places).  After coffee, we took a boat across the lake to a large town called Santiago. In Santiago Jenise took us to this large market; merchants were lining the floor and stairs trying to sell things. It reminded me a little…


Added by Michael Leiken on July 2, 2016 at 8:25pm — No Comments

Day 10: Friday, July 1, 2016

Yesterday, we met with Alberto Rivera-Gutierrez.  You can’t categorize this man, who originated from Columbia, got a PhD and taught in America, and now has thousands of acres of a nature preserve in the Atitlan basin near Panahachel. Alberto is a brilliant man who has hundreds of ideas and has implemented many of them into his reserve and way of life.  When in his presence, you feel inspired by much that he says.  He is one of those people you just want to be around.  I am so glad that I had…


Added by Michael Leiken on July 1, 2016 at 8:58pm — No Comments

Day 8: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today we went on the lake. We did a wide variety of tests and experiments while on the boat today, including testing the water at different depths, using a succi disk to test transparency, collecting algae and cyanobacteria specimens, and collecting and measuring tul samples. The tests we ran on the water ranged from the temperature at a certain depth to the conductivity, oxygen percentage, and pH.  All of the water tests were mainly to show us how to perform the tests but they are all used…


Added by Michael Leiken on June 29, 2016 at 9:45pm — No Comments

Day 7: June 28, 2016

Today was mostly a recovery day, at least for me.  I had a bad night’s rest last night, so I was really tired today and took a nap in the afternoon.  Regardless of that, we still did a lot. We counted E. Coli in the plates after breakfast this morning, then we learned how to pipet for plating the day 3 set.  After that, we had a lecture on soils, which was actually pretty interesting.  Robert has taken a soils class (Soils 100) in Davis, so he told me about some of the labs that they did; I…


Added by Michael Leiken on June 28, 2016 at 8:14pm — No Comments

Day 6: Monday, June 27, 2016

I'm going to write a quick one today since I uploaded a lot of photos of the past couple of days today and I'm tired.

Today, we visited Antigua and Iximche. Antigua is a historic city that originated as a Spanish colony and stronghold. There are many ruins of churches and other buildings there and it is quite a beautiful city.  Eliska and Jenise had to work, so they stayed at a coffee shop with wifi and let us tour around on our own.  The five of us walked all over the city looking at…


Added by Michael Leiken on June 27, 2016 at 10:39pm — No Comments

Day 5: Sunday, June 26, 2016

Over the past couple of days we have had quite a lot of adventures. Yesterday, we hiked near the top of Santa Catarina and saw some agricultural land.  It was made up of many small plots for families to grow what they wanted.  It’s so cool how the pueblo is stacked up on itself; it has so much depth.  It goes up and up into the mountains and there are many more homes than you would expect at first glance.  In lecture, we learned about the different sections of lakes and the typical lake’s…


Added by Michael Leiken on June 26, 2016 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Day 3: Friday, June 24, 2016

I haven’t written a blog before so I will develop my writing as the trip moves forward.  Since this is my first journal, I will start from day one. The flights to Guatemala were easy, but it was a long day. I woke up at 4am to get to my flight in Reno, then had a 5 hour layover in Dallas Fort Worth airport. There are 5 different terminals there and you need to take a train to each one – I explored each one of them. In the afternoon I met up with two other students, Robert and Phillip, and we…


Added by Michael Leiken on June 24, 2016 at 5:54pm — No Comments


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