Monday, October 15, 2007

Day 43 – Back with the chimps

This will be just a short entry. Here at Save the Chimps (Alamogordo) I don’t have broadband access, so I’ll be dialing in. (I’m writing this offline for posting later.)

I enjoyed my luxurious room in Santa Rosa until almost 10AM. Nice breakfast, too. Then I set off for Alamogordo. Great driving. Wide open roads with very little traffic. Beautiful landscape most of the way. Many different shades of green, from gray-green to chartreuse to almost-black green. Lots of exposed rock. To the south the plateaus turned into mountains and the land seemed to dry out. To the west I could see a line of white, which I think was the edge of the White Sands National Monument (and nearby geography).

Arrived in Alamogordo before 2PM. I know my way around town from previous volunteer stints here, but I wasn’t sure where I would be entering town. No problem. As soon as I saw the pistachio stores, I knew where I was and quickly found my way to Save the Chimps.

I walked around a bit to see the chimps in the various buildings. Ran into a few of the staff I remember from previous visits. Then I helped briefly in the kitchen before driving back into town to stock up on food for the next few days.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing laundry. Lots of dirty blankets. No dryers, though. We hang the blankets on lines. Good exercise. Later in the day I’ll be helping in the kitchen making enrichment snacks.

My room this time is on the other end of the administration building form where I’ve stayed in the past. A little further from building 300 where chimps sometimes party all night. Maybe I’ll get to sleep through the night.

It’s hard to believe that seven years ago, on my previous sabbatical trip, I passed through Alamogordo and actually stopped here when it was the notorious Coulsten Foundation. Save the Chimps acquired the property and took custody of ~260 chimps a few years later. Now many of the chimps, who were being used in biomedical research, have been transferred to the Florida facility where they can live outside in the sun. The ones who are still here – about 150 -- are still housed in concrete and metal buildings, but they have sun porches and get much better care as they wait for their trip to Florida.


Lisa said...

Hello Gerry!(pronounced Jerry);-)
I enjoyed spending time with you at the conference. I think I'll order the slim lunch at Jason's, next time!
I stumbled upon this blog by sheer coincidence. I was surfing the web to check for any photos downloaded from the conference and I discovered your wonderful, descriptive travelogue. What fun it can be to live vicariously through your adventures. It sure can be a nice diversion from reading flat and grammatically incorrect students' essays!
I had a wonderful time this year. It's always sweet to see familiar faces and meet some new ones.
Thanks for sharing your travel story online. Maybe you should include bits of it in magazines (primatology or zoo-based literature).
Well, enjoy the rest of your journey and keep on writing!


Gerry L said...

Be sure to email me so I can send Patti R a note about your artwork.

Lisa said...

Hi Gerry!
I sent you an email at your Ape4Apes address.