Clams, Chinese Shops, and Collecting Flowers

The day started off with Liz and I getting up before everyone else in the house. We sat with coffee and peaches and waited for the rest to wake up. Breakfast was the same as yesterday and JUST as fantastic. Going back to food in America is going to be so hard, everything is so fresh here. After we cleaned breakfast up we went to check on our petri dishes to see if any of the bacteria had grown at all. We noticed that not much had changed, but the food coloring we used to paint on the agar had seeped into it and spread out. Also one type of white fungus was strating to grow. Marta told us that the white fungus would grow very well. When we were done examining our perti dishes, we went to Milfontes to get some groceries for the day. At the market, we picked up some clams, apricots, peaches, strawberries and a few other vegetables. The colors were so vibrant and everything just seemed more vivid than it does in the US. The fish had been caught that day, and some of them looked terrifying. We then went to a more general supermarket to get a couple more things, and Liz, Ellen and I picked up things to send home to our families. From the super market we headed further into town to the Chinese Shop. It’s basically a tiny Portugese Walmart. Very claustrophobic, but they have everything and anything there to buy. After getting some water shoes for our adventures later in the day, we went walking to find the post office. While Ellen, Liz and I went into the post office to mail our family things, the rest sat a a small coffee shop. Of course we had some espresso when we finaly came to join them. It’s surprisingly cheap here.  Two espressos, and a cappicinno was 2.50 euros. That would probably be around 6 or 7$ in America. After baking in the sun for like 20 minutes, Liz and I went up the street to find an ATM. The first bank we got to was closed, the hours said from 8:00-12:30 and 13:00-18:00. I found it funny how the entire bank closed for their lunch. Anyway, we ventured further and found another bank that was also closed. This bank however, had a card reader to enter, and I figured it was for the bank’s personal customers only, but when Liz swiped her card the door opened! We quickly got euros and headed back. All of us got into the car and drove to Casa Branca, which is by a river very closed to Marta’s house. Liz and Ellen searched the mud for clams while Manuel and I swam in the river. It was an amazing place, and it looked like all the mountains closed us in. The salt water was a bit shocking when some got into my mouth, but it was perfect to keep the clams in that we had just bought at the market. With the bag of clams, they sold us a bottle of salt water to keep them in, because they were still live. Since we stopped at the river, putting the clams in the big bottle of water was not a good idea, so we just stuck them in the river. The water was pretty warm but still kind of cold, so we stayed for only a couple hours. We drove back and had lunch at the house, which was leftovers from last night in fish broth with bread and herbs. Again, delicious. Coffee and cookies followed this and Marta began to explain our next assignment. She told us to go out and collect plants and flowers to press in our notebooks. However, we weren’t supposed to just gather random samples, but we had to come up with a specific criteria to connect all of them. Liz collected a rainbow of colors to make a gradient, Ellen collected micro flowers, and I wasn’t sure what to do, so I went out and gathered things randomly at first. I soon became interested in holes in leaves. The negative space and the fact that most of the holes were caused by insects was an interesting concept to follow. However I soon became bored with the green, and tried collecting small plants that grow between the sidewalk cracks. I also becaame bored with that, and picked some flowers that looked pretty. When we got back we began to press them in our notebooks, which was kind of hard because none of us had pressed flowers before. As I was pressing them I decided to put all three of my categories in my book and just separate them because I wanted to keep all of them. I sat on my book to press them, but later put books on top of my notebook. Manuel came into the barn with us to give us our next lesson on memes, and temes, which was pretty mind blowing. I always thought of memes as those stupid pictures that circulate the internet, but everything is a meme. Anything that can be copied, from styles of art to piercing your ears. Anything. We talked about certain styles and techniques that were copied, and also subjects that are memes in the art world. Our lesson was cut a bit short because we were off to see a horse show at a realative of Marta’s farm. It was magnificent to see the horse trot to music. After the show and going to see the other horses and chickens, we came back to the house and now here I am writing this post before dinner. We will probably continue our lesson after dinner and we will learn about ecoystem and art tomorrow. Hopefully our bacteria has grown a little bit. My final post will be all of the pictures I took this week.