Today was official IRRI orientation for all new interns, scholars, and trainees that have arrived in the past couple weeks. The six of us from IWU were joined by newcomers from Arizona, India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Ireland, and here in the Philippines.
We spent 3 hours this morning in the fields planting an entire hectare of rice, getting very muddy in the process. After breaking for lunch, we got a tour of different buildings and services around the IRRI campus. After the second stop (the Safety and Security office), I stayed a minute after the presentation to ask a question, and the bus carrying everyone around just left without me. I called all 5 of the other IWU students twice, to no avail. Finally, about 30 minutes later, I got a hold of the schedule and was able to join the orientation at the next destination. No one had even noticed I was missing until I walked in more than 20 minutes late to the presentation. Our orientation leader was apologetic for leaving me behind, but we all learned to count heads before the bus takes off.
After orientation, I met up with Ate Lea to purchase what she says is the best cake in Los Banos. The famous chocolate cake from Mer-Nel’s was pretty fantastic, shared among the 6 IWU interns and tomorrow will be shared with my lab group. If you ever find yourself in Los Banos and in neeed of chocolate cake, I recommend Mer-Nel’s.