The 14 members of the JBL expedition and research team have set off to the other end of the world. Leaving Frankfurt (departure 07:50 a.m.) via London (departure 09:45 a.m.) and landing at Los Angeles (arrival 11:10 a.m.) they have already completed two flights and 13 hours of flying and started their first leg.
Once they had arrived in LA the group collected their suitcases and met at the exit. It turned out that Nele’s suitcase was missing. But no problem – the suitcase arrived that night and was handed over. But it was Andreas who attracted the local authorities’ attention. They frisked him from head to toe. Surely he hadn’t packed his bush knife? No, it was his 16 JBL expedition shirts that they were interested in (he was wearing one of them already). They were so stylish that they thought he was planning to sell them there (could there be a market in the USA for JBL merchandising?).
A few minutes later our number was complete again and the team was taken by bus to the harbour. Just a minute. That doesn’t look like our harbour. And yes, the bus driver had made a mistake and dropped us off at Long Beach, the second largest harbour in the USA. And so we were forced to quickly find new accommodation and to reschedule our transfer to the Catalina Island ferry, due 06:15 a.m. the next morning. Although the group was supposed to arrive on Catalina Island that same evening, the 2-3 hour city tour of Los Angeles (which lasted until 11 p.m.), provided a nice, cultural diversion, along with our alternative accommodation on the Queen Mary, which was currently mooring in Long Beach Harbor.
You can always reckon with the unexpected when you go on a research expedition, but a group can cope with this with a little bit of humour and sensitivity. Our group is cheerful, if tired, and looking forward to our first real day of research. We’ll tell you all about it!