Once again the sun is shining and it’s hot. My oddly colored shirt smells like woodsmoke, and I’m not sure where the smell came from exactly. Construction on campus A of AGU is full swing: they’re building an internal road for the university, which means that now there is gravel and curb construction underway.

Also, construction is progressing on a new classroom block. This means that the foundation is being laid at this point. However, the Mekong Delta has a very high water level, so foundations are quite different from the States. Building foundations here involve driving lots of eucalyptus trees into the sandy and wet soil. These trees don’t rot after long periods in water, so they are a cheaper method of getting a solid foundation in this particular area of the world. The process of driving them into the ground is by mounting some kind of a ram/scaffolding thing (I guess you can call it that) with a gasoline-powered engine on it. When the engine is given some throttle, it works its way down this frame while pushing the tree into the ground. The engines used for this never seem to have much in the way of an exhaust, which makes them very loud when they do the actual pushing work. Luckily my classrooms are on the other side of campus, or I’d be yelling most of the time in class just to be heard over the noise.

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