Petri Dishes.

While our life here has slowed down substantially.  There are some conveniences I really miss.  Like Amazon for example.  Do you realize Amazon is new to Spain as of last fall?  And the choices of things (cosas) are rather slim pickings.  BUT there is Amazon UK.. however, there are some things you can’t have shipped from the UK because of weight or whatever (i.e. the vacuum cleaner I ordered).  Anyway, for us (like many of you)… it’s “that time of the year”.

It’s that time of the year when science projects are due.  In fact, not only one, but two!  As both kids have science projects due.  Emma, because of her affinity for animals, decided to do an experiment with her friend Jessica.  Their goal was to test to see if dogs really do have cleaner mouths than people.  But to broaden it even more, they wanted to throw in a rabbit, a hamster, a cat, and a pig in the park.  It seemed like a relatively easy project to embrace.  All we would need for the experiment would be prepared petri dishes and willing subjects.

While you can order petri dishes online in the US.. you cannot in Spain.  So while Doug was home (in the US) I put him on this task.. and he put my mom on the task.. and she was able to find petri kits at Hobby Lobby…

Only the $1.99 petri dish kits didn’t work.  The kit included a plastic dish (which if  you sterilize properly… i.e. putting in boiling water) melt.  And the agar (the key component of making the petri dish) didn’t dissolve as it should have.. so we ended up with a glumpy yellow mess.  So off I went to find petri dish kits in Spain.  Nothing on Amazon Spain.. nothing online locallly available… but I was able to find Agar (also used as a cooking ingredient) at the local El Corte Ingles (grocery/department store… picture Macy’s with Kroger in the basement).  Anyway, with our new Agar in hand, we mixed up our petri dish batch… and once again… nothing. It looked better, but nothing was growing after we swabbed all of the above listed animals.

Clearly our agar wasn’t working.. or perhaps my lack of ability to do anything that involves cooking or stirring was the problem… so I decided while I was at Owen’s doctor appointment to ask in my limited Spanish if the doctor by chance had any petri dishes I could purchase.  She didn’t, but happily wrote me a prescription for petri dishes and told me to take it to a nearby pharmacy.  Which I did.  The dishes would be ready “manana”.

So the next day I took the train to go pick them up…and they weren’t ready.  But they would be ready “manana”.  So the next day I went and they were closed (not open on Sundays).  The next day I went and sadly, they could’t get the dishes, but they did have agar I could purchase!

So I wrote the teacher a letter explaining our issue with our science fair project and she happily hooked the girls up with the head of the science department who had some agar that they could use (possibly different than the cooking agar?  I don’t know)… but that agar seems to be causing something nasty to grow in the petri dishes.  The only bad part is.. we started growing things in the dishes before we’d even sampled the animals a third time…which goes back to the sterilizing…  and so the saga continues.  Ugh!

 

 

 

 

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