Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).
09 January 2007
Guatamala Day 7
The alarm went off at 215 and we decided to wait until 4. at 4 a woke up and went out to check the traps. I got some beetles, a few hymenoptera, and a couple other random things. I also grabbed a chrysopid on my way back to the room off the guys room wall. I was just dosing off when I heard a rustling on the shelf. It then touched one of the malaise trap jars so I got worried that whatever it was would knock down one of the jars that was cracked open to let the alchol evaporate out of the worrlpack. So I pulled my bioquip light out of my pocket and flashed it over there. I saw nothing but figured it was probably a mouse. We had been talking about them at dinner yesterday and dave had told us about putting on a pair of shorts in iraq and discovering they were inhabited by a mouse. He said that was a rather unpleasant surprise. I dozed off again and this time woke to the mouse landing on my head. It froze and I started to reach for my flashlight when it jumped off and onto the bed. It ran around a bit and I went back to sleep as far under the covers as i could since the mouse was still scurying around on the bed. Good times. I woke up again at 715, quickly got ready and then AMC and I went to pull down traps. Jose had already taken the one near the light sheet down so we set off for the far ones. We pulled pan traps first- which were pretty empty then moved onto the farthest malaise trap. It too was pretty empty. I think between the rain and how cold it had been up there over the last couple days stuff just wasn’t flying. We walked back to the middle trap to discover jose had finished taking down the light trap and so moved onto the malaise. We got there just as he finished up so the 3 of us walked back to the hotel. He went to tell the owner we wanted breakfast while AMC and I packed up the traps and she brought down our luggage. Breakfast was ready at 840 or so and we all ate along with the random Canadian who was staying at the hotel also and had hung out at the lights with us the night before. Jose went to get me a citrus punch juice deal and remembering my struggle with it yesterday that finally culminated with me using my leatherman pliers to open the juice opened the top for me. I then managed to almost pour it all over the table since it didn’t fit all into the glass at one time (I almost did it yesterday also). JRJ showed up and ordered one also and joses like lets see if he screws it up also. So we all watched him open it with no problem and pour it without almost spilling. Im like guess they teach you that during your masters. JRJ had no clue what we were talking about and didn’t seem really happy about it. AMCs like were having fun at TACs expense not his and then jose explained what we were watching for. JRJ though we were crazy. After breakfast we loaded up the truck and waited for jrj and dave to finish packing. As usual the guys were holding up progress. We finally got on the road around 10 I guess after watching amc and then jrj try and shake this huge tree that was full of chryosmelids. After that was unsuccessful jrj started throwing sticks up until one came straight down and hit joses truck. Luckily it was mostly rotten so pretty much exploded on impact. I slept a little on the drive down then just looked out the window. Noone was really talking much and jose had the music down pretty low. We stopped at a stream for a little bit of collecting. I got a myrmilion sweeping a low bush along with a bunch of eveniids. There were 2 streams and then a mud track to one side and I just went up and down the grass along the track. Jose found some huge flowers- the largest in the new world and pulled them off the bush to show me. They smell pretty bad and attract a lot of flies. They are sorta s shaped so we broke open the lower s part to see what was trapped in there. Only culicids, although shortly after a calliphorid landed on one but flew off before I could grab it these flowers were close to a foot long and he said they were pretty small compared to the ones that grow in the wet forest. Next stop was a gas station to get dave a pepsi. He hadn’t had one in 24 hrs and was starting to get sick. I got some m&ms. As usual we were waiting on jrj to get his act together and AMC decided we should name the trip Donde estas Josh? Dave and Jose liked the idea and daves like we should make shirts – Guatemala 2007 with the slogan on them. JRJ showed back up and joses like we voted while you were gone and have named the trip Donde estas Josh? JRJ though that was rather amusing but I don’t think he realized how true it was. Jose got a diet coke and jrj made a comment about someone else drinking coke (since everyone else was pepsi drinkers or non caffeine drinkers) and joses like who else drinks cokes. I normally get them but didn’t get anything to drink this stop so jrjs like therese drinks them. And I made a comment to AMC about me and jose just being drinking buddies between the coke and the beer. We decided to make one more stop to collect on a stream in a very dry area. We turned off the main road and drove for 20 min or so trying to get access to this stream. Jose passed the bridge we were suppose to cross and there wasn’t a spot to turn around for quite a ways down the road so we got to see a bit more country than planned. This area was super dry- looked like it would be a good place to light trap since it was fairly open. We finally made it to the stream and started sweeping. I got some cool bugs including leafhoppers, a cool ode with pink wings, and some leps. While we were waiting on jrj as is tradition jose and I were talking about trucks. I want to put cargo tie downs on mine like hes got ang a cage thatll go over the luggage and can be locked so I don’t have to worry about it while im going on trips. He was telling me about a collector thas modified his 250 to basicly live in and has driven allthe way to argentina in it. That sounds like a good time. Jose wants to get a rack that goes over the cab to put nets and that sort of thing on. Once everyone was gathered we loaded up and drove to the next town and found a pharmacy to buy alchohl since dave needed a little more. While we were there we parked under a tree that was raining flowers. There was a guy standing there trying to sweep them up but they were falling faster than he could sweep. It was rather amusing. Then we drove to Guatemala city. Theyre doing construction to widen the road to 2 lanes in each direction for the stretch coming into the city. In the city we wove around for quite a while before finally making it to jacks. His house is the last on the street (it bascily dead ends into his gate) and he had 4 black labs that ran up to the gate. Jose got out to find the key to let us in and the house boy showed up and opened the gate and watched the dogs while we drove in. AMC and I got the room with bunkbeds since we figured we didnt mind living together for a month whats one more day while dave and jrj each have their own room. We unloaded all our gear and got it to the rooms. Then the 5 of us stood around talking. The dogs showed up with rocks in their mouths and jose got one and threw it. They all took off and after 5 min or so brough back the same rock- impressive since jose threw it down a pretty steep slope and they had to run in the opposite direction first before making it to the slope. We played with the dogs for a while then jose said hed come get us for lunch tomorrow from the university. The 4 of use kept playing with the dogs then went all looked at everyones room. After a while me and AMC decided to hang our traps up to dry so went back upstairs. Me and AMC then went to explore the property and all the dogs followed. Amcs taked to calling them fatso, number 2 (the other fat one), big one, and the other one. We kept throwing rocks and made our way down to the stream that was along the boarder. We then turned up and headed along the fence back to the top. AMC was making all the descisions since I like watching her make them and we ended up along the road we drove in on past the house. So she followed the fence which was a spot about 6 in wide. So there were me, her, and the 4 dogs all in a line. We made it back without falling (good since it was a 6-10 ft fall) and then threw rocks for the dogs somemore. Amc was worried about hitting jrj with the rocks but I figured the chances of that were sufficiently small to deal with. Jrj eventually appeared and then amc and I went back to our room. I took a shower then played on the computer wheil amc took one. After a while jack showed up apparently hed though jose was taking us to the university and he had only just gotten a hold of jose to find out that we were already heare. We ordered a pizza by the meter (we got .5 m) and jack cooked up some fishsticks. The pizza arrived and we ate it while listening to the Dixie chicks. We talked bugs a bit- hes got someone whose interested in cicadellids also then we got the house tour. Hes got a secret room behind his bookshelf that you can also get to from behind the bathroom mirror. Sometimes hell tell kinds the bathroom is haunted and go in flush the toilet then dissapere behind the mirror. The house is built totally for jack whos about 6 ft 4. the mirrors are up so high I couldn’t see myself in the one above the sink. He also has a study, another bedroom a music room (hes in the most popular rockband in Guatemala) and his working area. After the tour I went and got my bugs and started processing them. Jrj and dave went to bed and amc talked ichs with jack. Eventually amc came into the kitchen where I was working and we talked about the trip. We want to come down again and were calculating how much it would be to drive form tx to here. I need to find out when joses free months are and see what we can work out. Jack showed up and said he was going to bed and that there was cereal for the morning. As he left hes like you drink beer? Amc are like yup and he said there was some in the fridge from the last visitor and he doesn’t drink so help ourselves. Amc and I are the bad ones on this trip for sure since the other 2 don’t drink or anything. Amc went up to harass jrj while I finished up then we went and pulled our stuff down since it was starting to rain then we went to bed.