Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

05 January 2007

Guatemala Day 3

We left the hotel a bit after 7am and drove northwest. We were heading up CA2 almost all the way to the Mexican boarder. I fell asleep pretty soon after leaving and didn’t wake up until we got to the town where we wre stoping for breakfast. We went to a chicken fastfood place but it was so packed in there we couldn’t find a place to sit so we went next door to burger king. I ordered bacon and orange juice in spansih with minimal help, not bad. It cost 10.25Q, so not even 2 bucks. Not bad. We ate and AMC decided she wanted a BK crown so JRJ got her one which she wore outside. On TV GWB was appointing a new head of the CIA or something, guess well find out what happened when we get back to the states. Next stop was the grocery store which strangely enough was inside a mall. On the way in we passed at least 6 different shoe stores including payless. This store was quite a bit larger and actually had a lot of food. I got peanut butter (jif), a can of spam, 2 apple juice and 2 mango orange juices both kenrs. I also got a pigma pen like I was using in dominica. All for a total of 82Q. We walked back to the truck when JRJ decided he needed to go to the restroom. So as usual we were standing around waiting on JRJ to get his act together. We headed off back down the road then stopped for gas at Esso aka Exxon, complete with a tigermart. It was a full service gas station so the attendant came out pumped our gas, cleaned the windows etc. It was my 1st experience with that since even in dominica you had to pump your own gas which was quite amusing to watch since neither JBW or Lacher could figure out how to open up the gas tank- how many phds does it take to pump gas? Then it was back on the road. I fell asleep again and woke up as we were coming up to our 1st collecting spot. It was a bridge off the highway over a large fast flowing river. The area was sandy but had a lot of trash. We jumped out and I started sweeping. Got some cool things considering how disturbed it was including some Flattids, cool looking membracids, and some new cicadellids. I chased down an ascilid also. Dave and jose found some ant lion pits and sifted out a few 3rd instars. We were all waiting on JRJ as usual who was off who knows where. Dave suggested we but a leash on him and take turns being the josh keeper. Back on the road we pulled off at a second bridge. This one was near a town and a bunch of people were bathing and doing laundry. The area was very disturbed but Dave got some good mayflies. I went and swept alittle but didn’t get anything of interest and only a couple leafhoppers at that. It was totally reminiscent of the little brazos as far as appearance, diversity, and set up. Strange. So AMC and I sat on the tailgate and drank juice (me) and boxochoclate milk (AMC) and talked about collecting methods. After a while everyone else was ready to go so we loaded back up into the truck and drove north. We went through a goodsize town looking for a place to buy pesticides for JRJs fogger. We couldn’t see anything (we were looking for buildings with syngenta or bayer logos) and jose figured itd be further down so we kept driving. The streets were packed with trycilce jeep deals called toktoks or something like that since that’s the brand. We eventually made it most of the way down the road with no luck. Jose stopped and asked someone walking down the street and he said it was just a few building down. Of course they were closed. So we asked someone else who pointed us to a pet shop so that was a no go. We kept heading out of town and found a place to collect near this huge fast river. We parked in someones dirt garden and climbed out. The dog on the roof of the house started barking at us and jose yelled something at the woman who appeared. Apparently we got permission and we started collecting. This site was really good for hoppers. Some cool looking membracids and a couple species of leafhopper I hadn’t collected yet. I also caught a green lacewing. After 30 min or so dave said we needed to get going so we all climbed back up to the truck. JRJ was of course nowhere to be seen so we got all our stuff loaded up and then he appeared saying hed found somemore pits and he needed a shovel. So he took AMCs trowel and went to dig some up. After a while he said he had enough and we headed back down the hill. There were tons of kids running around I think school had just gotten out. We got back on the main road and started going south a different way then we came. We went over a road that had gotten totally destroyed by a hurricane. It got washed out and the water must have been 10-20ft deep. It moved around some huge rocks also. Very impressive. We made it back to the road wed came in on and after a bit went through a town with a circus tent. As we drove past Jose spotted a chemical store and circled back around to check it out. It was mainly a feed store and as david pointed out contained pictures of happy dogs, cats, sheep, and chickens along with a pissed off looking cow. Jose and JRJ got out and bought the pesticide to try in the fogger. Sortly after that we stopped at a shell station to buy some snacks. I got AMC and I some peanut M&Ms. JRJ got some sugar covered peanuts then tried to explain them by saying the were like what you eat at Christmas which made all the rest of us deiced he was crazy. Then it was back in the truck where conversation rapidly degraded into making fun of josh for trying to tell us fables. AMCs like your boring and im not listening anymore. Dave started telling stories of things hed seen in the philipeans. We made it back to the hotel after dark- thered been a ton of traffic and some accidents along the way which made the going really slow. It also started raining toward the end and we had to get out and move our stuff into the cab. We got back to the hotel and honked to get let into the compound. There wasn’t a guard within hearing distance apparently so jose got out and got one to let us in. We stopped to see if the office was still open and luckily it was. We paid 82 US for 3 nites plus 3 meals. Not cheep but not too bad. I used up all my extra money on that so hopefully I can find someplace to get more money. Turns out they have internet in the office so I ran back to the room and got stuff ready to go pull traps and then went back to use the internet. Eventually it was my turn and I e-mailed grandpa, mom, and JAC. I told JAC about my morpho but not about the cool ant mimics since AMC and I decided to suprise him with those.Once we were done with the net AMC and I went back to the rooms and found jose to go pick up our traps. We told JRJ wed pick up his trap also. We had a good time driving up there talking about the differences in collecting styles. That’s been a big issue me and AMC like lots of stops short duration while JRJ and dave prefer staying in one spot for an extended period. This caused some headbutting for planning tomorrow since we could either go south and hit some new places or head east and go the the reserve right away. I really wanted to go south as did jose and AMC. JRJ never really said which he wanted and dave didn’t want to go south. We eventually decided to head south but make only 2 stops and try to get to the reserve by 3. Jose got the 1st 2 malasie traps along with JRJs fogging sheet which shockingly enough had virtually no bugs while AMC and I picked up pan traps. We got somemore ant mimic membracids and a good number of cicadellids. I think we left a couple traps out though since when it was all said and done I only counted 26 eventhough I though id put out 30. o well. It was rather amusing since AMC was just telling me she hated snakes after hearing a rustling noise she though was either a snake or a puma when jose showed up with a small snake. It was brown and grey with a faint pattern. Lookeds similar to a garder snake in body shape. AMC was rather amused. Back at the truck we were talking about how annoying the jars were to deal with and Jose said he uses woorl packs straight on the head. This makes a ton of sence and I think were going to give this a try. Next stop was the malaise trap set across the path by a stream a bit further up the road. This trap had a ton of bugs and was much easier to take down than putting it up had been, or maybe since I couldn’t see the fact I was hanging over the edge of the embankment I didn’t think about falling down into the stream. We then went all the way up to the top turned around and collected the one in the bamboo patch. It also had a pretty good sample for only being out 24 hrs or so. The final trap was the one set up along the embankment. There were only a couple bugs in this trap it was kinda an experimental placement and guess it needs some modification. We loaded everything into the truck and drove down to the rooms. The traps were a bit damp so the 3 of us hung them up on the porch to dry out. Jose went to bed and AMC and I ate dinner of tuna, crackers, and peanut butter. I also had a can of mango apple juice. We turned on some country and had a grand old time singing and feeding as Aubrey called dinner. Then it was time for bed.

Its interesting the differences between here and dominca. Dominica seems much poorer in many ways. Most of the houses there were really run down while these while not the suburbs or anything weren’t in horrible shape. Something that struck me in dominica was that when you were in Roseau there were people everywhere just sitting around not doing any actual work no matter what day or time it was. Here people seem poor but are all working. They are fairly well dressed in the towns and everyone has some form of shoes. Out in the country the workers are all wearing pretty dirty clothes but you go by the houses and everyone has wash hung up. Also the dogs are radically different . Dominica had few dogs and most of those were quite skinny and didn’t look too good coat wise. There are tons of dogs running around but most of them look to be in ok shape. Theyre not fat but theyre not skin and bones either in most cases. Ive only seen a couple mangy dogs also. Many are even identifiable breeds especially rotties and German Shepards. The roads are also in much better shape as are the cars. Most people here have trucks or suvs and many of them are in pretty good shape- still shiny and newish. A lot of them are diesel which is very cheap (18-19Q) vs regular gas (22-23Q). Ive learned a ton on this trip. Dominica was so easy as far as gear since as quartermaster of the expedition I could just assign people to bring any gear I wanted but couldn’t fit. This time I had 2 bags and that was all I had to deal with. Im learning what I actually need for how I collect which ive discovered is about the same stuff as I thought (exciting) but that as far a malaise traps go there are some spacesaving possibilities such as not using jars. AMC agreed that this was a great learning experience. I think it’s the only way to learn since collecting back in the states is a totally different ball game in many respects- you forget something you can find it at walmart. It also helps that I didn’t have woolley telling me everything to bring etc. I had to plan it out and figure out what I needed and what I could do without so I actually learned some.

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