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

06 January 2007

Guatemala Day 4

AMC and I were up by 615. I packed and got ready then the 2 of us rolled malaise traps. I showed her how to roll them the way i do since Wharton isn’t a competent malaise trap packer. We had everything ready and packed by 7 when we were suppose to leave. Jose told us to go sign the guest book so the 2 of us went over and did so. We got back to the truck as JRJ showed up and started loading his stuff. We were on the road by 720. None of us were particularly hungry so we didn’t stop for anything. Eventually we stopped for gas in a town and while jose got gas we went over and grabbed some food. Aubrey and I got gummy bears, pork skins, and juice. I also got a small block of cheddar cheese. The juice was bitter and gritty tasting but it was cold so that was exciting AMC claims you can buy it in the states, but I've never seen this brand. I then fell asleep for a while as I tend to do these days on car trips. Our 1st stop was at about 1030 at a bridge over a stream. The bridge was very small and getting down to the water was kinda tricky so I stayed up on top and swept in the trees and grass. I got some cool membracids and a few new leafhoppers though. We only stopped for 20 min or so then back to the truck. Driving down the road we spotted a cop truck parked. All the cops here drive trucks. They signaled for us to stop and they looked at joses license and registration before allowing us to pass. Apparently that’s illeagal but the do it anyway and as jose puts it wastes everyones time. Dave said when he was down here 5 years ago theyed gotten pulled over by the military complete with guns. Jose said the military and police often work together to do that since the military cant pull people over by themselves. They search for drugs this way. By now Dave was needing a pepsi (I think hes addicted to them) so we found a good size town and looked for a pepsi sign. We finally found one and parked the truck. He got out and started heading for the bakery back down the street. We all followed and I kept tripping on the sidewalk. It was pretty sad. The bakery didn’t have much so me, AMC, and Jose headed back towards the truck. Jose pointed out the piñata shop and said I should get one since id told them about my 8year old birthday piñata experience. We stopped at a coke store and I got a can of coke for 3.5 Q I was very proud of the fact I knew what the cashier told me the total was. JRJ and David caught up with us and we loaded back up and took off. David handed out sweet bread so I ate a piece of that. We stopped a piece down the road at a bridge over a river near the town of San Antonio. The river was pretty wide and people were bathing and doing laundry. AMC and JRJ took off across the river while I worked the banks on the side we parked on. There was a small pond parallel to the river with some trees growing along it so I hit that pretty hard. I got a Chalcid one of the yellow ones with expanded hind femora it was quite exciting. There were also some cool membracids and a leafhopper or 2. Back in the truck where we made JRJ sit in the middle. The plan had been not to stop anymore and we drove on for quite a while. We went through the dry part of the country which was quite hilly. We then started climbing back up into the mountains and came across some small streams that went under the road. After passing the 1st one dave got all excited and said we should stop at the next one we saw. We drove for awhile before jose spotted one as we drove past. He turned the truck around and dropped dave off. The rest of us kept going until there was a spot to turn around at. We went back to the site and I swept a bit. We were only there 10 min or so before continuing on. At one point we went through a town and got stuck in a funeral procession. There was a truck full of flowers leading it followed by the casket carried by some pallbearers. One of them had recently had his right hand amputated and was carrying the casket on his bandaged stump. It looked rather painful. Following the body was a large group of mourners then lastly the band composed of a few trumpets.

We arrived at the Quetzal reserve at about 450 and got checked in. AMC and I are in room 2. We couldn’t figure out how to get the door open and decided apparently 2 BS weren’t enough you needed an MS. JRJ was able to get it open so this confirmed out theory. However he promptly locked his keys in his room so guess a MS means you can open the door once but then your screwed. We started packaging our malaise traps samples into worrle packs. The 1st trap with only 12 bugs we just hand packed and saved the alcohol for rinsing with. The next traps all had a lot of bugs in them is we just poured as much as we could into a woorlpack then decanted the alcohol off the top through the fishnet then into the grass. We continued packing up samples until Jose came up and said he was going to town to check his mail. He asked if we wanted to go and I said the only reason I could think of was to get beer. He got all excited and said lets go. So me and AMC finished up what we were doing and headed down to the truck. Jose had 3 beers (Gallo) and we climbed in the truck and took off down the mountain. I love no open container laws its like driving around on the ranch. We got down to town and went to the internet café. Jose got us each a computer and I dealt with my e-mail while drinking my beer. Gallo is definatly an experience. Its not the worst beer I've had but its also not exactly the best. We were down there for probably 30 min or so before heading back up to the reserve. We pulled up and turned in our bottles. David and JRJ were collecting at the bottom light and some people were watching them. We went to check it out and AMC reached for a beetle which apparently JRJ was taking a picture of. He freaked out and the 2 of us decided to grab our dinner (spam, crackers, and peanut butter) and go to the other sheet further up the hill to eat. We collected a bit then sat down to feed. After eating we went back to check out the other light. I put the left over spam in the fridge. There was an American couple watching David and JRJ. They’re from Washington and took 6 months off to explore Central America. Apparently they saw us drive up and unload and the guys like I know what they are ive seen similar stuff on the discovery channel and after we had everything running came to check it out. We heard ring tailed cats which brought up pumas. Apparently they’re all over the reserve but are rarely seen. They also have ocelots and jacarundies. Jose spotted a rare lep and caught it. He was holding onto it walking towards his box and I asked if he ever killed them by injecting alochol straight into the body. Just as I said this he pulled out a syringe and shot the lep up with clear liquid which turned out to be ammonia. Apparently this works better since you need less than a drop to kill your bug instantly. Between that and the snake last night AMC and I decided Jose is the master at perfect timing. We went back to the top sheet and I caught a large weevil. AMC called it a night for now at about 915 and we went back to our room after checking the bottom sheet. I decided to take a shower which was quite an adventure since the hot water heater was on the showerhead. I couldn’t get the water hot at all. AMC asked me how cold it was when I got done and I told her at no point did I think I was going to freeze to death but it defiantly wasn’t even remotely warm. She though this was funny and kept saying at no point did I think I was going to freeze to death. Todays major amusement was the total role reversal between the sexes on this trip. Who are we always waiting on? JRJ. Who rides in the back of the truck? AMC and I. Whos like lets get some beer? TAC and AMC. So apparently its us girls who drink beer, eat spam, and ride in the truck bed. Figures. Yeah were living the good life the guys just don’t know what theyre missing.

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