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Return to Zempoala

Sunday, June 12, 2005 | 1 comment

Today we went back to Zempoala, in the hope to find some more scorpions (Centruroides gracilis) and to see more of the rich animal life. The trip to Zempoala (also spelled Cempoala) was as follows:

So this was quite a long trip. The bus from Xalapa stopped at many places. We could have taken a different bus company which takes only about one hour to get to Cardel, but then we had to wait for over an hour at Caxa.

When we arrived at Cardel we already could see the bus going to Zempoala waiting. Since the bus we took stopped at the main station we had to walk 2 blocks back. But the bus was still waiting so we were able to take it.

In Zempoala we disembarked near the main square. From the main square it's just a short walk to the river. We had decided to go first relax in the river, and try to catch a few of the little fish we saw last time. We had no plans of taking them with us, but we wanted just a better look. Last time I was able to catch one with a plastic transparent cup, so with "real" fishing nets the job would be easier, or so we thought.

Reflections.
Reflections.

We went to the place we had visited before, but the water level was much lower, about 20 or even 30 cm less. When I went down to the river, I heard a loud noise in the dry leaves, and saw a big lizard running away. I called Esme, but she just missed it. Having another peek at the low water level made us decide to walk back a bit to find a better spot.

Very clear water.
Very clear water.

The water was very clear and we could see many fish swimming. Not only the small ones from our previous visit, but also larger ones (10-15 cm). I crumbled a small part of a Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bar into the water and more of the large fish came closer to get a bite.

Esme trying to catch some fish.
Esme trying to catch some fish.

I managed to catch one of the large fish, but catching the small ones with the nice colors was very hard. How I managed to catch one last time with just a transparent plastic cup, I don't know. Maybe I was lucky.

Caterpillars in a hole in a tree.
Caterpillars in a hole in a tree.

I saw a woodpecker looking for food. And Esme found a large hole containing a lot of big caterpillars in the tree close to the water that provided us with shadow.

A piece of dead wood in the river.
A piece of dead wood in the river.

Near a piece of dead wood I found something that looked like shedded skin of a lizard, or a snake. I kept it so I can compare it later with the shedded snake skin I found on our previous visit to Zempoala.

This fish has teeth.
This fish has teeth.

Later I was able to catch another of the "big" fish. It just got stuck in my net when I fed them again some crumbs of another Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bar. Esme held the fish when I took a picture. You can see it's small teeth. I joked that it was a piranha (piraņa).

After three o'clock we decided to start our walk. Last time we visited Zempoala we walked parallel to the river. So today we decided to follow the dirt road to the left. Before we arrived at the T junction I saw a big lizard going up in a tree very fast. It looked like the lizard I saw earlier, and might even have been the same.

We followed the dirt road as planned, and saw several lizards. I suddenly saw a large lizard crossing the road running on his hind legs. It was very fast and disappeared in a field of sugar cane (caņa). The road ended unexpectedly, and we decided to walk back and follow the same road we followed the first time, parallel to the river.

Guanabana (soursop) tree with fruit.
Guanabana (soursop) tree with fruit.

On the way back I saw a guanabana tree with one piece of fruit. I like this fruit a lot, but it's hard to find a good one in shops. Some are overripe and taste not as good.

A Banded Peacock (Anartia fatima) butterfly on a flower.
A Banded Peacock (Anartia fatima) butterfly on a flower.

So, when we where back at the T junction we went to the right and followed the road parallel to the river. Suddenly we saw a big plastic garbage bag, and when we passed it... the smell... we both held our breath and walked as fast as we could.

We followed the road more and more, and saw many lizards. I spotted quite a big one near the river as it went down to the water side. It decided to rest on a stone but when I wanted to take a picture it noticed me, and was gone. After some time we decided to walk back. We could smell the bag before we saw it, and walked again as fast as we could. From the corner of my eye I saw what looked like the skull of a large animal. Esme said that it probably was the head of a cow.

Striped lizard
Striped lizard

Again, like our last visit, I was able to take a close up picture of a "striped lizard". Sadly not from what I think was a basilisk. Esme saw it running up a tree, and we both could clearly see the crest on its head. My camera has no zoom, and the sun was shining behind the big lizard, so no picture.

Centruroides gracilis habitat.
Centruroides gracilis habitat.

We finally arrived near the building Esme found a scorpion (Centruroides gracilis) the other time we visited this place. We looked carefully but couldn't find any more scorpions.

After having a drink and eating a tostada we bought tickets for the bus. We were lucky, since we could get a direct connection to Xalapa. We left at almost 7 pm and arrived at CAXA, the central bus station in Xalapa, 17 minutes past eight.

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