For a few weeks Esme and I had been considering to visit the town of Otates, Veracruz - to be exactly the Cerro de Otates (Hill of Otates). On top of the hill are the remains of a convent: Capilla Otates, but we were more interested in the dry look of the terrain and lizard in the photos we had seen in the tourist guide "Ruta de la Niebla" - recommended, you can buy it in several bookstores in Xalapa.
First we took the bus to a different part of Xalapa, close to the shopping mall Plaza Crystal. After a short wait a bus arrived. This bus could only bring us close to Otates and we could walk the rest (20 minutes), or otherwise we had to wait. We decided to take the bus.
We got off the bus, and started to follow the road. To our right we saw a huge field of sugarcane, and to our left, after a bit more walking, chayote: a vegetable native to Mexico, was growing rised above the ground with wires and poles.
We crossed a bridge, and when we saw two guys, Esme asked for directions. One of them advised us not to follow the main road, but take the dirt road going to the right, next to a huge mango tree, since that would be shorter.
We followed the road, which slowly got more and more steep. We admired the very nice view, and the many coffee plants loaded with red berries. Suddenly Esme saw what she called a baby lizard. It was not as fast as the adult ones, and after a few attempts we could put it on her hand and take a few pictures.
Esme let it go and recaptured it when it was sitting on a small leaf. The lizard seemed to be quite ok with the foto session, so I took a few more pictures.
When Esme finally let the little lizard go, it walked slowly away, like those things happened everyday. We continued our walk, and I looked under stones that looked promising, hoping to find a scorpion, or some other interesting animal.
After looking under several stones, and finding nothing, I suddenly found wat looked like a baby tarantula. Later that day we would see several Brachypelma vagans (Mexican Red Rump), so it might have been a juvenile B. vagans.
After quite a walk we arrived at Otates. We followed the main road, and saw a sign: boda (wedding) and the road was blocked for cars. We kept following the road and shortly after the sign we saw that indeed a wedding party was going to take place, since many tables where placed in the middle of the road. When we passed the last tables, we asked again for directions to the cerro and the capilla.
Read the next part of this blog entry in Spiders, cactuses, and a scorpion.