31 May

Running behind, so the logs will be a bit truncated. First site of the day was a beautiful stream, just down from a national park. We didnít have free range, as someone was bathing further down, but I worked my way up stream and got some good stuff. Another Iíve collected before but havenít photographed. This is a female.

Another nice stream not far from the last, this one had some stagnant water on one side, so I was able to pick up some pond species too. A flock of children descended. They were grabby, wanted to hold my net, feel its weight, one picked up Aís GPS! I got a picture of an amazing caterpillar on a leaf. Another that one would probably not want to touch.

 

The next site was a pond by the highway. In a gully and behind tall grass, people still yelled Hello as they drove by! Common stuff, but you never know which will uncommon for the area.

Fourth site (its good to get four sites in a day) was another pond. One little guy was way out in the middle of a deep area on a limb of a dead tree. I stretched my little net out way far and swipe, I got him! We headed to town and I got a picture of a Matrix Reloaded ad and a railroad crossing sign. They hand paint billboards for the front of theaters and to put on trucks to advertise movies.

     

1 June

Today we meet Bob (Dr. Robert Sites, my advisor). But we do a little colleting on the way to were heís staying. The first was a really big fall and I saw two dragons I really wanted, but was not to be. Again little kids swarmed.

The second site was a nice small stream that looked perfect. But I worked and worked and literally collected 80% of what I saw flying (only about 7 specimens!).

The last site was much more profitable. A rather large falls, however the water that would have cascaded over the lowest tear was diverted to a man made irrigation ditch. A good site nonetheless. Waterfalls here usually have many levels. I collected the second level where water was still running and got the usual stuff plus what looked like a new female. But female dragons are usually drab and can look very similar, so who knows. Later I decide to take the trail through the woods up to the next tear and what do I see, but another of these females! After collecting her I wandered up further and got two of what I think are the males of the species! I call him Wasp Mimic II! LOL The first and only time Iíve run across this species.

There is also a fern which grows down here that looks like the branch of an evergreen tree. You canít see it, but the frond blends from spring green at the edges to an almost unearthly blue in the center. Very pretty.

We stopped for gas and the girls at the station had this in a jar. When A ask what kind of beetle it was, they said it wasnít a beetle and gave a word for cow (because of the horns). So people are insect illiterate all over the world!

We dead headed to Prince Songla University (again spelling) at Hat Yai to meet Bob. We got checked in to our (complementary!) room and had supper. Tomorrow is the first day off since Chiang Mai!

 

2 June

First day off since Chang Mai! Today was the meeting of the professors -Bob and Dr. Houseman (a termite guy) on the Missouri team and three professors on the Thai side. The Thai professors (sorry, canít even get close with names, much less spellings) are all very nice. Nothing but smiles. A and I tag along (in long pants, theyíre formal here), so Iím introduced to all the big wigs. Good talks. Lunch was wonderful, we ate at the hospital cafeteria! Did a little shopping (I got Matrix Reloaded on DVD!!!!!!!) We were a little late back to home (and there was some miss-information) so the van waiting to take us to our Greeting Dinner had left. We were a bit late, but no worries. Good dinner, all Bobís favorites.

FINALLY got home so I could do the most important duty of my entire trip. Watch Matrix Reloaded!!!!!! I was up till 1:30, it was worth it. Up at 6:15 the next morning to try to get new emerging dragons from a near by pond.

 

3 June

We venture into the wild blue yonder with Bob and Dr. Houseman. Our first stop was a heavily populated waterfall. Not allowed to collect, we pounce like ninjas and grab all we can! I wandered around, took pictures, and watched for any new species. Wandering back in the direction of the car I spot a Big Old Gomphid. All I have are my hands and my wit. Not much wit really. So I stalk, slowly... slowly... nearer and nearer. A yells from the bridge to hurry up, theyíre leaving. Closer and closer, I reach out and Whomp! He is mine. Donít know if Iíve got this one before, but the "collection method: hand" was very cool!

Second spot was down stream a ways on the back side of a temple. Picked up a nice gomphid and got a great shot of a moth.

Our third stop was neither pond nor stream. It was in someoneís yard. We were after termites for Dr. Houseman. Some of the termites around here build huge (up to ten feet tall, and Iím not exaggerating) mounds. There was just such a mound in this yard. I wandered watching for dragons and amazingly picked up what I think is a new species for my trip! Perhaps even two! Again, Iíll know once Iím in the lab.

I saw an ant nest made of living leaves woven together and got a picture of the main entrance.

Headed back I ran into the main party. They were attacking a big mound and I played camera man. I took over 100 pictures! Termites (except maybe soldiers) are very vulnerable to attack, especially from ants, therefore their mounds are fortresses with inches of thick hard mud encasing the inner parts. You need a pick ax and sturdy back to collect from one. A mound is an entire city in which thousands of termites live. There are chambers for all sorts of things, but the most interesting and beautiful are the fungal gardens. They remind me of coral or Morel mushrooms. On these strange things fungus grows (the white specs) and the termites tend it and eat it. Dr Houseman got many good specimens, but our quest for the queen failed.

After that we headed for the border. Malaysia. You have to fill out paperwork and get a stamp to leave Thailand, then you drive about a quarter mile to the Malaysia side and fill out paper work to enter the country. This went well. On my walk through the building towards the exit I got called over by two security/soldiers. "Let us see youíre passport, where are you from? USA!" "Best friend George Bush!?" "No, I canít stand the guy." "You donít like him?" "Nope." "Why not?" (Have I forgotten to mention that Malaysia is majority Muslim?) I gave my reasons. "You like war or you like peace?" "I like peace." "Good Man." He shakes my hand. They are curious as to how old you have to be to vote in the states. What are Bushís chances of winning again? What am I up to, where am I going, etc. They let me go and I wander out of the building.

Bob and Dr. Houseman have been waiting. We cross the street and fill out paperwork and get a stamp to get out of Malaysia. Back to the car, and paperwork and a stamp to get into Thailand.

Why go through all this? Two reasons. First, cool stamps in your passport. Second, you are only allowed to stay in Thailand for 30 days without a Visa. Well, Bob is going to stay about 40 or 50 days and doesnít have a Visa, so if you leave the country, turn around, and walk back in you get a whole new 30 days! Funny.

Not end of day, but end of log.