Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Before heading out to Panama, my family went on a brief trip to Hawaii. (They do not spend as much time as I do in the tropics.) I apologize about the tardiness of this post and in keeping with my promise, I will keep this brief. I just thought I should give you a glimpse of my herpetological zeal and perhaps a warning of posts to come:

My family spent the week around the fourth of July in Hawaii. My mother is always cold so she decided she wanted to go to Hawaii for the one week that all four of us could get away. (Clearly my mother has more important things to be doing than attempting to catch up on 6 seasons of NCIS in a single month. [Not me. Thank you, USA marathons.]) It was a lot of fun -- board games, reading, etc. However, much of my joy came from finding lizards and snorkeling with sea turtles. I can guarantee you I was the only guest of the resort over age 10 who was catching lizards on the lawn chairs by the pool. Also, while snorkeling, I followed a sea turtle (at an appropriate distance of course) counting the sections of its shell so I could make a proper taxonomic identification when back on land. (Probably a green sea turtle.) I also stopped to photograph most of the geckos I saw, including the one in the header of the blog.

My family generally humors me when I get off on such tangents. For this I am eternally grateful. My mother (and the honeymooning couple in the hot tub) got a long explanation of the naming conventions in lizard taxonomy in my trying to tell her the differences between the green lizard and the brown one. And my poor brother waited for me for 10 minutes when I insisted on stopping our basketball game when he spotted an anole (the type of lizard I wrote my thesis on). (I should mention that "basketball game" is only accurate in that we were playing a game that involved a basketball. I am so bad that we started playing that I win if I could score 3 times before scored 10. For me to score, all I had to do was hit the backboard, net, rim or any region directly below the sides of the basket. Oh and he couldn't use his left hand. I lost. Every time.)

I did find out something very useful on this trip. When I mentioned before that my brother "spotted" the anole, I didn't mention that he screamed bloody murder. It turns out that my 200+ lb, 6' 2" brother is afraid of lizards. We had a bird fly into the house and several geckos (~ 2 inches from the tip of their nose from to the base of their tail; this is called a "snout-vent length" or SVL) make appearances, all of which scared my brother to no end. He later confessed to me that he is afraid of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, worms and all mammals smaller than a house cat. Peter, you might want to stop reading my blog now.

- I went to Hawaii.
- I chased geckos, anoles and turtles. Usually in our room or next to the pool.
- My brother is afraid of everything I've decided to devote my life to, but is MUCH better than me at basketball.

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