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Tarantulas and Diarrhea:
A lesson in how to avoid missing out on your trip plans.


We had been driving the whole of the last day along the Pacific Coast of Mexico heading up towards Mazatlan when we decided we had had enough driving and were ready to pull the van off the road somewhere and camp. We knew we wanted to get off the road and away from sight so that we wouldn't run the risk of meeting someone that could cause use trouble. Sooner or later we found a side road that pulled into a large vacant area. Having pulled into these large areas before and finding out the next morning that they were dumps, we were good at spotting them. Most of the time they're pretty clean as it seemed they didn't really have a good system for collecting garbage and putting it there. So we pulled into one of the corners and hopped out.

Upon getting out of the van, Hazen was instantly off with the flashlight looking for critters. Then he yelled, "Wow, there's all kinds of Tarantulas here." I thought to myself how cool this would be. I grabbed my camera and light and went off to film the red-legged tarantulas. There must have been a hole every square meter, each with a red-legged tarantula in it. It was pretty stunning to see the numbers of these spiders around. These spiders come out to the entrance of their holes and then when a cockroach or other critter comes by, they pounce on it. I guess since we were in a dump the number of roaches was large, thus supporting these large numbers of spiders. After an hour or so of filming, my battery ran out and we had to recharge it. In the meantime, Hazen decided to go out looking some more. Joseph who, had been having a sudden case of Montezuma's revenge decided to join him.

Then came the weirdest situation I had come across. Joseph, who could only describe his situation as, "explosive diarrhea" explained that he didn't want to get his clothes soiled. Thus, he said he was going to walk around naked. Hazen didn't mind, but said he should at least bring a pair of underwear with him so that if or when the Mexicans around decided to see what we were doing in the dump, we could be semi-descent. But Joseph not wanting to cover the explosion area, decided the best way was to walk around with them on his head. So off they went exploring through fields of Tarantulas, with Joseph totally naked, except for his flippers and underwear on his head. It made for quite a sight.

I wish I would have taken a picture, but at this point I was so tired. I was laid down in my usual sleeping spot on the top of the '76 Chevy van and faded into my thoughts of Mexico's wonderful wildlife.

by Rob Nelson

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