Kevin in China #18 - a mandarin rat, another mystery frog that is NOT in the Atlas of Amphibians of China, and the Chinese-speaking Godzilla

Well, nobody in the comments here or here could help Kevin identify the mystery frog yet (if you are a herpetologist or fancy being one, take a look) and now Kevin caught yet another, even more mysterious frog. Can you help him identify it? Leave a comment here if you recognize what frogs are these.

Anyway, if you are fan of the series of adventures of Kevin in China (and if not, you should start the series from the beginning - you WILL get hooked), the new field report is under the fold.

Dongxi, revisited

22 August

Didn't hear from Linsen about where I am to get a bus or taxi to Yichang. Went to the office looking around. Couldn't find him. Ran into Xie Dong, told him what was going on. He said Linsen was in a meeting and we could get up with him afterwards. In the mean time he wanted me to help him get an email account. After doing this and getting some food we went to meet Linsen, who motioned for us to go to the Public Security Bureau inside the reserve, which is where I had gone the day before.

We sat down and Linsen and Xie Dong talked with one of the guys that were helping me from yesterday. Linsen said he would take my passport to Songbai, a town to the north, about 3 hours. Foreigners are not allowed there for some reason. I would have thought the most protected place in the entirety of Shennongjia would have been Qianjiaping because of the military installation nearby, but apparently the tourist town of Songbai is more "secret" than that. I told Linsen "great." Then Linsen said, "you pay 1,000 Yuan for the Visa and 100 Yuan for the application" - geeze, I was somewhat expecting this but hearing it was still a shock. "Ok. I don't really have a choice." I told him I would have to go back to the hotel to get the money. Later, while in Dongxi, Xie Dong was telling me that they were trying to charge me 2,000 Yuan, but he told them that I basically had no money and couldn't afford that and so they dropped it to 1,000. He is a really cool guy. At Jiuchong he told them I should only pay for a place to stay and that meals should be free. He is looking out for me and I told him when I get back to the States I am going to send him a pack of Marlboro's (or whatever is considered the best US brand cigarette).

Once the money was dropped off, I wanted to get some food and think about other things. Dropping that much left me with 650 Yuan to play around with in China and I still had a good number of days left, maybe 20 still in China. The trip to Anhui Province is extremely expensive. There isn't a train from Yichang to Wuhu, so I have to go from Yichang, to Beijing, pick up another train, and then travel to Wuhu. The ticket to Wuhu is 1,460 Yuan. I will be getting on a train on the 5th and won't be reaching my destination until the morning of the 7th.

Anyway, on to more pleasant things; I suppose one possible bright side to the entire situation was that I didn't have to go to Yichang, because more than likely I would have had to pay the same price, if not more because Xie Dong wouldn't have been there, not to mention the cost of going to and from Yichang.

The next day we were finally heading off to Dongxi.

23 August

I guess I would normally be going to my first day of classes if this were "back-in-the-day." The critical pigmy period in the sandhills is about to be over, from early-teens of August to mid-twenties of August. I am greatly missing it. The other night I was thinking how I would give anything for a one hour break to be in the great town of McBee eating a subway sub. Not so much for the taste as much as the feeling of being "home."

Liu Qiang came to wake me up this morning. He said Xie Dong was downstairs waiting and that Linsen was coming too. I thought it was just going to be Xie Dong and I again. The day before Xie Dong said he was going to have a friend of his in the police force drive us and that way the ride would be free. My first time coming to Dongxi the taxi was 260 Yuan. Liu Qiang said he has never been to Dongxi before. I had my typical two rolls of bread for breakfast, costing 2 Yuan, while we waited for Linsen and the police officer to show up.

Once everyone was collected we were on our way. I was in the front again. As expected, we stopped at Pinqian for lunch. While waiting for lunch Linsen comes up to me and says, "you need to pay 130 Yuan for the meal." "For lunch, they want me to pay 130 Yuan?!" I was ready to go to the store and buy one of the noodle packages that are incredibly satisfying for 3 Yuan. "No, they said that you never paid for your meals when you were here two months ago." I couldn't believe it. "Well what did I pay for then?" I don't remember how much I paid, but I remember it being plenty. Linsen said I had just paid for my room. "How much is a meal?" Linsen said breakfast was 5 Yuan, lunch and dinner were 10 Yuan each. It didn't seem to add up. I told him ok and broke out the computer to look at the dates I was in Pinqian and referred to my journal to see which meals I had eaten. There for several breakfasts for example I didn't have. I wrote down the dates and meals I had and showed Linsen, "it should be 65." "Oh, they must have put Vanessa's meals on your tab. I will pay for her meals." Under normal circumstances I wouldn't have mind so much, but ever since that 1,100 Yuan I had to drop the other day I am watching every dime I have.

On our way to Pinqian we had passed a group of what looked like students taking some GPS readings by the road and either trying to spot some birds or something else in the distance. Not long after showing up at Pinqian the group of students arrived as well. They were students from Beijing, in Forest Ecology and had come to Shennongjia to look for a certain species of tree. There were maybe six or seven of them. I was working on some pictures when they walked into the station and of course they came right over to take a look and I started explaining everything. They were only in Shennongjia for 10 days, today being the first. Lunch was great. One of the dishes I didn't care for was the century egg though. I do not understand how the concept of eating this came about. An egg is buried in the ground and kept there for 6 months. Then it is dug up, shelled, and served. The "white" of the egg is a translucent olive-amber and the yolk itself is a nasty looking green. Pinqian always has the best lunches. There was one soup I had while Vanessa and I were there that was incredible and I have yet to have another like it. A couple of the students gave me their numbers and want me to call them when I get back to Beijing (Xie, and "Ashley" - she didn't write down her Chinese name). My lunch experience in Pinqian wasn't different from any other time, meaning one of the officers gave me a glass and a half of liquor, enough to get me tipsy for the drive to Dongxi.

After lunch we hit the road again. The road from Pinqian to Dongxi is very rough and for the next two hours I cradled my snake eggs to prevent them from bumping around and rolling over. In my short time in Shennongjia I have seen many changes. In Jiuchong, a new Field Station is almost finished, they are installing miniature speed bumps in Muyu, they have about a dozen, and now a portion of the road into Dongxi has been paved with gravel. Along the way I saw some movement on a curve, a skink, and told Mr. Ye (the officer driving us) to stop. Linsen said "she" and I told him "bu shi she" and ran to the brush where I had seen the lizard take off. I couldn't see it, but I knew the general area of where it was and my only hope was to flush it out. I jumped on the weeds and it fled, and on my second lunge I got a hand on it. It was just a Sphenomorphus skink, with a tail still in mid-regeneration. I got the GPS data on it and was about to release it, but Linsen wanted to take pictures of the tail, so we bagged it and continued on.

We arrived into Dongxi around 3pm or so. Mr. Gu wasn't around, nor was the other reserve officer that was there before. The only familiar face was the gentleman that went hunting with us on the 11th of June. Liu Qiang and I were sharing rooms again. After dropping my stuff off I told Linsen I was going down to the small town to buy a Pepsi from the shopkeep. He sent Liu Qiang with me. The walk down didn't reveal anything. Dongxi in late August is nowhere near as hot as June, the weather was overcast and very comfortable.

When we got to the town, the shopkeep wasn't there. After a short while we saw her running down the street to us. I asked for my traditional Pepsi, and we sat for a rest before heading back to the station for dinner.

Dinner was very nice. The lao ro (bacon) was very good and I told Linsen that the dish tasted practically identical to bacon in America. We all had several drinks of course. I prefer pi jiao (beer), Xie Dong prefers liquor and doesn't like beer. He says beer is bad for the heart, I pointed to my liver and said liquor is bad for this. I didn't bother going into the health benefits of the occasional beer with Xie Dong, not only would I not be able to get the message across, but I don't think he'd believe it either.

After dinner I wanted to walk down to the river. Linsen and Xie Dong were drunk, so Liu Qiang came with me. I was hoping to find some more Bufo gargarizans (the gigantic toads I have only found in Dongxi) but we didn't see any. I saw a couple Fejervarya limnocharis frogs and caught one of them. I wasn't happy with my photographs of the species from my first time to Dongxi. Saw a Rana nigromaculata frog in a road puddle as well. When we finally reached the river I told Liu Qiang just to wait while I went looking around. He didn't have a flashlight, so he just sat on a rock and smoked a cigarette.

I followed the little spring where I had previous caught an immature Hynobius chinensis salamander. There was nothing but some minnows this time. I walked along the spring until it terminated into the ground and then I headed to the river and was going to work my way back. I saw several immature Ranodon shihi salamanders and one immature Hynobius chinensis. I didn't have any good photographs of R. shihi either, so I started to head back to get my camera, which I left with Liu Qiang. As I made my way back, jumping from rock to rock, a small frog jumped into the water and went to the bottom. At first glance it looked like a variation of Rana nigromaculata, which has about 3 color morphs in Dongxi, and at first I thought this was just an extreme of one of the variations, but enough of an extreme to justify catching and photographing the frog. I bent down and carefully caught the small frog. Continuing along I found another small frog, a familiar color morph, nearly all green, of Rana nigromaculata, so I caught this one as well. The first time in Dongxi I had captured two of the morphs, but had only managed to photograph the 3rd color phase. When I got back to Liu Qiang, I told him I had a frog that I wanted to photograph.

We walked a distance away from the river so there wasn't a chance of escape and I placed the frog on a small open patch on the ground and Liu Qiang put a light on it. Actually taking the time to see the frog without passing water over top of it I could immediately tell it was new and not Rana nigromaculata. I did not recognize the species though. I thought I recalled a photograph similar to it though, perhaps in Adler and Zhao's book, Herpetology of China, which I left in the States due to its size. I can't remember if I had seen an illustration in the Atlas of Amphibians of China or not. Either way, we obviously bagged the animal after photographing it. Next we headed over to where the salamanders were resting. I took a couple underwater photographs but the water was pretty deep. I caught one of the Ranodon's and moved it to a shallower location and got my pictures. Nothing spectacular.

Finally we headed back to the station. As soon as we got there I downloaded the pictures from the night so I could examine the new frog in closer detail. Linsen was asleep and he had the Amphibian book, so I couldn't check the species. It was definitely a new species for the reserve. The most distinguishing feature of the frog was the fact that it had a yellow-orange stripe running from the tip of the snout along the entire back. I was eager for morning when I could check the species in the Atlas.

24 August

Around 8:30am I hear "chi fan" - "eat food" in this circumstance "eat breakfast." If it's around lunch time, then it means "eat lunch" and so forth. I finally had an excuse to sleep in. If I sleep in I save money! So I didn't get up. Neither did Liu Qiang. Xie Dong eventually comes and knocks on our door after the cook's statement went unheard and I told him "keyi keyi" - "ok, ok" and then went back to sleep.

When I got up around 9:30 or 10 I asked Linsen if he brought the amphibian book. He went upstairs to retrieve it and I started up the computer to show him pictures of the frog from last night. I started flipping through the book. I knew there was at least one similar looking species, but it was not it. Not only did the Central Asia Pond Frog (Pelophylax (Rana) ridibunda) have lateral stripes as well, though less pronounced, it lived on the border of Russia, about 3,000 km away (1,875 miles - at least 2/3rds the length of the US). The only other prospect, was a frog to the southeast, about 2,000 km away (1,250 miles); the Little Gland Frog (Glandirana minima). This frog fit the profile more accurately. The animal we had was very small, and the book listed Glandirana minima as being 3 - 4 cm long (the body), which is about how large the frog I caught was. The stripe drawn on the illustration terminated on the crown though, my frog went all the way to the tip of the snout. Additionally, the eye had the common "cross" I've seen in many other species here in China, such as the Paa boulengeri/ Rana quadranus frog. The frog in the illustration had a circular pupil, no cross, and the body of the eye appeared to be red. Right now, this seemed like the most likely suspect. An illustration is never going to be as accurate as a photograph. I still wasn't satisfied with the answer though. I will hopefully be able to ID it when I get my hands on the Herps of China book back home.

At lunch Xie Dong asked what I was going to do this afternoon. I told him and Linsen I wanted to go to the location where we had found the shed skin from the Mandarin Rat back in June. It took awhile to tell them this, since I do not remember the Chinese name for Mandarin Rat(-snake) (Elaphe mandarina), and it always takes a couple of explanations whenever I mention "snake skin" or "shed skin." So after lunch we headed out.

We went to the shopkeep's first where I got a Pepsi and we chatted for awhile then we headed down the southern route, where there is a large square man-made well. This location had always intrigued me and I had always wanted to come here at night. In June I never found anything here besides frogs jumping from the ledge to the water below. Portions surrounding the well that were flooded in June were now completely dry. Xie Dong and Linsen stayed on the main trail while I searched the perimeter of the well. As I rounded one of the corners I heard a splash, and figured it was a frog jumping in, I looked over the edge to see a large Ptyas mucosus ("Black Racer") heading for a low hanging tree growing out of the sides of one of the walls. I ran over to where it was heading. I could see a portion of the body through the leaves and approached slowly. The body disappeared back to the water. No place for it to go, I thought to myself. Of course I was wrong. Don't know how, but when I pulled branches away and was basically in the middle of the tree and looking over the edge to where the water was, no snake was to be seen. As with so many other occasions, I have no idea where the snake went, and it doesn't seem possible for it to be able to disappear like that, but it did. It was 1:42pm, overcast, and about 83 degrees. Very nice weather. I got back on the main trail and caught up with Linsen and Xie Dong. I told them I was chasing "hua shu she."

The hike was shorter than I remembered. Maybe an hour after leaving the shopkeeper's place we were at the rocky area adjacent to the river. Between the rocky area and the mountain was a very clear, very beautiful, slow moving stream that led into the river. I walked along the stream, saw several Fejervarya frogs, R. nigromaculata, a R. chinensis (a new species for Dongxi), and a Paa boulengeri/Rana quadranus (Frog B). Walking among the rocks I found another shed skin, but couldn't ID the species. It was very old. Back in June I had waited to visit this place at night as well, but at the time I thought it was too far. Now that my days are dwindling down, I need to come back here tonight or tomorrow night.

We continued on to where the river merged with an even larger river, the same river from Pinqian. Walking along the larger river I see another Ptyas moving through the brush. I drop my pack and start running through the trees where the snake was. Little did I know these trees were similar to Honey Locust trees and the branches were lined with thorns. I had grabbed a handful of branches of course before realizing this. As with the previous Ptyas, this one got away as well.

We headed back to the store where the shopkeep and everyone from the station was waiting. Mr. Ye and Liu Qiang were playing a game of poker. Liu Qiang explained to me how Chinese poker was played, as least portions of the game. You only have 3 cards, and 3-of-a-kind is the highest hand. Next would be a straight flush, below that would be a straight of the same color, a straight of two colors doesn't mean anything. Below the straight is a pair, and below that is the high card.

As before at Dongxi, the next 3 hours were spent waiting around for the poker games to finish. Afterwards, a friend of Mr. Ye's was inviting us all to dinner. He is a medical student in Dajehu and is moving outside of Shennongjia to continue studying.

There was a power outage at some point during the day, so our dinner that evening was by candle light. It reminded me of the first night I met Vanessa, we ended up having a candle-lit dinner (due to a power outage). One of the dishes was lao ro (bacon) and during the meal Linsen said "this is very good lao ro" and spun the table around to me. This was one major difference between the American style and the Chinese style, apparently, lao ro is considered better in China the more fat it has. The plate Linsen have spun around to me was basically nothing but fat, with a few slim strips of meat. I tried a small piece of the fat, thinking maybe there was something I was missing, but no, it tasted just like ordinary fat.

After dinner, we headed back to the station. I immediately started getting my things together. Liu Qiang asked what I was doing. I told him I was going out. He said "no no, too late." It was about 9:30 at the time. I told him I knew it was late but that I had to go. Three of the missing snake species that were found in Dongxi were all nocturnal; Bungarus multicinctus (Many-banded krait), Calamaria septentrionalis (Northern Reed Snake), and Sinonatrix pericarinata (Asian Water Snake). He told me to make sure I tell Linsen. Linsen and Xie Dong were still quite drunk from dinner. I went downstairs with my camera bag, 3 lights, and a water bottle and told Linsen I was heading out to where we had gone earlier that day. He said I should take Liu Qiang with me. I told him that he can sleep and that I will be ok. Linsen went up and got Liu Qiang anyway. Xie Dong asked Mr. Ye to drive us to the store, he had to drop off his friend from Dajehu anyway.

We hit the trail around 10pm. I had checked the distance in on the GPS and as the crow flies it was only half a mile. I told Liu Qiang that we only had to walk 80 meters, I realize now I should have said 800 meters. We reached the location in an hour. I walked along the slow stream portion first. I saw mainly the familiar faces. No snakes, no salamanders. Following the stream to the river and walking along the rocks, Liu Qiang caught a frog and told me to come over. It was a large frog, about the size of a bull frog. All I could see was the eye. I maneuvered his fingers around and exposed the snout and saw a bold yellow stripe. "Stay right there, I'm going to get a bag." It was a huge Frog F (the frog from the night before, if I had to give it a name, maybe Rana flavisagittalus - flavi- is Latin for yellow, and sagittalus obviously refers to the sagittal line of the body). Due to the size of the animal, this blew the possibility of the species being Glandirana minima.

The rest of the night didn't reveal much. Another Frog B specimen that I caught to photograph. We got back to the shopkeep around midnight. I told Liu Qiang to wait there while I ran down to the square man-made well and took a quick look. I told him to give me 15 minutes. He said he'd be waiting there. I didn't find a thing, just a R. nigromaculata hanging out on a stick floating in the water. Making my way back up to the shopkeep, it was time to go. On my way out the shopkeep gave me a free Pepsi (Dongxi has the most expensive drinks, 7 Yuan for a Pepsi, vs 5 Yuan at most other locations). During the hike back to the station, we found a juvenile B. gargarizans crossing the road and that was it. When we arrived back at the station around 1am, Xie Dong was still up watching True Lies on the computer! I told him "very good movie" and Liu Qiang and I sat down to watch the rest of it. At the time, Bill Paxton was telling his BS story from the evening before to Jamie Lee Curtis - the romp through the hotel. The quality was very good. It was in English, with Chinese subtitles. I could live with that. I went upstairs to get my flash drive and downloaded the files. Later when I tried to play the movie on my laptop though, Media Player doesn't support the file, some kind of .net extension. I guess it's normally played by RealMedia VBR, whatever that is. I will have to try to find a program to run it on the web.

Ended up finally going to bed around 3am.

25 August

My last day in Dongxi. Tomorrow we are heading back to Muyu. Of course I skipped breakfast again in order to save some money. After lunch Linsen and I went out walking. We had just reached the area where I had photographed the Bufo gargarizans and Ptyas mucosus back in June. It was overcast and 86º though it did not feel the least bit hot, felt more like 80º. I was still slightly tipsy from the lunch toasts. Up in the road was one of my top five snakes I was hoping to find (alive). I broke into a run and came up to a 30" Mandarin ratsnake on its way across the road. Finally! After two dead individuals, and the recent shed skin of another, I found a live one. The snake was gorgeous. I quickly picked it up. Not even a slight attempt to bite. The lighting was good to take photographs on the spot, but I was too excited to sit still and wanted to keep walking.

I told Linsen I wanted to check on the eggs that one of the locals had uncovered back in June, 35, two of which I took as specimens (still haven't opened up to try and ID yet either). We got to the farm and followed the GPS to the tree where we re-buried the eggs. I was skeptical when we re-buried the eggs that they would hatch. The ground was very loose, the hole wasn't very deep. It didn't seem like a very good spot, but what do I know of good locations to lay eggs? We started digging and weren't finding anything. No dried eggs, or hatched eggs. I thought maybe a dog dug up the nest. We kept digging deeper and then we finally started pulling up some eggs with little slits in the sides from the egg tooth. So they did hatch, great, that's all I wanted to know. We took the high road around the back of the property that would eventually meet up with the river, which we could follow downstream back to the main road.

When we got to the river, to one side a channel had been constructed to divert some of the water for crops and people. The channel is very fast moving and about 5 ft wide or so, maybe 3-4ft deep. It would be incredibly fun to get in at the top and float down to the base. You'd have to be careful about getting cut up on the turns from the concrete, but otherwise it'd be great. It would also be extremely cold. I can't really imagine much living in the channel. The current is just too strong. If a snake wanted to cross, it would be taken downstream quite a ways before it would manage to find something to get a hold of on the opposite wall of the channel. But the other side of the channel was the river, and that's what I was most interested in.

We walked along the narrow, exterior wall of the channel, following it to the source, and would then go down to the river and follow that back to the road. Walking along, you can't help but look along the water's edge of the channel. Very close to the source I see a bright green frog resting by the water. Awesome, I slowly take off my camera bag and start to put on my telephoto lens. It was another Odorrana margaratae, a new species (and genus) for Dongxi. I took some shots and left the frog. Linsen was busy photographing some orange fungus growing on the rocks. I didn't tell him about the frog until he caught up. "Did you see the qing wa back there?" "Where??" I walked back to show him the frog. While he started photographing again I continued on to the mouth of the river, which was a beautiful miniature waterfall between two rock face corridors and emptied into a gorgeous pool at the base before reaching another waterfall behind us, or being diverted into the channel. I took some pictures and waited for Linsen to catch up. After he took some photos of this scene as well we started looking for a way down to the river. The channel was maybe 30 ft above the river.

We found a gentle rock slope and slid down to the river bottom and started our rock jumping down to the road. I saw many gorgeous looking spots, but didn't see anything. Linsen took a long time photographing plants, so I decided to find a spot to photograph the mandarin rather than just sitting around waiting for him to catch up.

Once we got back to the main road it was time to head back up to the station for dinner. Dinner mainly consisted of leftovers. During the middle of the meal Mr. Gu showed up. It was nice to see him again. It was too bad he showed up the night before we were leaving.

After dinner I told Linsen that I was going down to the shopkeepers place to buy a "kola" (Chinese for "cola," slightly different pronunciation). He pointed across the street to another vendor and I told him "ta mei yo" and Liu Qiang said "yo." I walked over to an empty Pepsi bottle and ran my finger across the Chinese print and said "mei yo" and tapped my finger. They yelled to the vendor across the street and Liu Qiang said, "mei yo." The vendor across the street sold the fake Coke product. The label looks almost identical, except the name is something like Future-Cola if you look closely and it tastes like a coca-cola that has been left with the top off for a month. Quite nasty. I am not picky when it comes to soft drinks, but after purchasing one of the fake cokes, I had to pour the entire thing out.

I was pretty tired. Liu Qiang came with me again. Basically Linsen and Xie Dong were the daytime people, and Liu Qiang was the nighttime help. Now if only I had a herpetologist friend to share such times - one goes out during the day to survey, the other goes out at night. Linsen gave Liu Qiang his flashlight, and he bought some fresh batteries right before we started walking. Maybe 10 minutes after walking away we started feeling some little drops of rain. Liu Qiang stopped and said "xia yu" (rain). I told him I knew, but that it was xiao xia yu (small rain) and that we'd be fine and that in 10 minutes it would probably stop. He insisted on calling Linsen for some reason. I don't know how to say "I do not care if I get wet" but I told him it was ok for him to go back, after all I was just walking down to the shopkeepers place. He said it was ok and continued walking.

We reached the shopkeepers place without finding anything in the road. Several other people were there. I had brought the mandarin rat to show her. She doesn't have a problem with smaller snakes that don't bite. She held the Rhabdophis nuchalis but wouldn't hold either of the two large king rats back in June. As we sat there even more people showed up. One was an extremely tall Japanese guy. I was surprised to see him, given all the racism in the smaller towns. He said he had seen me at Pinqian a long time ago (referring to 26-28 June when Vanessa and I were there). They asked if I liked the shopkeep. I told them that I thought she was a pretty woman. They kept saying stuff like "just one night!" "no no no, I just think she's pretty, that's it. It doesn't mean anything more than that." After hanging out for half an hour the rain started to get heavier. Liu Qiang called Linsen to see if Mr. Ye could pick us up. I was half-way inclined to just drop off my camera bag and walk back in the rain to see if anything was crossing, but if anything was crossing we'd see it in the car headlights anyway, which were better than a tiny headlight, so I didn't protest.

When the car arrived we said our goodbyes and headed back to the station.

26 August

Linsen said we wouldn't head back until after lunch. I went out to photograph the larger "Rana flavisagittalus." And spent the rest of the time updating google earth and making some diversity graphs of all the field stations. When it came time to pay the bill I asked Linsen how much. "you pay 120." "Are you sure? I think it should be closer to 100. I never had breakfast, 2 dinners, 2 lunches, and 3 nights stay, that equals 100." "Ok, 100." I gave the cook my money and went to sit outside. She came back with 40 Yuan and Linsen said "Mr. Ye said they will not accept your money for the meals." I asked Linsen where Mr. Ye was so I could thank him.

We had lunch, Mr. Gu attended this time. It was nothing unusual or spectacular, just the typical spread. After lunch we started the long way home, about four hours. I was very tired when we arrived in Muyu for some reason.

Flipping on the TV, longing for Independence Day, just to be let down, I came across Godzilla (the American one) - but of course it was in Chinese. This, however, was also a movie I could enjoy without really hearing or understanding the dialogue.

On the drive in Xie Dong said that the Visa went through fine. I guess I'll pick it up on Monday when the reserve is open. Today is Sunday. I was originally planning on heading to Pinqian for 2 or 3 days, then returning to Muyu for the remaining time, spending a day at Caiqi. Maybe I'll go to Caiqi on Monday and then head to Pinqian. Including today, I have 8 days left in Muyu...

Pictures are on Photobucket

Previously in this series:

Snakes On The Plain: Kevin in China
Kevin in China, part 2: Three Kinds of Natural Beauty in Jiuchong
Kevin in China, part 3 - The First Westerner in Town
Kevin in China, part 4 - Snakebites as a Daily Hobby
Kevin in China, part 5 - His Legend Preceeds Him!
Kevin in China, part 6 - The Mystery Snake
Kevin in China, part 7 - Bit By Snakes? Get Used To It!
Kevin in China, part 8 - The Dance and The Snakes
Kevin in China, part 9 - What Really Happened That Night, or, The Night Of Too Many Toasts!
Kevin In China, part 10 - "the poison of that snake, is not dangerous to people?"
Kevin In China, part 11 - How to avoid getting married in China, or, women are more complex organisms than venomous snakes
Kevin In China, part 12 - Chinese Ebola, or, Getting the Taste of Chinese Medicine
Kevin In China, part 13 - Back To Herping
Kevin In China, part 14 - The Lure Of The West: McDonalds and Chinese-dubbed Tom Cruise
Kevin In China, part 15 - Beijing
Kevin In China, part 16 - It's not easy to catch a swimming frog
Kevin in China #17 - Drinking liquor with a snake heart makes your eyes clear

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Kevin is back in the field, catching herps with abandon... Return to Muyu 7 August My first day back to the great town of Muyu. No more pizza, no more burgers, no more fries, no more cold beverages, just curious friendly faces. Linsen appeared in my room around 9am almost as if he hadn't missed a…
The adventures continue. It's like Steve Irwin, but without the cameras. Last Leg (of Shennongjia) 27 August Watched some made-for-TV movie (in English!!) with the chick from the TV series "Weird Science" and the movie "King Pin." My plan for the next few days was to go to Pinqian for 3 or 4 days…
Kevin has only 5 more days in China so, apart from rain, various farewell dinners are keeping him too busy to do much collecting. Except, this time, it is a different kind of herping altogether, watching the alligators at a farm and diving for turtles. Anhui 4 September My last complete day in…
Here is the fourth part of Kevin's journey. I have just realized that I posted the previous two in the wrong order, thus post #2 should be third and post #3 should be second. I was going by the order in which I received them instead of dates in the journal. And I am doing these things late at…

Dr. Stanford at California helped me ID the frog with the stripe. It is Rana tenggerensis and is known from Ningxia Province, which he says is far far from my location. So thanks. Still needing help on Frog B though.