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Monthly Archive for September, 2008

Accessing the rainforest

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Manu National Park

Aggressive trees – Egrets, Caiman and butterflies – Hot monkeys – Insects everywhere – Impact of tourism and accessibility

With gigantic roots like sails, the kapok tree stands upright by reaching very far but not deep to search for nutrients in the top layer of the earth. The strangler fig embraces its host tree for support until its own roots are strong enough, then eventually strangles it. The “walking tree” has stilt like roots that actually allow it to move a few feet in search of precious nutrients. Some palms grow spines on their trunk to fend off animals while their fruit develop. These fall off later when the fruit are ripe and the tree is ready for pollination. Other trees host fire ants for protection and woe betide anyone who comes within (ant) jumping distance of the tree!

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Nazca Desert

Desolate lands – Dutch lieutenant – Peace Keepers – Destiny – Freedom

On the way to Nasca we traveled with a Dutch couple from the eastern part of the Netherlands. We traversed some of the most desolate lands in Peru. This arid region sees very little rainfall and is home to some of the strangest monuments on earth. Fantastical creatures are etched in the pampa and a huge candelabra has been drawn in a mountainside that is best seen from the sea. The landscape of mystery and the desolation provides a great stage for conversation and debate.

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Less than “normal”

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The paradigm of the “normal” – Defeated by the “normal” – Lessons learned – Dick Wurm – The Santa Cruz trek

“Normal.”Usual”. “Average”. I do not like these words. They imply conformity, exerting a gentle pressure on those of us that do not (or cannot) conform. It is epitomized by the “American Dream” – Normally, people of our age have a five bedroom house with three cars and two kids. And everyone’s dream is to surpass the “normal”.

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Beer and water

“I’ll have water with my beer” – Fellow traveler at a Peruvian restaurant.

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Over the Mountains

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Glacier, Cerro Pisco

Not an old friend – Large Seracs – Tough hike – Supine form – Dangerous in many ways

I have a very different relationship with the mountains than I do with the ocean(link). Having spent much more time in the mountains I have seen first hand their various moods and I am much more respectful of them than the ocean. I would never call a mountain a comfortable old friend – it is far too tempestuous and moody. Mountains are far more beautiful than the ocean, but more deadly. Maybe it is because I became familiar with the ocean as a child, while I was already a sceptical adult when I got to know the mountains. A child finds fascination and wonder in everything while the adult opinion is tempered by the fear of downside risk.

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