Exciting plants

I finally got out of the house to the surrounding countryside a little bit, which did wonders for my mood. The girls were highly amused at my childlike wonder at many of the things they take for granted.

I saw my first bamboo tree which was very cool. It's a bunch of huge bamboo poles growing together like sheafs of grain piled on a field. The leaves which sprout from the top are reminiscent of willow leaves.

Did you know that coconuts actually have a fruit around them? They don't grow on the tree as you get them in the store -- those have had all the fruit removed. So the coconut tree in the front yard has big green, slightly oblong fruit on it, not little brown nuts as I was expecting.

Right around the house the ground is flat so I was astounded to find a sharp, verdant valley with a stream running along the bottom -- just a 5-minute walk from the house. The beauty of all the foliage took my breath away.

I saw a huge snail! His shell was almost as long as my hand and he was home. The girls again were surprised that I'd never seen a snail that big before. Apparently they eat them all the time here. I was less than excited to hear that but we'll borrow that trouble when it comes.

Cacao trees with cocoa pods on them were my next major excitement. They come in different colours not only depending on their stage of ripeness but also depending on their mood. I saw green ones, orange ones and purple ones. Johannes, the Scotts' cook, said that, like many others, his grandfather smuggled cocoa beans off the plantation to plant his own farm -- by eating the beans and passing them at home. Interesting, yes?

We passed a field planted with "groundnuts" (peanuts): the plants sprouted from long mounds of dirt heaped up as though bodies were buried underneath. Yes, it's another image from The Poisonwood BIble.

Oh, and pineapples. Who knew pinapples grew out of a yucca-like shrub? Certainly not me. I just assumed they grew on trees.

To my disappointment, none of these exciting fruits are in season yet. I guess rainy season is not the time for ripeness? I'm looking forward to trying all kinds of FRESH fruit this year, particularly mangoes. Apparently the ones we get at home are stringy and not very good. That sets an impossibly high standard for these guys I'm awaiting cuz I never had any complaints about the ones at home.

I wish I could describe all the plants here but you probably don't care as much as I do, and I think you really need to see it to understand what is so exciting, especially for a prairie girl like me.


lasselanta said…
You make me miss the rainforest!!

Oh, and I didn't think I was going to like the snails either, but they are actually quite good. Take heart. :-)
Rebs said…
aww...it's so funny to hear you describing things I thought everyone knew! just goes that I have no idea how different my worldview is from the 'average' north american. I usually assume I'm fairly normal.

ps. your blogs rock my life.

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