POSTCARD from Mexico N14

 

(By Fernando Rivadavia, April 3 to 12, 2004

              

 

 

A TRIP THROUGH CHIAPAS & OAXACA

 

 

PART 1:  

             Between April 3-12, 2004, I drove ~4500km around southern Mexico, mostly through the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. This was my last trip in Mexico before returning to Brazil, the icing on the cake of the 6 months total I spent there, a great way to wrap it up and say ADIS to that fantastic country.

            Over 3 months have passed since I went on this trip and I hope I havent forgotten important details. I wish Id gotten around to writing this earlier, but life back in Brazil has been hectic. However if I do forget anything important, I have a few friends who can help fill in the gaps. After all I wasnt alone on this trip. Ed Read joined me in my Mexican travels for the 3rd time. Also, my good friend Joe Mullins from Ireland came along with his friend Helen Butler. Both are botanists/ geneticists and Joe is a CPer as well, having joined me in early 1996 on a 10-day CP trip in Brazil (a most memorable trip where we saw tons of cool CPs, including albino U.longifolia and my first ever U.nelumbifolia in the wild!).

            We squished into my small car and headed out early morning on Saturday April 3, driving ~1000km SE to the city of Villa Hermosa in the state of Tabasco, non-stop except to hitch a ride to and from a gas station when we were stranded without fuel, hehehe! We arrived still on time to check out the Parque-Museo La Venta, an excellent open-air mixture of park, botanic garden, zoo, and museum with lots of interesting Olmec sculptures, including huge stone heads!

Out of gas !

Photo : Ed. Read

A Giant Olmec Head sculpture.

 

Did you know that the Olmecs are now considered as the "mother-culture" of Mexico ?

 

More on the Giant Olmec Heads can (and should) be read here : link.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

            The next day we continued SE toward the famous Maya ruins of Palenque, where we spent all morning admiring the fantastic architecture amidst tropical rainforest. After lunch we headed S, stopping at the famous waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol-Ha. We were hoping to see our 1st CPs of that trip in an area just N of Palenque, where supposedly several Utrics had been collected. But we didnt spot any suitable habitats there nor around the waterfalls.

The water falls of Agua Azul.

Photo : Joe Mullins

The water falls of Miso-Ha.

Photo : Joe Mullins

            Just after dawn the next morning we did find our 1st CP: the ubiquitous P.moranensis. It was growing on N-facing banks by a roadside just outside the town of San Cristobal de las Casas, at ~2175m altitude. It was quite dry and only winter rosettes were present. We only spotted these because there were flowers and what nice flowers! Of all the numerous blooming P.moranensis Id seen in Mexico, none had such a rich dark pink color.

San Cristobal de las casas

Photo : F. Rivadavia

P.moranensis growing on N-facing banks by a roadside just outside the town of San Cristobal de las Casas, at ~2175m altitude.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

" It was quite dry and only winter rosettes were present. We only spotted these because there were flowers and what nice flowers! Of all the numerous blooming P.moranensis Id seen in Mexico, none had such a rich dark pink color."

Photo : F. Rivadavia

P.moranensis flowering from the winter rosette.

Photo : Ed. Read

P.moranensis flowering from the winter rosette.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

A winter rosettes of P. moranensis.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

" Of all the numerous blooming P.moranensis Id seen in Mexico, none had such a rich dark pink color."

Photo : Ed. Read

            From San Cristobal we drove SE towards another famous tourist spot, the Lagunas de Montebello, a series of beautiful lakes varying in color from emerald green to turquoise blue. Other than the beautiful scenery and rich local epiphytic flora, our passage through the Lagunas de Montebello was completed by yet more P.moranensis with lots of dark-pink flowers, similar to the ones wed seen near San Cristobal. These were growing at ~1550-1600m, all the way from the roadside down to rocks next to one of the lakes, mostly semi-shaded by pine forests on N-facing slopes. Both winter and summer rosettes were present, some varying from yellow-green to reddish.

Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

Ed. posing near a population of P. moranensis. 

Photo : F. Rivadavia

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo :Ed. Read

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : Ed. Read

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : Ed. Read

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

 

Pinguicula moranensis from Lagunas de Montebello.

Photo : F. Rivadavia

 

            The 3rd day of our trip was not yet over and we still had a bit of driving to do. We continued driving S along the Guatemalan border, trying to get as close as possible to what would be our main objective the following day: isolated highlands around the small towns of El Porvenir and la Grandeza. Our hope was to find the elusive P.clivorum.

 

To be continued on POSTCARD N14 Part 2