Friday, January 04, 2008

Walking Thru the "Jungle" in Chacala

I don't know why the areas of deep vegetation around Chacala are called the "jungle".
Well, it doesn't seem like "the woods", or the "forest", so maybe it's a good name. Chacala is surrounded by jungle, cattle range, fruit orchards, wild animals, birds, little monkeys (sometimes). The animals that I have seer are mostly smaller animals, similar to raccoons, possums, armadillos, and various cats. Some of which are pretty big. Bigger than I would want to me up face to face. The only time i was close to a wild cat there was a steel house door and heavily grated windows. He was very long and blank and tall. With huge claws and a long, thick tail. And big big glowing eyes. He was leaping about 12 feet into the air, trying to bat down the plastic garbage bag that was hanging from a beam over the patio. Scary.Anyway. Christmas Day I went for a nice walk up into the hillside above the south end of Chacala. Via path and dirt road. I was up there looking at three construction projects (ugh) and just looking around.There are orchards on that hillside. The guy who is trying to develop a 40 acre plot into rich people vacation homes has totally blocked off access to orchards (which are not on his land). Using stone walls. Very strange.
These three photos are of one of the fruits growing in the orchards. Another popular orchard fruit here is mango, and bananas. And there are papayas everywhere. Anyway. There are some very tall trees on that hillside, aside from the palms. I love this one, called a Limbo Gumbo. It looks like a peeling Madrone. If I sit quietly near these big trees, and be still, the natural sounds start up again. Bird songs and other sounds. And usually I end up seeing animals sleepings on tree branches, kind of hanging over the branches. And sometimes snakes wrapped arund the bigger branches. I have the feeling that when I am walking along and make noise, all the wild things hold their breathes, and stop moving, until they thing I have gone on by. But if I sit still and wait, they seem to forget about me and go about there business. I love that.

1 comment:

mcm said...

Hi Andee
The soursop, or guanabana (at least that's what it's called here in Yucatan) -- the fruit with spines -- is usually used here to make a drink. Is it widely available in your area? It seems pretty much confined to individual gardens here -- I don't see it in markets, usually.
The gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba) is called "chaka'" in Yucatan -- from the mayan words chak = red, and ha' =water (for the red latex-like sap it produces). It has a BUNCH of medicinal uses, in traditional yucatecan medicine -- for skin, urinary, digestive .... well, just about any type of ailment. I got these details from the publication "Illustrated guide ofthe representative coastal flora of the Yucatan peninsula" (authors: Castulo Chan Vermont, Victor Rico-Gray, & Jose Salvador Flores) -- Volume 19 of the Etnoflora Yucatense series published by the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (conveniently the text is in BOTH Spanish and English).