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    • IPS BIENNIAL - SARAWAK / SINGAPORE JUNE 12-19   01/23/2016

      STILL TIME TO REGISTER!!
      Don't miss this opportunity to hike through natural forest areas of Borneo to see palms in habitat led by expert guides. Experience the culture and cuisine of this exotic Southeast Asian country with fellow IPS travelers.
      In Singapore you'll experience the world's largest covered garden, Gardens by the Bay, and tour the venerable Singapore Botanic Garden. 
      You must be an IPS member to register, so sign up today. For more information click HERE (For more info of past biennials and member experiences see the BIENNIAL FORUM on Palmtalk.)   One of the exotic palms of Borneo
    • NEW FORUM - PALMS IN POTS   01/23/2016

      CHECK IT OUT BELOW I think it is self explanatory - it's right below the COLD HARDY PALMS FORUM.

When Virtual & Real Worlds Collide

173 posts in this topic

The first few days of the biennial were totally engrossing. My expectations had generally been exceeded and each morning I looked forward to the days adventure. The trip to Carara National Park took us through a very scenic area. In the first photo note how the steep slope is terraced to make it more useable.

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We slowed down as we crossed this river to catch a glimpse of the crocodiles that inhabitated the sandbars.

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As we went through the various towns churches were omnipresent. The town square was normally close by.

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When we arrived at Carara National Park I spotted these bees that were attracted to this Musa flower.

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This brightly colored bromeliad was present in significant numbers.

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After the lushness of the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Arenal Tram, Carara National Park was quite different. It's importance springs from it being a transition forest, representing the dry tropical forest of the Pacific North and the moist forest of the Pacific South.

One of the first photo ops was this tree with enormous buttresses. Because of shallow roots and poorly draining soils, these tall trees require additional support and this is provided by the buttress, which is directly porportional to the size of the tree.

Bo and Andre

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Angela and Dean

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This may give an idea of the height and canopy of the tree.

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I guess I could have gone to greater lengths to improve the perspective of the photo, but I was still snake leery. Others, however, had no such problems. Way to go, Rod.

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Rod also provided human scale to the large trees. Vining plants can be seen throughout the forest. They climb the trees in the search for light. They can get quite thick and appear to be very strong. I don't think we saw anyone attempting to swing from tree to tree.

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Iriateas and Socrateas are sometimes called "Walking Palms". This tree looked as though if the neighborhood got too tough, it could change locations! Unfortunately if it was a mugging by a strangler tree, we would soon be say "Rest In Peace".

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Aerial roots could be seen on many of the Chamaedoreas.

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We did not see the variety of palms that we saw at other locations. The setting was also somewhat reminiscent of the forests that I sometimes explore in Trinidad, so I did not have many "Wow" moments. It was an enjoyable stroll in a scenic setting.

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Wildlife along the way.

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Rod also provided human scale to the large trees. Vining plants can be seen throughout the forest. They climb the trees in the search for light. They can get quite thick and appear to be very strong. I don't think we saw anyone attempting to swing from tree to tree.

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Bob, "Anyone"? or "Anything"? :)

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Dear Bob :)

lovely stills & nice coverage and a special thanks to you for giving us the visual delight in hi res mode... :)

thanks & love,

Kris :)

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One of Costa Rica's indigenous frogs that we finally got an opportunity to see in habitat.

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Chamaedoreas were somewhat abundant, many of them were over 15 feet tall, and many were loaded with fruit.

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This heliconia was about to open fully.

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We were not able to identify this interesting flower/plant.

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After our hike through the forests we congregated at the ranger station for a boxed lunch. If there was one aspect of the biennial that received a failing grade from me it was the boxed lunches. However, the attendees from the previous biennial regaled me with stories of their boxed lunches in the Dominican Republic, so I quietly ate my lunch and waited for the return to hotel. This outing was over relatively early, when compared to other trips, so on the way back to the hotel we stopped to shop for some souvenirs. Ryan referred to this location as a "tourist trap" and I must say that I was one of those who was "fleeced". I bought some colorful ceramic frogs that I had always wanted for about $33 each. The day before we left CR I was looking for some plastic bags for my cleaned seeds and someone suggested the souvenir shop a stones throw away from our hotel. I found the same ceramic frogs there for about $23. You burn and you learn ................

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The scene across the road. A nice Costa Rican country setting. The sign is touting Queso Palmito Especial, a Costa Rican cheese that is compared to heart of palm in flavor/texture.

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Some of the attendees were just hanging out and in the case of Angela enjoying a local beverage (coffee?). I noticed that she was wearing a necklace with an Om pendant - the Hindu symbol of peace. I struck up a conversation with her about her jewelry and discussed jewelers in Bali.

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Angela's bracelets. Sorry that the focus is a bit off.

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Not much more to add from Day 4. The drive to the Pacific lowlands was very scenic. On the return trip we saw one of Costa Rica's small cats as it crossed the road and sprinted up the side of a slope. If anyone got a photo then they will be the photographer of the biennial! But it was good to see this rarely seen animal. Other interesting things that came out during the trip was the source of Costa Rica's energy, which came out in the form of a quiz by our guide. La Hoagie was the source of most, ok all, of the correct answers.

Costa Rica's electricity is sourced mainly from:

1. Hydroelectricity. 1/10 of the potential is now utilized.

2. Geothermal

3. Wind power

4. Solar power

5. Carbon fuels.

The guide stated that carbon fuels only provided 2% of CRs electricity. I found this a really low figure. Great if it is true.

I took the fewest photos on Day 4. I will finish up with a photo of some Royal palms.

These Roystoneas were photographed at what was supposed to be at one time a home of Elizabeth Taylor. Not sure which husband is associated with the property .....

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One of the advantages of having a room mate who was in a different group was the option of discussing the day's excursions. Based on our conversation I was really looking forward to visiting Arenal Hanging bridges and viewing the active volcano. Because the of the length of the journey, the departure time was moved up to 7.00 am. After an early breakfast we set off. Not far from the airport we noticed a pickup that was loaded with Bactris fruit and other vegetables on its way to the market. As we looked out the bus window, the pickup's passenger enthusiastically greeted us. We had this Bactris fruit in several incarnations throughout the biennial.

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Once more the drive to our destination was very scenic. We went through many small towns that were surrounded by cultivated fields of coffee, cassava and other crops. Cattle ranching was also evident. There were many acres of ornamentals, some field grown, others under shade cloth. One area had many acres of dracena. I would like to revisit these areas in the future.

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The bullfight ring in the town of Tanque. Apparently this is the hub of social life in some of the smaller towns. Sorry about the composition of the photo, a moving bus is not always cooperative. That's my excuse and I am sticking with it.

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These cows seem more likely to provide milk or end up on a plate as opposed to the bullfight ring, but we did not stop to find out.

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Robert,

Really enjoying your excellent photos and commentary! :) And I agree, the boxed lunches left a lot to be desired. Something to consider in the future!

Bo-Göran

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Along the way the bus went over several JCBs- Jesus Christ! Bridges - my seatmate, Judy Kay had a bit of a difficult time looking over the side of the bridges. This became a running joke every time we came to a similar bridge.

More visually appealing to her was this rock formation that is similar to a recumbent sleeping man.

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By this time we were getting our first glimpse of the Arenal Volcano. The top was shrouded in clouds at this time, but we were able to make out that one slope was full of vegetation, while the other, the active side was bare. The first photo is not too great but shows the vegetation. Our guide stated that Arenal was one of the 10 most active volcanos in the world.

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Not far from the airport we noticed a pickup that was loaded with Bactris fruit and other vegetables on its way to the market. As we looked out the bus window, the pickup's passenger enthusiastically greeted us. We had this Bactris fruit in several incarnations throughout the biennial.

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Hi Bob,

The Bactris fruits are given the name of "Pejibayes" and taste delicious if accompanied with mayonaise. Indeed, the palm heart (locally called "palmito") is extracted from these palms and is used in a wide range of dishes. I found a Web site with a lot of recipes that include palmito or pejibaye as ingredients. :)

Adolfo

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Adolfo, thanks for the link to the recipes. Bactris' had better start watching their backs, eh, hearts.

Bo, thanks for the kind comments. I enjoy posting the pics. I enjoy the trip all over again. I am planning on getting back to Costa Rica soon, hopefully I will get to visit some of the areas I missed. I can see why Jeff in Costa Rica moved south.

As we drove through Tanque and the other small towns we spied several Cyrtostachys renda trees, many of them full of fruit. They seemed to be planted in public places such as church yards, hotels, apartment complexes and even private homes. While I made mental notes of their location, I spied another attendee making notes. I predict that at future biennials GPS equipment will be seen. Damn, I can see Moose Knuckle ordering his already.

The Arenal Volcano is a great example of taking advantage of what nature offers to your benefit. The volcano, apart from offering spectacular sights, is apparently the driving force of tourism in the area. I spied numerous boutique hotels, such as Montana de Fuego Hotel and Spa , many with attractive casitas where I would love to stay.

As we approached the base of the volcano we drove by one of Costa Rica's numerous hydroelectric projects. It was possible to take boat tours, fishing trips etc on the dam.

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As we ascended the slopes towards the volcano someone inquired about the number of persons living in close proximity to the volcano. Our guide informed us that in the event of a warning there should be a total evacuation within a specified period of time. I am not sure if he said 5 minutes. Whatever the period, during drills the simulations have not given anyone confidence that an effective evacuation can occur. I pray that the Arenal volcano does not have a major eruption for many, many years.

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At our staging area we got our first extended view of the Arenal volcano. After lying dormant for 400 years, the 1633 meters (5366 feet) volcano erupted in 1968 destroying 3 villages at its base. There are now 3 active craters which continue to increase the height of the volcano by about 20 feet per year. There was an observation deck which was a great place for taking photos.

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Yours truly, RainForestt Robert, aka Trinidad! Bob

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Kathryn, Craig and Johnny, our guide.

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Hi Kathryn, nice palm shorts. I found it fascinating how many attendees had palms on their clothes/jewelry.

The grounds of the staging area had its own share of interesting and attractive plants, including these:

Anthurium

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Gingers

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As usual we were divided into small groups, each with their own guide. Before we headed off I spied this sign. Guess how many of these directives were flouted? I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone brought their pets with them.......

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I don't Smoke, nor do I Somok either, So I missed THAT detail.

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As usual we were divided into small groups, each with their own guide. Before we headed off I spied this sign. Guess how many of these directives were flouted? I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone brought their pets with them.......

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What does "forbiden" mean?

And what is a "maximun?" :mrlooney:

That English is a lot better than my Spanish! :)

BTW nice pictures Robert (except for the one of me)!

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The suspension bridges of the Arenal National Park were a big hit with me. They were of various lengths and heights and were one of the many unforgetable experiences of the biennial. Many of them had "impact" names. As I traversed them I wish that I knew a little more about the maintenance record of these bridges. Last checked by ???? Sobriety level at that time ???? Actually knows what he/she is doing??? Wait a minute, we're in the tropics, No problems, No Worries Man. The bridges all held and we enjoyed swaying in the wind at heights that required safety harnesses, or at the very least a bungee cord!

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The initial sensation on being on the hanging bridges was akin to being on a rocking boat for the first time. Since I am a landlubber it took a while to adjust. The more individuals on the bridge the more the motion. Taking photographs from the bridge was quite difficult. Couple that with my, uh, fear of heights, I left several spectacular photos behind.

Here Patty Craft shows her method of handling the swaying motion of the bridge.

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Astrocaryum alatum infructescence

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This palm had been sacrificed in the clearing of the paths. Someone had not told it that it should just lie down and die.

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Phenomenal photos Robert!

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Just like at the Aerial Tram, Arenal offered the opportunity to view palms at ground and canopy level. Socrateas/Iriateas were everywhere .... The sun was shining from overhead, there were many shadows on the leaflets.

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Thanks Ray. When I play tennis and I look at the racket, my brother always tells me "It's not the racket, it's the player." With the photographs I have to credit the camera a lot.

More later.

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