Wednesday, November 25, 2009

South America Day 7: Puzzlin'

On the way back to the coast we stopped for a shopping opportunity in the teeming metropolis of Aisen:

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This used to be a shipping town, but its harbor was lost to silt about 20 years ago. The population is shrinking a bit as a consequence. This hasn't stopped the political campaigning, which is still intense:

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One placard we saw from the bus was actually larger than the house it was leaning against!

The shopping available in Aisen was not inspiring, but I was delighted to find a monkey puzzle tree that I could look at up close.

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This is the national tree of Chile, and it is a very primitive tree - a "living fossil". We drove past a couple back in Santiago but we couldn't get in close to see the bizarre leaves:

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They're a couple inches long, stiff and sharp like daggers:

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They got their name because "it would puzzle a monkey to climb it"!

1 comment:

goldiebug said...

wow, that's neat! I'd never heard of that tree before. It looked very succulent, like a cactus.