Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Road to Guerrero Negro

Current Location: Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur

As we have been traveling southward, we have been seeing a type of succulent that only grows here in Mexico -- the Cirio (Fouquiereia columnaris or Idria columnaris), or "Boojum tree." It's structure is often refered to as an "inverted carrot" because it is thick at the base and tapers to almost a point at the top. The Spanish word cirio means "candle" -- the plant was named cirio because it resembles tapered Mission altar candles. Obligingly, the plant's flower is like a golden "flame" blooming at the top.

As we neared Cataviña, we passed through a huge bolder field populated with a forest of cirio and cardón cacti (the tall, saguaro-like cactus):


Here is what the cirio "flame" looks like:

And here is what the leaves look like. In times of low moisture, the plant will drop the leaves so the available water can be concentrated in the white, bark-like trunk:

As we wind our way down to Cabo San Lucas, I have discovered some things and have been told some things:

  • It is not correct, or even polite, to refer to this peninsula as "Baja," but rather it should be called "Baja California." The word baja means "lower," so to call it just Baja is rather like calling New York, "New."
  • Cactus (nogales) and ham omelets are good.
  • Shrimp cocktail, served here as shrimp in lime marinade with onions, tomatoes, and cilantro (what I think of as shrimp cervice) is wonderful, especially from a street vendor who serves it in a huge margarita glass.
  • Hydroponic tomatoes are grown here in abundance making the prediction of Epcot's Living With the Land, that this was the way crops would be grown in the future, come true.
  • A truck can get it's tires changed while it is still pulling a two-tiered metal-grate cart, both tiers loaded with goats. I'm thinking it would be better, were I a goat, to be on the top tier.
  • Riding in an RV on a narrow road, with a drop-off instead of a shoulder just outside the white line, can be terrifying when inches separate you and oncoming traffic. John is doing a fabulous job driving, so it is not fair of me to make little "eeeeeee...." noises when an 18-wheeler comes barreling at us from the northbound lane -- but sometimes they slip out. I've learned it's often best if I just close my eyes.
  • Fence posts can be constructed from cactus ribs.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Great narrative -- and a wonderful location. I have not seen a native Boojum since I was last there in the late 1960s. I wonder how much it has changed? Keep the great trip reports coming.