Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Most of the roads in Trinidad are crazy and the mountain roads are on steroids crazy.  Every time I suggest to Nettie that we go into the mountains she goes white with fear and I must admit the narrow, steep and winding roads are not to be taken lightly.  It was on such a road that the missionaries had a head-on collision with the Porsche - see a previous blog. 
The Asa Wright Nature Center road was less crowded and slower driving so it wasn't bad. 

Here it looks mild and beautiful as it winds it's way up the mountain.  The foliage is spectacular and the road is canopied by it.  The road is asphalted but the picture above doesn't show how narrow it is.
Part way up the mountain you start to appreciate the grade that they had to cut through the hillside to make the road.  There were a couple of turns where a warning sign was posted "dangerous curve".  One of the few signs we saw.  In Utah we are alerted by every curve left, right or switchback.  And of course speed limit signs.  Trinidad doesn't believe in signs.
When we came into a clearing we saw rolling green mounds and on closer inspection we saw that they were vine covered nets supported by posts.  The vines formed a green canopy.
Still hard to see in this picture.  You had to be about 4 to 5 feet tall to walk under it and the underside was a mysterious green tent with hundreds of stick poles with the beautiful green netting of vines.  Under the vines was a green squash-like fruit about the size of a real fat cucumber with a dark green skin.  I suppose they are more like a small green squash with a very deep green skin - nobody could guess what they were.  We have had several new and unusual fruits since we've been here and I suspect this is something we haven't tried before.
Very steep and somewhat dark and mysterious down there under the canopy.  We didn't see any workmen harvesting the fruit.
There could be a dozen workmen under there but you wouldn't see them - the ground is about 5 feet below the green carpet.
A little bed and breakfast cottage in the Asa Wright compound of buildings.  We think it would be a good place to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in September.
Lipstick flower or Columnae Scandens
 I bought a flower guide but with so many varieties it's difficult to name them.
Heliconia or Lobster Claw
Even the visitor's center was brimming with exotic cut flowers. 
Green Honeycreeper
The birds were all around us but almost impossible to photograph.  A few of these we took and some of them had to come out of a Birds of Trinidad website.

Yellow legged honey creeper or Blue Dacnis 
I really don't know for sure - hard to identify clearly.  I understand that bird watchers come from all over the world to see the birds of Trinidad.
 The birds were no less colorful than the flowers.
An amazing array of every color you can imagine.
Heliconia from a bright red/yellow to soft pink white
Lobster claw Heliconia

The guide called this a pineapple flower
When the flower is gone and it is in seed it does look like a pineapple.
I believe this is a Bananaquit
The Tufted Coquette 
Bee-like in size humming bird and impossible to photograph. 
Had to take a picture off the web to appreciate it.

Tufted Coquette
Spectacular little humming bird.

Green Honeycreeper
There were numerous humming birds which were impossible to photograph
Most of the flower colors are in shades of red 

We were deep in the rain forest when I took this one.  The forest floor was covered with dead vegetation and here in the middle of it was this spectacular flower. 

The petals are very stiff and waxy and the flower head was about 8 inches

Pineapple flower with the base turning to seed
It probably seems like we spend a lot of time looking at birds and flowers.  We average around 9 hours a day in the office and the few trips into the mountains have kept us sane. 
I picked up an auditor from the Dominican Republic today and she is going to spend the next four days going over our financial procedures and writing a report.  I don't look forward to it and I suspect by the time Saturday comes I'll be exhausted.  We are still recovering from conference weekend.  We spent Saturday and Sunday in the Chaguanas Branch.  It was too far to drive so we were there for the sessions and the two hours between plus the driving time to get there and back.  I took my laptop and a projector and we were able to watch conference in their little chapel.  There weren't too many there but about five investigators attended and those that saw it were grateful for the opportunity. 
The Friday before conference we went to a protected beach and saw a giant leatherback turtle lay her eggs.  I will post the pictures of that on a future date.  We are more adjusted to the area and can now get around without too much difficulty.  We will move into our new apartment next week and we are looking forward to leaving where we currently are.  This Saturday, Steve & Markie will paint the living room and kitchen - I need to be more critical of their keeping a tarp on the floor and furniture.  The two bedrooms they painted look much better but despite my telling them to use a drop cloth, the carpet and blinds also got painted.
The trees are now beginning to blossom and hopefully I can catch some pictures of them.  When we were going to the office this morning, one huge tree that overhangs the road was raining pink blossoms.  The road was blanketed with delicate pink flowers.


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