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Archive for November 1, 2009

Sunday, 1 November 2009 – Lajaedo to Cambara do Sul

A bit of a frustrating day. Marlon had tried since Friday to contact a colleague at the University at in Caxais do Sul to discover habitat details of Parodia rechensis. The natural habitat of this plant was destroyed by the building of a dam with the plants now several meters below the level of the lake. His friend had found a small population of these plants and it was likely that apart from these plants (and the many in cultivation elsewhere in the world) the species was extinct in nature.

In the absence of the required information, Marlon suggested three stops that would take us to Cambara do Sul in the north east of the State of Rio Grande do Sul.

The most significant event of the day, with me driving, is that we cursed Marlon & Woody for leaving tarmac and heading off on yet another dirt track, only to discover to our embarrassment some 10 minutes later that we had been following the wrong Fiat Doblo ………. Ooops.

What to do?!?

We did not know exactly where the mix up had occurred so decided that we had only recently made the mistake with Marlon & Co disappearing down an alternative track. But then they would have waited at various points where it was less than obvious which way to go. And they were not. So back to the the main road where we sat for some 30 minutes opposite the petrol station where we thought that they had turned off. I suggested that Marlon and Cliff walked to the petrol station to discover at least where we were and how we would get to places that Marlon had mentioned to the crew in the other car. While they were busy making not much sense to the staff at the petrol station, Woody & Co appeared along the main road. They had realised that they had lost us, turned back, not knowing where they lost us, just as we were pursuing the ‘other dirt track’ option, so missed us. They had rightly expected us to sit tight at the last point where we lost contact and so, after not finding us after a reasonable time, came back to find us.

The whole sage could have been avoided if our walkie talkies had been working, but our batteries went flat because our set was left on overnight. New batteries were bought at the petrol station! (although they only had 3 sets of 2 and 4×2 were needed).

Cactus Stops today were S1474, S1475 and S1476. 

S1474 was another road cutting with the low side of the road providing Parodia linkii and P. oxycostata. A pattern was developing, at least for this area. Spectacular because of the numbers of plants and the fact that they were in flower – oh, and because our car had missed them completely! Tiredness etc blah blah  blah. Again, other field flowers including members of the Verbanaceae and Asteraceae families provided additional interest, colour and megabytes of images.

S1475 was a waterfall in a national park where a footpath guided us through an Araucaria forest with huge Bromeliads growing on the trunks of the trees. The other vegetation on these trunks included the cacti Lepismium houlletianum, Rhipsalis sp. and many other mosses, ferns and orchids. Wonderful views of the waterfall provided the overall setting. Just a shame that the visitor’s centre did not sell ice creams of cold drinks. We try to tell it like it is!

S1476 was for a stop from Marlon’s records for Parodia brevihamata, at least that was the name when he last visited this location. We’ll have to check the New Cactus Lexicon to check the name that is currently in fashion.

We found accommodation at Fazenda Pandorama just outside the touristy Cambara do Sul in a part of the main farm designed to sleep four. So Wiebe and I slept on mattresses on the floor of the lounge while Woody and John shared one bedroom and Cliff and Marlon the other bedroom. Both Wiebe & I are of the school of Martini Sleepers (Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere – from a UK Martini TV advert from the 1970s), so no problems obtaining the recommended seven hours of shut eye. Cliff, struggling with collapsing toilet seats, may tell a different story.

We finished the evening with a strangely out of place Swiss Fondue evening, washed down with volumes of beer. Great day, yet again! Will I ever get fed up with this way of life? I hope not.