The lodgings at Hotel Villablanca in Tehuacan proved so comfortable last night with excellent food, that we decided to stay another night.
Our first goal of the day was a newly opened archaeological site at Tehuacan Viejo. We were greeted on arrival by an army of …..soldiers. We were asked to go and register at reception where the girl was clearly impressed by the multinational make up of our party. Unusual for such a huge new tourist attraction all the signage was in Spanish and none of the guides or soldiers spoke English. We were told firmly that we would not be allowed to take our ‘Professional Cameras’ inside as they did not want foreigners steal images of their national treasure. So Chris, with his Sony Compact (excellent camera) acted as our official photographer, supplemented by images by Alain & Jonathan taken on their mobile phones.
The Archeological content was disappointing – piles of old rubble with the centre piece newly restored with fresh cement and plaster and paint. Alain thought that it looked like Lego Town. If I had been able to take pictures, they would have been ruined by heavily armed security guards making it difficult to imagine that we were not in some science fiction film like Planet of the Apes.
We did see some interesting plants, duly photographed at our request by Chris. The first was a tree with attractive flaking bark, covered in red flowers and with Tillandsia.. But wait a minute, these flowers were Fouquieria flowers, coming from the tips of the tree’s branches, but not from the Tillandsia. So which Fouqueria is it? Once I receive Chris’ images I’ll send them to Eunice for ID.
The second interesting plant was Ferocactus flavovirens – large heads, some 90+ heads to one plant! We’d see them again at later stops.
Stop#2 of the day was along MEX125, south of San Antoinio Texcala, AB658 in 2016. That time Alain reports finding Ferocactus recurvus, Cephalocereus columna-trajani, Myrtillocactus schenkii, and Echinocactus platyacanthus. This time, I also photographed Ferocactus flavovirens and Beaucarnea gracilis, the latter making a useful addition to the pachycaul / caudiciform trees seen when I was in Madagascar on the previous trip.
Stop #3: We arrived at the Jardin Botanico Dra Helia Bravo Hollis, set right in the middle of the densest stand of Cereus cacti I have seen – it easily puts the Argentinean Oreocereus forest to shame. Individually they are not the prettiest, most impressive plants in town, but en mass, they take a lot of beating! Just look at them and remember that they are all endangered species. The road to this place was the perfect road for the Dashcam and I sweated to get the thing working. All the right lights were flashing and the monitor was showing some extremely impressive images, but back at the hotel, the card was empty. It would have been the icing on the cake, but not mission critical.
I found the solution to this problem, The Dashcam came with a 32GB SD card and I thought that I had done the right thing by replacing it with a 64GB card. Wrong! Not compatible! I put the smaller card back in and everything is fine – until…. I managed to lose the tiny little card a few days latter! Aarrgghh! We are now hopeful in finding a replacement card in an Oxxo Shop!
Most of the Fero’s on our hit list were here, as well as some impressive Ponytail Palms (Beaucarnea sp.) plants. We walked in the heat up a steep stairway (to heaven?) followed by a walk along Fero alley to a view tower. Up to the top to film a 380 degree view, then back to the reception area for an ice lolly each, made of frozen cactus berries – mine were xlotl (?) berry juice. I knew that I should have photographed the wrapper.
The ceroids here were mostly Neobuxbaumia tetetzo. Fero recurvus and F. flavispina were there, as well as some very impressive Agave.
Alain asked us to make one more brief stop, at a Salinas, a place where traditionally salt was harvested from large pans.