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Bali’s Tanah Lot Sea temple

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Bali is one of the places that is a must see and should definitely be added to your list of places to be visited. It is one of the provinces of Indonesia that has been established by the merger of many small islands and also includes the isle of Bali. This island is home to the Hindu minority of Indonesia i.e. 92.29% of the island population is Hindu whereas the rest practice Islam.

Bali Tanah Lot Temple

Bali’s Tanah Lot Sea temple

It has been a tourist destination for decades and each year the number of tourists is increasing. Bali is famous for its breath taking attractions; the island is also renowned for its rich cultural heritage and rapid developments in the field of arts including activities such as painting, music, metal work, sculpture, leather and traditional dance.

Though it’s a small place and one day is enough to drive along the entire coast, but this one day would be worth remembering. You can enjoy spectacular views of the Virescent rice terraces or enjoy the ceremonies of the enchanting temples, you can enjoy surfing or climb the volcanoes and meet the Komodo dragons or you can just have some self indulging moments with a relaxing massage at a sybaritic spa. Bali has to offer something for everyone.

One of its most mesmerizing tourist spots is the famous temple of Tanah Lot. This enchanting temple is a work of nature and is a result of rock formation. It has great importance and serves as both tourist attraction and pilgrimage temple. Tanah lot is located 30km on the west of Denpasar town and almost 11km away from the south of Tabanan town. The entire rock, on which the temple is built, covers an area of 3 acres.

In Balinese language it is called Pura Tanah Lot (Tanah Lot Temple) means land in the sea and as the name suggests the temple resides on a big off shore rock that has been constantly shaped by the big tidal waves of the ocean.

Let’s have a peek at the history of this spectacular temple. In 15th Century a priest named Nirartha found the beautiful setting of the rocky island while traveling along the south coast and decided to rest there. The nearby fishermen saw him and brought gifts for him, he then spent the night on that island. In the morning he told the fishermen that he felt the big rock to be a holy place and a shrine should be built so that Balinese sea gods could be worshiped there.

Since that time the temple was built and secures a place in Balinese mythology. It is considered to be one of the seven sea temples surrounding the coast of Bali. All 7 temples are visible from each temple thus forming a chain along the coast in the south-west. It is believed that the temple is guarded by poisonous sea snakes from intruders and evil spirits; you can find them at the base of the island rocks. Some mythologists also believe that there is a giant snake created by Niratha’s scarf and its duty is to protect the temple.

As the temple is located on the shore it is prone to environmental damages, as large waves are constantly hitting it. In 1980 the face of the temple started to deteriorate and the area had to be sealed because of the potential danger. Funds were then provided by the Japanese government to Indonesian government to converse the temple and also to refurbish other significant buildings. So the Tanah Lot temple was renovated and was cleverly disguised by the artificial rocks.

Due to the development of tourism sector this area has been highly commercialized and you would need a ticket to enter this area. The path that leads to the temple is surrounded by Balinese market. This market is specially designed for tourists and provides them with souvenir that they can take back home for their friends and family. You will also find many restaurants nearby where you can eat while enjoying the magnificent views of the temple.

A sunset at Tanah Lot Sea temple, Bali

A sunset at Tanah Lot Sea temple, Bali

The best time to enjoy the spectacular views of this temple is at the time of sunset and often the temple is known as Sunset Temple. The other temples worth watching in that area are Batu Bolong Temple, Enjung Galuh Temple and Batumejan Temple.

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Clouded Leopard

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The beautifully patched, clouded leopard is one of the most mysterious species. So far the information that has been drawn about it is in captivity, as they are rarely seen in the wild. Though this specie is named clouded leopard but it is more closely related to lions and tigers. These species are rare and endangered and scientists have very little information regarding their population.

The scientific name given to the clouded leopard is Neofelis nebulosa, where Neo means new and felis means cat; these mammals belong to the family of Felidae. IUCN classified this specie as vulnerable in the year 2008. So far the total population size is known to be less than 10,000 mature leopards and this population trend is decreasing with not more than 1000 adults in a single population.

Clouded Leopard Image

Somewhere between the small cats and the big cats are the clouded leopards that make their home in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia

This unique Asian cat roams around from the Himalayan foothills of Nepal to the rain forests in Indonesia. You can find four of their species scattered from southern China to eastern Burma, and from Burma to Nepal. Sumatra, Myanmar, Malaysia, Java and Borneo are also having some of its species, in the past some species were found in Taiwan as well but now they are believed to be extinct. The clouded leopards found in Borneo are considered to be new cat species and also known as Sunda clouded leopard or Neofelis diardi.

We have noticed before how good the cats are at climbing but when we talk about clouded leopards they are best climbers ever seen. Their sharp claws and large paws can grip very tightly, so don’t be surprised if you see one hanging upside down from the branch of the tree. They have short but very powerful legs and ankles that are flexible enough to help them safely land from the trees to the ground in headfirst posture, just like squirrels. They are known to have very sharp eyesight that enables them to judge distances. Their long tails are used to maintain the balance of the body on narrow tree branches.

When clouded leopards hunt they attack their prey by leaping down on it from above. Scientists claim that these cats perform most of their hunting on the ground and their preys include pigs, deer, squirrels, birds and monkeys. These cats are also known for their sharp canines that are longer as compared to the size of their skull; also they are longest out of all the carnivorous wild cats existing. These sharp teeth help the clouded leopards to devour their prey.

Their social behavior is however unknown by the scientists and only a few assumptions have been made regarding their behavior. It is assumed that they choose to live solitarily. These animals are arboreal and spend most of the time in trees, and only come down on the ground for hunting.

The leopards are believed to communicate by various methods. Usually male clouded leopards spray their urine on various objects to mark their territories. On the other hand their cheeks have special sebaceous glands that help them to scent the markings made by other leopards, by rubbing their cheeks against the sprayed objects.

Clouded Leopard Image

The length of clouded leopard from head to body is 24 to 43 inches and the tail measures about 24 to 36 inches

Greeting calls are made with the help of high pitched chuffs and meows, location calls require loud meows and they can be heard over a distance of up to 100 meters. To threaten the other leopards and animals aggressive growling is a norm. These animals are also believed to communicate by making markings on the trees using their claws.

The length of clouded leopard from head to body is 24 to 43 inches and the tail measures about 24 to 36 inches. So in total its length can reach up to 6 feet that is relative to a size of a fully grown man. On average the females weigh around 25 to 35 pounds whereas male leopards may weigh up to 50 pounds.

There is a thick coating of fur that has cloud like patches on it, these patches are dusky-grey in color; the fur is found in dark grey, brown or pale yellow color. There are black spots found on the ears and head, and black stripes on the cheeks.

Clouded leopards reach maturity at the age of 26 months. Their gestation period varies from 85 to 93 days and there are 1 to 5 cubs born in a litter. Females give birth once a year. Right after their birth, the cubs are blind and helpless for 10 days. On average they weigh around 5 to 10 pounds. It takes 10 months for young leopards to start their lives independently. The life span of clouded leopards is unknown in the wild but in captivity they are known to live for 11 to 17 years.

Although the Rukai people of Taiwan considered these leopards to be sacred and believed them to be their spiritual ancestors but still they hunted them for their beautiful pelts. These leopards have become extinct in Taiwan because of this reason and also because of deforestation. They are also hunted illegally for their use in Chinese medicine.

Their only hope is the defenders of wildlife who have passed legislation in April, 2009 to protect 15 species of wild cats including the clouded leopards. The bill is yet to be approved by the US senator.

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Finger Monkey – Pygmy Marmoset

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Can you hold a monkey on your finger? Yes it is true the finger monkey is small enough that you can hold one just by your finger. Now we know you must be thinking that it will be almost impossible to find one. Wrong again, though rare but it is one of the most common types of monkey that you can have as a pet. Again it might sound strange to keep a monkey as a pet but currently it is becoming a popular choice. Before you plan to keep one it is important for you to have a sound knowledge of this animal.

The scientific name for the finger monkey is pygmy marmoset and is grouped among New World monkeys. The Pygmy marmosets are believed to live for 11 to 12 years in wild but in captivity the may reach to an age of early 20s. Most commonly you will find these species in rain forests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia on high altitudinal areas of up to 200 to 940m. The finger monkeys are different from the typical group of marmosets, so it is classified under its own genus known as Cebuella pygmae.

Finger Monkey

Finger monkey is the smallest existing true monkey

The finger monkeys are held under two groups:

  • Cebuella pygmaea pygmaea also known as Western pygmy marmoset
  • Cebuella pygmaea niveiventris known as Eastern pygmy marmoset

Finger monkey is the smallest existing true monkey. Its body size ranges from 14 to 16 centimeters that is 5.5 to 6.3 inches approximately, excluding the long tail that reaches a size of about 15 to 20cm (5.9 to 7.9 inches). The female finger monkey weighs around 120 grams that is 4.2 oz approximately and the male weighs about 140 grams that is equal to 4.9 oz. These monkeys walk on 4 limbs like other monkeys. Because of their small size these monkeys are also known by their nick names i.e. mono de bolsillo meaning pocket monkey and leoncito meaning little lion.

In forests the monkey has a special diet; it feeds on tree gum of usually 1 or 2 trees, with their entire group. When the trees become depleted the group moves on to the new trees. Arachnids and insects also serve as foods for the finger monkey.

These animals live in groups having 5 to 9 members with 1 to 2 male and female adult monkeys. The female gives birth twice a year and usually twins are born, all the group members support each other in bringing up the babies. The young finger monkeys stay in the group for two birth cycles occurring consecutively. These monkeys communicate using vocal and physical signals. Usually to communicate over a short distance finger monkeys trill. For a medium distance J-call technique is used, where repeated fast notes are made by the caller. To make the family aware of danger a sharp whistle is made.

OK NOW LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS!

  • How much a finger monkey would cost you? When you are planning to buy one keep a budget of $1500 to $5000 in your mind. The price of the monkey will vary according to the age and physical condition of the monkeys, not to forget the price also depends on the breeder who is selling the monkey.
  • Log on to DomesticSale.com, here you can find finger monkeys ranging from $1800 to $3,000. The site allows breeders to post their animals for sale and gives you an opportunity to buy them.
  • Once you have bought the monkey now let’s focus on the additional charges for keeping a pet like a finger monkey. You’ll need to feed it foods such as fruits, flower nectars, insects and even smaller lizards (gross!). The food would cost you $35 to $75 per month (that’s reasonable enough).
  • As we have mentioned earlier that these monkeys are social animals, it is highly recommended that you buy at least two of them. Don’t buy monkeys with opposite sex in order to avoid reproduction. But if you are a breeder then make sure you get a couple.
  • So how will these monkeys reach your door step? Of course you will have to pay additional charges for the shipment. Now the shipment fee varies from $100 to $300 through an airline, also charges vary according to the place of your dwelling.
  • You will also need some additional information regarding how these monkeys should be handled. By joining a proper training class you would be able to look after your pets more efficiently.

WHAT WOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR MONKEY PACKAGE?

  • Once you have paid the money you will get a cute little monkey with a body covered with black or tan fur. Some have furs like that of a lion mane (now you know why it is called tiny lion). The underbelly area of this monkey is white in color. Almost forgot to mention the almond shaped innocent eyes.
  • Once the finger monkey will grip and hug your finger tightly the bond will be made for ever, you will instantly fall in love with this little creature.
  • There are chances that when you will buy one, it will be equal to 5 inches but this size wont remain forever. Within 2 years time it will reach adulthood and the size of the body will also increase up to 12 inches.
  • Usually you will get a 3 months health guaranty if you will buy it from a well reputed breeder, along with food, toys and training guide.
  • There is a possibility that you may have to toilet train your finger monkey and even need diapers for them (we hope you might find diapers that small).
Pygmy Marmoset

You will get a 3 months health guaranty if you will buy it from a well reputed breeder, along with food, toys and training guide

THINGS TO ENSURE BEFORE BUYING ONE

  • In many states keeping a finger monkey as a pet may be illegal. So always check your state law policies regarding pets like monkeys, because your pet monkey can be the reason for your own imprisonment.
  • Before buying one please make sure that you get it from an authentic breeder and kindly ensure that it is good in shape and does not have any kind of disease.

How long your monkey lives would totally depend on you. If you take good care of your pet its life span may range from 15 to 25 years. Overall these complex animals need a lot of care and attention.

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The Peacock Spider – Maratus Volans

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Peacock Spider

Seems like spider peacock is somewhat inspired by a male peacock

How far would you go to attract the opposite sex? A tiny creature like the peacock spider might teach you some tricks. It is not a new phenomenon where males display themselves for attracting the best female mates. Even the birds like peacock follow the same routine when it comes to attracting females; they display their colorful wings and perform their joyful dance that is truly fascinating to watch. It seems that the spider peacock is somewhat inspired by a male peacock. Let’s find out how.

The peacock spiders are scientifically known as “Maratus Volans” and commonly called the Jumping Peacock Spider.  They belong to the family of Salticidae i.e. the jumping spiders. So far these species are only found in New South Wales and Queensland. Although Australia is known for a large species of spiders but this one is very little in population. Out of 20 species of Peacock Spiders only 8 have been identified so far.

These spiders grow up to a size o f4 to 5mm and have spectacular colors that shimmer. Their size is so small that almost 10 spiders can fit on your fingernail. You’ll find them in red, blue and green colors. Usually the area of the head and breast is dark in color with red stripes, the upper area of the abdomen is found in red, blue and green colors. Why it got its name peacock spider? Not just these spiders have inspiring colors like that of a male peacock but also they have a colorful flap or cape around the abdomen which the male spiders raise to attract female spiders.

Peacock Spider

These spiders grow up to a size o f4 to 5mm and have spectacular colors that shimme

In the past this spider was also called “gliding spider” and it was believed that the flap helped them to fly in the air. It was only found out recently that this spectacular flap is used for the mating ritual only. Normally, the flap remains closed and attached to the abdomen but as soon as the male spider lays his bulging eyes on a female mate the spider spreads its cape and waves it with the help of its third pair of legs, in order to grab her attention. The male spider constantly vibrates his abdomen to move the raised flaps and dances from one side to another, and slowly approaches the female while dancing.

There is not just one female spider that is attracted, but the spider repeats his mating dance over and over again because it has the capacity to mate with several females at one time. The more females it can impress the more chances there would be for the continuation of its species. The rule of nature applies to these spiders as well where the fastest and the fittest have the highest chances for passing on their genes, successfully.

However, if they somehow fail to impress their female mates, then the male spider serves as food for her. Scary, isn’t it? Dr. Jurgen Otto an Entomologist from Australian Institute of Marine Science explains, “If he’s not doing the right thing, the female might think he’s not the right partner”.

These creatures are so small that it would be almost impossible to view their mating dance without a microscope. The first person to discover this amazing creature was Octavius Pickard-Cambridge in the 19th Century. He states, “it is difficult to describe adequately the great beauty of the colouring of this spider”.

Some of the other species of this spider are Maratus Speciosus, Maratus harrisi, Maratus linnaei, Maratus mungaich, maratus amabilis, Maratus Splendens, Maratus Verpertilio and Darlington’s peacock spider. Maratus speciosus is also known by the name of Coastal peacock spider and is recently named as Saitis specious. It has orange colored hair which is only visible when the spider performs its courtship dance. This specie is commonly found in Perth metropolitan.

The specie Maratus harrisi was first captured by camera by Stuart Harris in December 2008, but for a detailed scientific description another specimen was required which was found after 3 years and now it is displayed at the Australian Museum. This specie is named after the photographer Stuart Harris, in order to honor him. These species are present at Booroomba Rocks, Canberra.

Maratus Verpertilio, well known specie of the peacock spider is famous for their flashing stomachs when they are having fights with other spiders.
When it comes to catching their prey these small creatures have sharp eyesight and their rapid movements help them to quickly pounce on their prey. Unlike other spiders these species do not catch their prey by making webs.

Peacock Spider

Peacock spider may get successful in grabbing attention of the people having arachnophobia

Dr. Otto also made researches about the spider’s behavior; he states, “The behaviour of this species does in a way remind me of a dog”, he adds, “You can see how the spider gets excited. You can see when it gets frightened and wants to run away. You can see all these emotions that the spider has.”

Although, arachnophobia also known as spider phobia is very common all over the world, but peacock spider may get successful in grabbing attention of the people having this phobia.

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Amazing Plants: Monkey Orchids, Rainbow Eucalyptus & Osiria Rose

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Sometimes nature produces such miracles that can be spellbinding for humans. It may have taken millions of years for the evolution to play its part in developing an enormous number of plant varieties. So far 300 to 315 thousand plant species have been known and still there are many species that are believed to be extinct.

Here we are going to view some of the plants that you may have never seen or heard about them before. These plants are weird yet beautiful in an interesting way.

Monkey Orchid

Monkey Orchid

Monkey Orchid gets its common name from its lobed lip which mimics the general shape of a monkey’s body

So you think only humans and animals have facial features? Think again because we are about to introduce you to “Monkey orchids”. Coming from the forest areas of south-east Ecuador and Peru with high elevations, these orchids were never seen or known to humans a few years back.

Though it took a lot of time to discover them but one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t have taken much time to suggest its name. A botanist named Luer gave scientific name to it Dracula simia in the year 1978. Why was it named so? If you will look closely you can notice how much it resembles the face of a monkey. The term Dracula refers to the long spurs of its sepals that look like Dracula fangs.

The colors of this plant ranges from grayish pink to red. Some claim that it has a pungent smell similar to feces while for others the fragrance is like that of a ripe orange. There are over 120 species of this plant mostly found in Ecuador. Other region where it is found includes Europe, Russia, Iran, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean. It gives flowers all year round that are 5cm in size. These orchids can only grow in captivity if suitably cold temperature is maintained and partial shade is provided, but still it requires a lot of care and tremendous amount of patience.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Image of Rainbow Eucalyptus, Mindanao gum or Rainbow gum

Rainbow Eucalyptus also scientifically termed as Eucalyptus deglupta is yet another colorful miracle of the nature. It might take time for you to believe that the colors of this tree are natural and not a work of some painter. It is also known by the names Mindanao gum and Rainbow gum and is naturally found in Northern Hemisphere specifically in New Britain, Ceram, Mindanao, New Guinea and Sulawesi.

How does it get its colors? It is famous for shedding its patches of outer bark annually. The inner new bark is green in color and as soon as it matures it turns blue, then purple, then orange and finally changes to maroon. The tree is evergreen and huge and reaches a height of 75 meters usually.

What is it used for? Well it’s a shame that this amazing tree is being used by paper manufactures, to make white paper. Philippines is the major producer of its pulpwood. The tree is also being used for ornamental purposes.

Osiria Rose

Osiria Rose

Osiria Rose

Flowers bless our eyes with their natural beauty and their sweet smell attracts everyone; but when we talk about roses they not just symbolize beauty but these flowers are also blessed with enchanting fragrances. Osiria Rose is one such kind of magnificent rose that can astonish you.

The beautifully shaded petals of this flower give an impression that they have been dyed artificially (though that’s not the case). Its petals are deep red from the inside and from outside they are silver- white in color, giving the flower a two tone color scheme. If you ever get to touch the inner red portion of the petals it will give a soft feeling like that of velvet and the white portion gives the feeling of satin.

The botanical name of this velvety rose is Rosa Osiria and the other name by which it is known is KORsir and Red blend Hybrid tea. It belongs to the class Hybrid tea. It was bred by Reimer Kordes in 1978 for the first time in Germany and was later introduced in France by Willemse France who named it “Osiria”. The Osiria plant is straight and tall and bears flowers in June till November. These plants reach to a height of 4-6 feet and are deciduous in nature i.e. they shed the petals of their flowers seasonally, when they fully bloom and takes around 2 to 5 years to spread.

How you can grow one? These plants can be easily propagated from softwood cuttings, semi-hardwood cuttings and by grafting. It should be planted in full sun and in well- drained soil. Dig a big hole and fill it up with good quality soil, spread the roots evenly and plant it in an appropriate depth. It is suggested that the base of the stem should be 5cm under the ground. Fill the hole with soil and press it with your feet. Water it well every day to get fully bloomed flowers. Also if you are interested in buying one you can get it for U.S. $18.95.

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Jabuticaba – Brazilian Grape Tree

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You may have heard the idiomatic phrase, “Sour Grapes” but the grapes that we are talking about are definitely not sour. They are the most easily accessible grapes ever, because no jumping or climbing the tree is required. Now where would you find one? As the name suggests the Brazilian Grape tree is found in the states of Minas Gerias and Sao Paulo, in the south of Brazil. Other areas where similar species of the tree are found are Argentine, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The most common name used for the tree is Jabuticaba. The other known names are Jaboticabeira, Jabotica, Guaperu, Guapuru, Sabará, Hivapuru and Ybapuru(Guarani). Its scientific name is Palinia Cauiflora and belongs to Myrtaceae family. “Jabuticaba” derived its name from the word Jabuti meaning tortoise in Tupian language and Caba meaning place. The other name, Ybapuru has been derived from Guarani language and means fruit producing a crunching sound when bitten.

Ordinary Jabuticaba Tree with no Flowers or Fruit

Ordinary Jabuticaba Tree with no Flowers or Fruit

So what do these trees look like? They are usually tall trees with a height ranging from 12 to 45 feet. Jabuticaba leaves are salmon-colored when young; as they mature they turn green in color. The white colored flowers are grown directly from the trunk of the tree just like all other cauliflorous plants. The tree usually bears flowers and fruits once or sometimes twice a year, but if it is irrigated continuously, flowers and fruits are borne all year round especially in tropical regions. It is a slow growing tree that requires moist and slightly acidic soil to ensure its best growth. However, these trees are adaptable to almost all kinds of soil; it can even grow satisfactorily on alkaline soils like beach-sand.

The tree can tolerate mild frosts and some of its species are more tolerant to cold temperatures. Most of the commercial cultivation taking place in Northern Hemisphere may result in very slow growth because the temperature requirements are not fulfilled. As mention before that Jabuticabas are slow growing trees, it may take 10 to 20 years to bear fruits if seeded and in case they are grafted the fruits may take 5 years to grow. Due to their slow growth they are often used as bonsai. The trees are highly intolerant of soils containing salt and even salt sprays may affect their growth. Though the trees can grow in conditions like droughts but would result in reduced fruit production and extensive irrigation would also be required in such areas.

The fruits grown on Jabuticaba tree can easily be mistaken with plums or red grapes; that’s how it got its name Brazilian Grape Tree. They are 3 to 4 cm in diameter usually with four large seeds. The fruits grow directly on the branches and main trunk that gives a distinctive look to the tree. The fruits have thick, purple skin that protects the sweet, gelatinous flesh that is pink or white in color. The fresh fruits only last for 3 to 4 days after being harvested. This tasty fruit is commonly available in the fruit markets of Brazil and are usually eaten fresh because of their short shelf life.

Jabuticaba Tree with Flowers

Jabuticaba Tree with Flowers, notice how the flowers are attached directly to the trunk

What are the health benefits of Jabuticaba fruit? The fruit has been able to gain as much popularity as grapes in the U.S. Since ancient times the sun dried skins of the Jabuticaba fruits are used for the treatment of various diseases such as asthma, hemoptysis, chronic inflammation of tonsils and diarrhea. The fruit is also believed to contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The sweet tasting fruit is now commonly being used in tarts and other baked products, jams, strong wines and other liqueurs. It is also used to make a refreshing summer drink which has a medicinal importance as well.

Jabuticaba Tree with Fruits

Jabuticaba Tree with Fruits which are also growing directly on the truck

Jabuticaba Tree with Ripened Fruits

Jabuticaba Tree with Ripened Fruits

The most amazing fact about this tree is that its fruits can be picked up straight from the trunk and eaten. You wouldn’t find fruits hanging on small branches but it would seem as if they are glued directly to the trunk and the big branches of the tree. Some viewers say that the fruits look like tiny insects crawling all over the tree. Also it is believed that it took thousands of years for the tree to evolve into the way it is today, enabling the small animals who were unable to climb the trees to have access to the fruit. These animals helped in increasing the population of the tree by scattering the seeds all over the forest.

If you ever get to visit South America make sure you take some time out to see these amazing trees. You can grow one too if you have a well heated greenhouse, though it will take a lot of years to grow but your effort would be worthwhile.

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Racetrack Playa – Death Valley California

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In the Eastern California lies the famous desert valley, The Death Valley. It is located in the Mojave Desert which is the driest land in North America and also the lowest. The area also holds record for highest air temperature i.e. 134 °F (56.7 °C) recorded on July 10, 1913 at Furnace Creek.

The valley has been inhabited by Timbisha tribe belonging to Native Americans for the past 1000 years. By that time the valley was also known as, “ Tümpisa” meaning “rock paint” in reference to the red ochre paint that is produced from clay found in that area.

In the year 1849, an English name, “Death Valley” was introduced during California Gold Rush. An amazing fact about the name of the valley is that prospectors and other people who crossed the valley in search of gold fields named it so, though only 1 death was recorded during the Gold Rush. Gold and silver were extracted during 1850s from the valley and later in 1880s borax was also discovered.

President Hoover in the year 1933 proclaimed Death Valley National monument as area under the Federal protection and this monument was designated as Death Valley National Park in year 1994, areas including Eureka and Saline Valley.

Sunset at Racetrack Playa, Death Valley

Sunset at Racetrack Playa, Death Valley

Nestled in the west of Death Valley National Park, between the Last Chance and Cottonwood ranges is the famous Racetrack Playa. Unlike any other racetrack this particular one contains a mystery within.

Why is it called Racetrack Playa? This area is famous for the scenic dry lakebed also called playa and sailing stones leaving track like imprints on the ground. It is a desert basin that temporarily serves as a lake that gets filled up with shallow water during rainy season and when the hot sun shines the water gets evaporated leaving behind a layer of soft smooth mud. Cracks appear as the mud dries out creating hexagonal mosaic patterns on the surface. These mosaics are almost an inch thick and 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Racetrack playa lies 3608 feet above sea level. It is exceptionally flat as the northern and southern ends have only a difference of 1.5 inches in height. Ubhebe is the highest peak surrounding it which is 5,678 feet high. The playa is almost 2 miles in width and 3 miles long. The beige colored mud surrounding the area is believed to be at least 1000 feet thick.

The route to racetrack begins from Ubehebe Carter and high-clearance vehicles are suggested for drive as the road is rough and uneven. The desert is fragile and therefore it is prohibited to drive off-track; moreover tracks left by vehicles remain there for years. The only natural vegetation found on the way includes 30 feet tall, Joshua trees that are often confused to be cactus plants. It will take only 20 miles to reach Teakettle Junction from where a straight road leads to the Racetrack playa.

Racetrack Playa, Death Valley California

What fascinate tourists the most are the secretly moving rocks on the dry surface of the playa that leave a long trail behind them

What fascinate tourists the most are the secretly moving rocks on the dry surface of the playa that leave a long trail behind them, without any animal or human intervention. These rocks are believed to move once in every 2 to 3 years and tracks that are left behind last for at least 3 to 4 years. Some rocks are believed to travel more than 1500 feet far.

No one has ever been able to see the rocks in motion and neither has it been captured by camera. However, many assumptions have been drawn regarding the movements of these rocks.

Some researchers claim that rocks are moved by strong winds in winters reaching a speed of 90 mph. Also there is little rain in winters that moistens the clay, making it slippery and enabling the rocks to move. The winds are directed from southwest to northeast and thus helps support this hypothesis as most of the trails are parallel to this particular direction.

Another assumption involves accumulation of rain water in the lake bed and freezing at night time forming a thin sheet of ice. The rocks get embedded into these ice sheets and then strong winds drag them across the slippery surface of the playa.

The tracks formed by the moving rocks are either straight or curvy and sometimes two similar tracks are formed side by side, giving an impression as if they are made by racing cars. Most of the moving rocks are equal to the size of a loaf and weigh up to 25 to 30 pounds. The heaviest rocks among them weigh more than 700 pounds and require a wind with a speed of 150 mph to set it in motion.

There are still many commentators who claim that the photos of the moving rocks are nothing more but digital fakes. There are also some who associate it with supernatural powers.

The place also offers opportunities for hiking lovers; the old miner’s 6 miles long trail to Ubehebe Peak and having an elevation of 1800 feet is an option worthwhile. Also some spectacular views of Racetrack Playa can be observed a short walk away from Grandstand parking area.

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Chamarel – Mauritius

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Pack up your bags because we have a perfect destination for your next vacation. Mauritius is known for its charming island and is nonetheless a paradise on this earth. This breathtaking island lies in the center of the Indian Ocean and is blessed with natural beauty. You can find amazing hotels hidden under the shadow of the magnificent trees of the rainforest; you can just enjoy the sun shining on the sandy beaches or just discover the astonishing marine life under the deep blue ocean. The place offers a lot of recreational opportunities such as historical sites and cultural events. Though it is the most developed island among the Mascarene Islands yet it is different from typical beaches with white sand, luxury hotels and spas. Why it is paradise on earth because it has to offer something for every person coming from diverse backgrounds. The island is also famous for its variety of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisines.

Mauritius is divided into nine districts, it consists of one city, four towns and 130 villages, out of these villages Chamarel is a must watch. The village is believed to be named after a Frenchman Charles Antoine de Chazal de Chamarel who lived in this village in 18th Century. Currently it has the lowest population i.e. only 700. The major attractions in this village are Seven Colored Earth, the Chamarel Falls and a park named Black River Gorges National Park.

Chamarel The Land Of Seven Colored Sand in Mauritius

Chamarel — The Land Of Seven Colored Sand

The Seven Colored Earth located in the south western part of Chamarel is famous for its colorful sand dunes. Since 1960s it has been successful in attracting tourists all over the world. We all have witnessed rainbows in sky but if you want to experience rainbow on ground then this is the place to be. There are a variety of colors of sand found in this area including red, purple, violet, brown, green, yellow and blue. The land derived its name from these seven colors. No natural calamity effects the colors of these sand dunes, neither these colors fade nor do these sand dunes erode. All they do is bless the viewers with their magnificent views.

How did these sand dunes come into existence? They were created by the decomposition of volcanic rocks also known as, “Basalt”; the volcanic rocks then cooled down over time and further the weather changes gave them a shape of small dunes. It is believed that Iron sesquioxides are responsible for red color whereas Aluminium sesquioxides are responsible for purple and bluish tones of colors.

Another mysterious fact about the sand dunes is that if you’ll try to mix all the colorful sands they will again get separated into different layers of colors. The most dramatic view of these sand dunes can be observed at the time of sunrise. You can also buy some colorful sand from Curio shop and share this unique gift with your friends and family.

Rhumerie de Chamarel Mauritius

Rhumerie de Chamarel is famous for its sugar canes, pineapples and other tropical fruits lined along the road leading to it

Close to the Seven colored Earth lies the famous Rhumerie de Chamarel. This Rhumerie is famous for its sugar canes, pineapples and other tropical fruits lined along the road leading to it. The guests can encompass a guided tour to the distillery and also benefit from a chance of tasting the best quality rum of Mauritius. Chamarel is also well known for its coffee, which has been grown in the area since 18thCentury introduced by French East India Company and is only available at Café Chamarel.

The Chamarel Falls is another amazing gift of nature bestowed upon this beautiful village. It has been formed by River St. Denis and has a height of 272ft. The falls are surrounded by thick vegetation and can also be viewed from Black River National Park. The Chamarel Falls are claimed to be the, “Best waterfalls in Mauritius”. You can also choose to have a look at the waterfalls from the upper deck located at Seven Colored Earth reserve. A swim in the shallow water at the bottom of the falls can also be enjoyed.

Mauritius Chamarel Falls

The Chamarel Falls is another amazing gift of nature bestowed upon this beautiful village

The Black River Gorges National Park is the largest park of Mauritius and extends over an area of 6,754 hectares. If you are a seeker of natural beauty then this park is the place to be and is a best choice for hiking and bird watching. The world’s rarest forest is also located in its vicinity. Moreover the hiking trip in this park also includes complimentary picnic lunch and the entire package is for 55 Euro per person.

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How to Grow Rainbow Rose

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The rainbow rose is a rose which has had its petals artificially colored.

 

These highly colorful “Happy Flowers” have been developed by a 41 years old Dutch businessperson, Mr. Van de Werken who dyes each bloom in colors of the rainbow. Dyes used in this process are extracted from natural sources i.e., plants which are latter absorbed by the flowers with their growth and get the same colors. Original Rainbow Rose is of seven colors of the rainbow and is the most popular rose in this category. However there are also other variants possible with combinations of red, pink, yellow, green and blue. Other color combinations are also possible, though black and white are impossible to make.

How To Grow:

The idea is to split the stem into several channels and dip each one in a different colored dye. Latter followed by a special process, that exploits the rose’s natural growth process – by which water is drawn up the stem – supplies and monitors the amount of dyes that reach each of the flower petal which results into a multicolored spectacular rose.

The best cultivator found after a lot of research was Vendela Rose, which is the only one that absorbs all the different colorants perfectly. Vendela Rose grows in the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador and is not scented. Beside roses, other cut flowers like the chrysanthemum, carnation, hydrangea and some species of orchids can also be colored using the same method.

Mr. Van de Werken, a successful producer of these multicolored flowers, is a flower company owner close to Den Bosch in Southern Holland. When he was questioned about this amazing idea of growing rainbow flowers, he answered that we were selling single colored flowers but the market for them took a dip which made me and my business mates started looking for some alternative which is equally acceptable and different. We finally came up with the idea of multicolored flowers.

The rainbow rose is a rose which has had its petals artificially colored.

These Happy Rose flowers can also be ordered from www.valueflora.com and are available for delivery within UK only. Single Happy Rose is worth £19.99 and a bunch of 12 flowers with free vase and chocolates is of £59.99