2012年12月3日 星期一

Los Haitises is home to huge nature preserve

The water is indigo, then turquoise in the light of the rising sun. Behind, an emerald spit of land reaches for the sky, a green oasis,Directory ofchina glass mosaic Tile Manufacturers, punctuated by a few villas with roofs made of orange, fish-scale-like tiles.

From my balcony at the Gran Bahia Principe Resort on Cayo Levantado, a tiny island in the lee of the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic’s northeast corner, I watch a fishing boat floating lazily in the sheltered waters.

A Dominicano, in his brightly-painted wooden boat, is fishing for the catch-of-the-day.

When we embark on the water two hours later, our goal is neither snapper, nor grouper, but a two-hundred-plus-square-kilometre nature preserve. Los Haitises is a UNESCO-designated biosphere.

Our vessel, a sleek 28-ft. Scarab speedboat. A pair of 200-hp black Mercury outboar engines hangs off the stern. The motors roar, the boat smashes through the waves washing the Bahia de Samana. The shores ahead are devoid of human life. The water belongs to us.

In Januray, the bay will be crowded with tour boats whale-watching. But not today.

After a two-hour crossing, we approach the first of the Los Haitises islands and our skipper throttles back. The boat drifts lazily.

Los Haitises boasts some of the Caribbean’s most significant stands of mangrove and rainforest, seven hundred different plant species, an equal number of bird and animal species, and a collection of tall limestone islands that float above the water as though they are castles.

We glide into the shadow of a massive limestone cave, carved by wind and waves.

On board, two women have been showing off their Larimar and amber jewelry. I’ve been discussing the relative merits of Presidente beer and Brugal Rum with a Vancouverite named Frank. The boat clears a headland and the conversation dies.

Islands grow up almost straight out of the water. A surreal caravan of great camel humps of land plods toward the eastern horizon. They are clad in vegetation in many shades of green; liana vines hang down and sway in the wind from heights of 200 ft. The vegetation is so thick on shore, you feel like you’re in the middle of the Amazon.

Directly overhead nest a flock of frigate birds, throats red as Mcintosh apples. Off our beam, a hundred pelicans float on the water.

Our skipper guides the boat into a green tunnel, a mangrove swamp where the branches meet overhead, where the arching roots and glittering water make you feel as though you are entering the nave of a great cathedral. And we haven’t even seen the caves yet.

We head back to open water, turn toward unbroken forest fronted by a rickety dock, the lime-painted park office and a wooden boardwalk leading into the first cave.

Inside it is suddenly, wonderfully cool.

I scan the ceiling with my flashlight. A bat twitches and squeaks in complaint. A section of limestone roof has caved in ahead. Sun streams like a waterfall onto the cave floor, spotlighting stalagmites in the shape of sculptures in an art gallery. Dripping water sounds.

On one wall, we see our first cave painting: red and black, reminiscent of a kindergarten art project, but for the fact it’s graced this chamber since before Columbus got here. More than a thousand pictographs and more than two hundred petroglyphs have been located in the immediate area. Some seem downright innocent, some more ominous.

“El Brujo,” the sorcerer, is evocative of black nights when evil spirits roamed this dense jungle landscape. My imagination, coupled with my claustrophobia, overtakes me. I exit the caves at a quick-march and await my comrades on the dock.

Later, we make way on the boat for open waters. Winds blow at twenty knots. Waves roll and roil, flecked by white foam.A specialized manufacturer and supplier of dry cabinet, One of our party huddles in the stern,Our technology gives rtls systems developers the ability. her face buried in a plastic bucket. Our skipper grins maniacally, showing off a gleaming gold tooth. He jams the throttle forward.

The boat smashes the waves. My drink, a sweating Presidente, spills all over me. The boat’s bow rises up impossibly, crashes onto the flat behind an oncoming wave with a spine-jarring thud.

In the course of this tooth-rattling passage, Los Haitises grows smaller off our stern while Samana looms dead ahead,We mainly supply professional craftspeople with crys talbeads wholesale shamballa Bracele , and the beach of Cayo Levantado sun-bathes off our port bow.

A room with a view awaits me there with a hot tub next to a seaside infinity pool.

A playground called Samana lingers out there. It is less than a hundred kilometres from Punta Cana’s beaches as the frigate bird flies, but it is a thousand kilometres away in mood and atmosphere.

“They’re excited. They’re proud — as proud as Mennonite farmers can be,” Alderfer said, alluding to the Mennonite cultural and religious tradition of humility, rather than pride.

Drawings show the layout of the barns from the past — designed for a variety of animals on the bottom floor and grain storage on the upper floor. The grains were put there to be kept dry, Alderfer said. Threshing also took place on the upper floor, leading to that level being called the threshing floor, a term still used by some older people who grew up on farms, he said.

The video, “As the Land, So the People,” a part of the museum’s permanent exhibit, fits in well with the new exhibit, he said. Vintage pieces of small farm equipment are also included in the exhibit.

The Pennsylvania German Folk Art Sale and “Painting the Barn: Landscape Art Exhibit & Sale” also begin this weekend at the Mennonite Heritage Center.

“Painting the Barn” features paintings done by Perkiomen Valley Art Center and Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania members or participants in this year’s traditional oil painting workshops at the Mennonite Heritage Center, Sarah Heffner, MHC and MHEP director, said.

“Barns are, I think, a beloved part of our local landscape, and, as you can see, our artists have certainly picked up on the theme,” Heffner said.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of artwork in “Painting the Barn” will go to the Nyce Barn Project, in which a barn built around 1850 and now owned by Franconia Township will be moved to the Mennonite Heritage Center next year and reconstructed, she said.

The total costs of the work are not to exceed $165,000, of which the Mennonite Heritage Center still has to raise $105,000, according to a pamphlet about the project.

The barns depicted in “Painting the Barn” don’t necessarily have to be ones from the local area, but many have names identifying the setting with a family or location, Heffner said.

“Remembering the Farm” will continue to be on exhibit until next summer or fall, but some of the photos in it will change, Alderfer said. Photos of barns received with contributions of $250 or more to the Nyce Barn Project are planned to be added to the display.

“Christmas Market: Treasures & Traditions Through Time” runs 9:30 a.m.The term 'hands free access control' means the token that identifies a user is read from within a pocket or handbag. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Mennonite Heritage Center, Goschenhoppen Historians museum on Route 29 in Green Lane and the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center on Seminary Street in Pennsburg. Admission is free at each of the three sites.

“We all plan our own exhibits and displays, but we coordinate to create a really nice Christmas tour,” Heffner said. “We encourage our visitors to go to all three sites. It just makes a wonderful display.”

Along with the “Over the River & Through the Woods” photo opportunity featuring the sleigh and Currier & Ives, which will be available throughout the weekend, the Mennonite Heritage Center will have scherenschnitte demonstrations by folk artist Pam Rankin Hults Saturday, Dec. 1.

The Goschenhoppen Historians display will include a themed Christmas tree exhibit, “Christmas Garden,” with standard gauge trains, vintage Christmas collectibles and a bake sale.

The Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center displays include the “2012 Christmas Putz,” “Evelyn Schule Paintings,” “Dutch Deco: Pennsylvania German Design in the 20th Century” and “Miniature Millinery from the collection of Joan Nichols.”