After Cook "discovered " this land in the 1770's (along with
scores of other Pacific
places) it began to take on a British feel with all those "jolly
old English" sounding names. And then when the colonization of
North America took a bad turn - the notion of using this huge piece
of land as a place for people to escape the then poor state of
the British economy, seemed like a grand plan - not to mention the
possibility of reducing the costs of prisons (many of the
clients were debtors, anyway) .
Despite the comfortable and familiar feelings that language and civility can promote - it is easy to see reminders that this is indeed, not a strange, but truly an unusual place. The HUGE insect on the fellows arm was designed by evolution to emulate a dried leaf and if that isn't impressive enough - a touch to his body inspires him to go into his second guise of a scorpion - coiled tail posture and all. Very Impressive this insect !
Flowers abound here, as you might expect of a tropical place, but we never stop being impressed by the astounding variety of the shapes and colors these flowers take to attract the pollinators and gardeners.
We met a man at the market who was selling his own vanilla beans - he reminded me they are from an orchid vine that he propagates himself and because the specialized ant required to pollinate the flower, is missing from this continent, he must pollinate all the blossoms by hand with his paintbrush. A vine provided about a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of beans. He insists we take one to put in our suitcase for the wonderful aroma.