We toured the National Botanical Gardens largest in Caribbean, on a sunny Saturday afternoon. To my eyes, so used to the beauty of the Temperate Zone flora, the tropical wonders I saw there were both exotic and breathtakingly beautiful. with its vast variety of trees and shrubbery, its pools and sculptures. The first thing to engage my imagination upon entering the park was the giant-sized clock made out of plants. How did it work? We were also very grateful to discover that we wouldn’t have to walk through the huge park in order to view a lot of it. An open-air train, complete with a well-versed guide, would take us through much of it.
Have you ever seen this kind of palm tree on top of an impossibly tall and skinny trunk before? Wild Palms grow all over the island, I soon discovered. See how the water spouts near-by are like parallel images?
Sculpture in the Botanical Gardens
I was captivated by the bird sculptures in the Botanical Gardens. I particularly enjoyed the varied interpretations of their qualities that ran from simplified modern to the flamboyantly mythical. And then a pair of living, breathing birds presented themselves. And I admired them, too.
The Japanese Garden
One of our favorite spots to linger and simply gaze was the Japanese Garden. The train had driven us past such a wild-looking jungle area before hand, that it was surprising to find this jewel of civilization tucked away on the other side of the park. There were other areas I’d love to explore in detail on another visit, such as the Taino exhibit.
Two things I would change about our visit to the Botanical Gardens. I would wait for a train that had an English-speaking guide. He gave a lot of information in Spanish that I wish I could have comprehended. The second thing? I’d stay longer. Much longer.
On the little train that took us around the gardens, we sat behind a woman with a beautiful little boy. We wanted to find out how soon the train would depart and since she looked like us (white), I asked, “Do you speak English?” She answered, “Of course,” as if it should be a given that any western-looking person would speak English. Actually, she was German (works for the German Embassy), and in addition to German and English, she speaks French and Spanish fluently. Despite the superior skills of polyglots around me, I intend to keep picking away at the only second language in which I have a chance—French. If I can learn a new word or two each day, I’m calling it progress.