Jungle Mechanic by Air (summer 1974)

First, a little streching; then, check the plane & take-off into the Sunrise ...
The view of the volcano with smoke twisting up, and lava crawling slowly towards the jungle below, took my breath away. The Cessna 180 pilot turned her around again, giving me a compleat view of the live volcano, of the river bed cannion snaking through the Sierra Madre mountains, and of a few huts on that small prairie with cows: our destination.

The pilot reved up the Continental a few times, until a small boy came out of one hut and scared away most of the cows. Then we went straight South, passing a white church in a village at the left mountain top, brightly lighted by the inminant sunset. Then the Cessna started diving into the cannion like an enemy plane was on our tail. She leveled off at watter level, river rubing her main gear and wing tips brushing jungle trees: everything passing slowly so fast, like the eternal blink of an eye.

Suddenly, the small prairie was in front of us, cows on the side and bannana trees at the end (thank God, no hard trees) From the hut smoke, I noticed we were coming in with a tail wind. The prairie started disapearing faster and faster, engine reving up, the bannanas ready to smash the windshield, my white knukles grabing the seat. With a last rev-up ,the tail turned and I heard a last chug-chug-flap! from the engine as we parked in silence. I had to applaud!

A laboratory company contracted me to fix a 1927 Slavia stationary engine. It propelled a "Beneficio de Barbasco" (barbasco processing plant) that fed all "Familias" in that Zoque community.

The place were we landed that day was called "Francisco León", located under "el Chichón" volcano.

hacienda Armonía, today:
Francisco León now lies under tons of lava: the river changed its course after the 1982 eruption, lasting for several weeks after turning 2,000 people into ashes, instantly.


Jean loup chronicles


Fable of the Porcupine

Fable of the porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever.  Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together—this way they covered and protected themselves;

— even though they gave off heat to each other, the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.

—they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or shrivel and die.

—they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationships with their companions, but the most important part of it, was that with the warmth that came from a close association, they could survive.

  Remember in life: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best relationship is where each individual learns to live with the imperfections of the other and can admire the other person's GOOD qualities

SO. . .

Source: JeongMin Ahn (my daughter in law)



Mexican Axolotl 
Ambystoma mexicanum

Photo: Close-up of a Mexican axolotl
Mexican axolotl
Photograph by Stephen Dalton / Animals Animals - Earth Scenes

Mexican Axolotl Profile

The Mexican axolotl (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) salamander has the rare trait of retaining its larval features throughout its adult life. This condition, called neoteny, means it keeps its tadpole-like dorsal fin, which runs almost the length of its body, and its feathery external gills, which protrude from the back of its wide head.

Found exclusively in the lake complex of Xochimilco (pronounced SO-chee-MILL-koh) near Mexico City, axolotls differ from most other salamanders in that they live permanently in water. In extremely rare cases, an axolotl will progress to maturity and emerge from the water, but by and large, they are content to stay on the bottom of Xochimilco’s lakes and canals.

Close relatives of the tiger salamander, axolotls can be quite large, reaching up to a foot (30 centimeters) in length, although the average size is closer to half that. They are typically black or mottled brown, but albino and white varieties are somewhat common, particularly among captive specimens.

Axolotls are long-lived, surviving up to 15 years on a diet of mollusks, worms, insect larva, crustaceans, and some fish. Accustomed to being a top predator in its habitat, this species has begun to suffer from the introduction of large fish into its lake habitat. Natural threats include predatory birds such as herons.

Populations are in decline as the demands of nearby Mexico City have led to the draining and contamination of much of the waters of the Xochimilco Lake complex. They are also popular in theaquarium trade, and roasted axolotl :chef: is considered a delicacy in Mexico, further shrinking their numbers. They are considered a critically endangered species.

Fast Facts

Type: Amphibian

Diet: Carnivore

Average lifespan in the wild: 10 to 15 years

Size: up to 12 in (30 cm)

Weight: 2.11 to 8 oz (60 to 227 g)

Did you know? Because they have the ability to regenerate lost body parts, axolotls are probably one of the most scientifically studied salamanders in the world.

Protection status: Endangered

Size relative to a tea cup:
Illustration of the animal's relative size

Jean loup