Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's Too Cold Here!

It's too cold and I can't think straight! I had no idea that a potent cold front was arriving and I am freezing here in Miami, of all places! Let's talk about some warm places, like Egypt so I can feel warmer. Here is what a potent cold front does to Miami: it creates more work than necessary. What you see is an area populated with doum palms, aka gingerbread tree (Hyphaene thebaica.) These palms are extremely sensitive to cold and the young ones need to be protected. They are covered with burlap sheets to withstand the "brutal" cold temperatures that may dip into the mid thirties tonight. It's always a hard decision to make when choosing which trees need to be covered. That's a lot of work, especially in the cold air like this.

Doum palm is a type of palm tree with edible oval fruit. It is native to the Nile valley in Egypt and Sudan, and at borders of rivers of northwestern Kenya. Its fibre and leaflets are used by people along the Nile to weave baskets. This palm is considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians and if you ever venture inside many pharaoh's tombs, you may find some of the seeds there because the fruits are traditionally offered at funerals. Would you believe they recently found baskets of 3,000 year old doum fruit in King Tutankhamun's tomb? That's true!

In Egypt, the fruit is sold by street vendors, and is popular among children... and I can use the Egyptian herb tea of doum dates right now because it's a cold night in Miami. The tea is also good for hypertension, not that I am saying I got that problem!

Here is a homework for you readers... These palms are not from Egypt, but they came from Burkina Faso. I knew you wouldn't know where that is on earth... and I will let you find out for yourselves. Hints: It's mighty hot there in Ouagadougou!
I am Cold!

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