Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our Aruba Vacation: Part 4 -- This Really Is a Desert Island



On the rare times we got away from the beach, we are reminded that this island is quite dry.  Average rainfall per year is only in the teens of inches (reminiscent of our time in Denver, Colorado, but warm), and the constant wind and warmth makes it evaporate quickly.  These pix from our hike in the Arikok National Park give an idea of the native landscape:

If I hadn't told you this was in Aruba, you could almost believe I took the photo in  Arizona!


Hiking trail 


I think these iguanas are an endangered species, but they grow fat and happy around our resort:
Big iguana.  His smaller lizard cousins like to sun themselves on our patio in the afternoon.

We visited the factory where they make aloe vera products.  The plant, native to east Africa, grows well the Arubian climate.  
Aloe Vera field

We had one of these as a houseplant when we lived in Colorado
They have a remarkable property.  The leaves of the plant are filled with a clear gel that holds the moisture needed to survive in the arid climate.  This is the substance that is refined into an ingredient in so many cosmetic products.

Albert Tromp holds a cross section sliced from the base of an aloe vera leaf, showing the clear gel inside
How to scrape the filling out of a leaf, "Like filleting a fish," according to Albert's  colleague Randy.
The gel

It has a slimy texture!
We brought home lots of bottles of skin lotion fortified with this stuff.  Now, if only they could figure out how to bottle the sunshine for export back here to Annapolis!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a good time on your Aruba Vacations! I booked mine through Aruba4u and had the time of my life a few years ago. I must admit, that aloe vera stuff looks very interesting. Craft!

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