Beautiful... but deadly!

Okay, first lesson.  When you travel, and you want to go out and take some pictures to commemorate the trip, maybe even capture something worth hanging on the wall, it's well worth it to take someone along that knows the area and what to watch out for.   

Earlier this year, my wife and I had the opportunity to travel to Barbados.  We were only there a few days and I wanted to make sure that I left with some good images of the island.  I didn't just want pictures of the resort.  I wanted to venture out and make sure I saw as much as I could about this island while we were there.  We arranged to have someone there locally drive us around.  His name was Orville, and he had lived on the island his whole life.  He asked first what I wanted to see.  Now, I had done a LOT of web scouring for every image I could find of Barbados so that I would be armed with knowledge of what there was to take pictures of.  So when he asked that question, I proudly expounded all of my great knowledge of the "photo worthy" spots on the island.  I was waiting for his response, as I was certain he would be impressed, when he said "So, sounds like you really only know a little bit about the island.  Why don't I just take you to some places that I know about".   I'm good with that!  So, off we went.

Okay, I'm off topic already.  So, one of the first places we stopped, ended up being one of the most memorable of the whole trip.  Not just because of the picture, but because of what was in it that I didn't even realize at the time.  Every time we got to a location, we would stop the car and I would immediately pop out with camera in hand while April would stay in the car and let Orville tell us all about the place.  While I was taking the picture.  I overheard Orville talking about the tree and the fact that there was red paint on it.  They marked them so that people would know not to touch them.  Which I thought was pretty odd but apparently, they were "poisonous".  This was a conversation I just sort of overheard going on behind me but I was more concerned with capturing what I thought was a great shot of the water sort of framed up with this beautiful tree.  I didn't even notice the red paint on the tree until later.

Now after we returned home from the trip, I had actually had this picture printed and framed and hanging in our living room.  April was randomly googling some things on her phone one morning and remembered Orville's story about the tree and decided to look it up.  It turns out that this is one of the most dangerous trees in the world!  It's a beautiful tree, normally with oval shaped glossy leaves, and makes a small apple like fruit that is sweet smelling.  Looks obviously can be very deceiving.  This tree is so poisonous that if you touch it, it will burn your skin.  If you stand under it when it rains, every drop of rain will blister you.  If you burn the wood and leaves, and smoke gets in your eyes, you will likely be blinded permanently.  Needless to say, eating that little apple would be fatal.

Beauty is an odd thing.  One of the most beautiful images I've taken, is a picture of one of the deadliest trees on the planet.   

Oh, and one last point.  If you are going to Barbados, get out and take some pictures.  There are a lot of beautiful things there.  Just don't touch the trees with red paint and um, don't wear camouflage (that's a whole other story).

Here is the picture of the tree.  If you look closely, you can see the large band of red paint on the right hand side of the tree.


Here is another image or two from that trip.  These are not quite as "dangerous". 

Waves on the rocks at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion Resort.

Old Fishing boats on the shore.

Mushroom shaped rocks on the beach at Bathsheba


This was Orville, talking to one of the locals selling shells on the sidewalk while we were stopped.

This was Orville, talking to one of the locals selling shells on the sidewalk while we were stopped.

Morgan Lewis Windmill.  One of the last wind powered sugar mills in the Caribbean that is still operational.

A strange little house on a rock (that's about the best I can do on this one).  Orville seemed to think it was built years ago for the surfers to have a place to change.