Going wild in the wilderness

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-25 06:01
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A bird standing on a giant lotus is ready to catch fish at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. [Photo provided to China Daily]

One tree we saw resembled a giant hedgehog covered with spines to fend off vines. Another sheds its bark to slough off lianas and was totally nude when we encountered it.

Still, we stumbled upon more victims of the strangler figs as we continued deeper in. The brutality and ingenuity of these plants is something I wouldn't have imagined unless I'd witnessed it.

We arrived at the picnic spot where we enjoyed fruit and tea, and coffee made using quality beans grown in Pu'er, a city that's a roughly two-hour train ride away. Here, we were also able to climb a 60-meter-high banyan by rope, under the supervision of two professionals.

Unfortunately, I ran out of energy after ascending only a few meters. I sat in a chair in front of the tree, sipping tea, watching the others climb. It was quiet, there was no mobile phone signal, so the only stimulation came from nature.

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