Friday, May 1, 2009

Bedinger Part 1

Hello All,
This is Pat, also known as Fearful Leader because I use my floppy straw hat to avoid looking over the edges as we drive into the Andes. This is my first post (very tardy!) of three and I will try to add some new thoughts and pictures about our trip. CIP is Potato Central, filled with potato photographs, paintings and sculpture. Even the coffee cups at the Symposium were potato-like. We are staying in CIP’s small but comfortable dorm rooms while we are in Lima, and their cafeteria supplies all the meals. We are traveling in a van with a driver because it is impossible to (for us) to drive in the free-for-all of Lima traffic. Our driver Carlos is unflappable even when we are stopped about once a day by police seeking bribes (Carlos magically deflects them). He is a great proponent of Inka Kola, a bright yellow soft drink that is very popular. Our first collecting trip up the Rio Lurin was a big success. Our first site was one originally found near Sisicaya by Charlie Rick -full of S. pennelli growing amongst the cacti and rocks. Really incredible. Then during a traffic altercation on a very narrow road, Esther found one little S. pimpinellifolium, causing Paul to walk down the road (while drivers argued vociferously about who should move where) where he discovered a site containing three sympatric species; S. pimpinellifolium, S. pennellii and S. corneliomuelleri. A great day! After our collecting trips we have meetings with updates of our projects -- Reynaldo shown here. Rio Rimac only produced S. corneliomuelleri but gave us an opportunity to try out Cuye (guinea pig) for lunch at a small restaurant. Monday’s Symposium on Reproductive Barriers in the Solanaceae was a big success and we celebrated with a dinner in the upscale Barranco district of Lima. I had my first Pisco Sour and it was love at first sip. We have discovered during our long drives that Steve and Bruce are wizards of all subjects esoteric, especially history. Our last trip out of Lima was up the Rio Chillon. It took us at least an hour to cross Lima to reach “Highway” 18, which was worse in Lima than many mountain roads. Just outside of the town of Yaso we found a great site with S. habrochaites, S. pimpinellifolium and S. corneliomuelleri and caught our first pollinators. We even had enough flowers to collect for proteomics for Gloria. We divide up the jobs at each site -- Roger doing most of the site and plant description and fruit collection, me collecting leaves for DNA, Bruce collecting styles for RNA, Paul collecting cuttings for pollinations, Gloria doing photography, Reynaldo collecting pollen and Steve and Phillip collecting pollinators whenever we can find them. We make quite an efficient crew and everyone jumps in whenever they are needed. After proteomic collection, we then wound our way up to the pretty town of Canta at about 2500 m and had lunch (fried local trout and lomo saltada, a kind of Peruvian stir-fry). As we headed back down we found a great population of S. habrochaites, the large flowered SI type that is representative of our “central” population of this species. On the way back we stopped in the town of San Mateo (famous for its “agua mineral”) and saw a festival with a brass band and traditional Peruvian dancing (see movie). Another great day but we were very tired by the time we got back to CIP. Paul still had many pollinations to do in his room at CIP – good thing he is superhuman. The next day (Wednesday April 22) we talked with Merideth Bonierbale of CIP about further collaborations and had a great lunch at Punte Azul with ceviche and causa (layers of mashed potato with other things, seafood in our case). Peruvian food is really wonderful. Then we prepared for our first road trip to the south of Lima. Whew—there is part one of my part of the blog! Next -- to the south!


  1. On which photo is the Solanum habrochaites plant?
    On which one can I see the Solanum pimpinellifolium plant?
    And which photo is the S. pennellii?

    I'm a little bit confused.
    Seems to be a cool trip :)

    Greetings, Sandra.

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