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Hungry water for paradise. | by Simon Matzinger
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Hungry water for paradise.

In an ancient cookbook there is a recipe how to bake a paradise. The ingredients are a weakly soluble bedrock such as limestone or dolostone, some air filled with carbon dioxide, a sun to produce some heat and lots of hungry water. It is quite easy actually. All you need is plenty of time. Now let me tell you what it says: You take a lot of hungry water and sprinkle it like rain through the air on a bed of limestone. The hungry water picks up the carbon dioxide and forms a weak carbonic acid solution which can react with the limestone. It dissolves it’s calcium carbonate. Heat from the sun accelerates the process. The hungry water eats itself through the softer areas and forms caves which will collapse sooner or later. And if you are lucky you have - as a result - an area similar to this one in Viñales Valley, just a few hours car ride from Havana. This area was baked about 170 million years ago. You definitely should pay a visit if you are in Cuba. Best you stay a night or two. Tobacco and other crops are cultivated on the bottom of the valley, mostly by traditional agriculture techniques (oxen and ploughs). And if you take a walk on this amazing red soil, you will also see Yuca, coffee, bananas, pineapple, fissle, mangoes, guavas, cocoa, indian mulberry, yam and so much more, just growing next to your path. It is paradise indeed.

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Taken on January 15, 2013