A few weeks ago I was heading to Huadhua to check in on the Biblioteca project. I was set to arrive much earlier than normal, so I decided to stop and enjoy the view of a nearby lake from which the community gets its name. I parked the truck and stepped out into the cool air (Huadhua sits over 4,000 meters above sea level) and walked down along the short grass to look for a nice place to sit near the shore. I had no idea the surprise I was in for.
I now know that the short grass I was walking on is called Paku, and it is no normal grass! As I placed my hand on the Paku to sit down, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my palm. I jumped up to see what had bit me, and saw that I had about ten small spines sticking out of my hand as if I had grabbed a cactus! It turns out Paku isn’t really short grass but many tiny thorns that cover the ground. I found a rock to sit on and pick the thorns out of my palm and jeans, enjoying the beautiful view, and taking note of my recently learned lesson.