Solbit wonders, “What’s a salt pan?”

Dear Nicalai,

When Nona told Papa and me that we would go to see the Maras Salt Pans today, I asked her, “Why would someone make pans out of salt? That’s just crazy!”

Salt. You know, I’m talking about that white gritty stuff in the little shaker on the table that Papa isn’t suppose to use because of his blood pressure.  Well, actually, nobody should be adding extra salt to food.  I learned that reading the New York Times Science Section with Papa.  Yeah, most food and beverages already have all the salt you need and more.  Oops. There I go wandering away from my story.  Let’s get back to the nutty idea of “salt pans.”

Well, I found out that salt pans aren’t actually pans made of salt. No, salt pans are wide, flat, depressions in the ground that hold salt water.

Well, I found out that salt pans aren’t actually pans made of salt. No, salt pans are wide, flat, depressions in the ground that hold salt water.

You can see in that photo (above) that the “pans” look like little ponds, except the water isn’t blue.  It’s sort of white.  Why white?  Because salt is sort of white.

Doesn’t it look as though the salt pans (the ponds) are tumbling downhill? What a site!

Doesn’t it look as though the salt pans (the ponds) are tumbling downhill? What a site!

Each salt pan is used by one family that lives in this area. There’s a long waiting list of families that want a salt pan of their own, too. I don’t think our family ever thought of getting a salt pan, did they?

We saw a few families collecting salt from their pans. where the water had evaporated.  Yeah, that’s how they make salt. First they fill up the pan with salty water that comes from a spring in the ground.

When the pond is full of water, someone puts that stone in the little water channel to block any more water from coming into a salt pan. Then the salt making begins.

When the pond is full of water, someone puts that stone in the little water channel to block any more water from coming into a salt pan. Then the salt making begins.

The sun does most of the work making the salt.  The warmth of the sun evaporates the water. As the water disappears, the salt appears as tiny crystals, and those crystals pile up.

The family in charge of a salt pan does most of the work collecting the salt.  When the water is all gone from the salt pan. The family just goes into the pan, scoops up the salt, and puts it into big bags to carry it away.  They can use it, and they can sell it.

That’s Nona taking a photo of the salt pqns, but she didn’t just take one.  She took millions of photos from every angle. She didn’t care about the salt. She just loved the look of the salt pans, the patterns.  I do too.

That’s Nona taking a photo of the salt pans, but she didn’t just take one.  She took millions of photos from every angle. She didn’t care about the salt. She just loved the look of the salt pans, the patterns.  I do too.

Well, of course, I’m just exaggerating how many photos she took. Maybe it was only a thousand.  Anyway, I thought we’d never leave.  So did Papa.  He sat down on a bench, and I’m pretty sure he fell asleep sitting up.  He doesn’t like to miss his naps.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

July 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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