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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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In the back are the rooms of the woman and the rest of the family, who here, according to Portuguese custom, soon retire to these rooms when strangers arrive. A typical feature is the covered porch, which generally occupies almost all the extension and the backyard. Sometimes there is also an identical balcony in front of the house. The kitchen and the lodgings of the servants, usually a poor shed, are at the back of the yard behind the house.

The furniture of these houses is limited to what is strictly necessary; It usually consists only of a few stools and wooden chairs, a table, a large area, a four-footed bed (jiraus), covered with a mat or ox leather. Instead of beds, Brazilians are almost everywhere using woven hammocks (maqueiras), which in the provinces of Sao Paulo and Minas are stronger and whimsically made with white and colored cotton thread. Also the traveler does not find anywhere water wells, and must use rainwater, or water from the river. The inhabitants of Taubate, moreover, show more comfort and education than those of the small villages we had passed before, certainly because of the intense commercial relations with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The vineyard is also cultivated here, whose grapes, just ripe now, are pleasant in taste.

To the south of Taubate, the Paraiba Valley road climbs over humid, wooded hills with beautiful ferns, Aroideas and Melastomaceas, seeking water.

The marshland has the same richness of the most beautiful plants and insects; among others, we find here Cerambyx longimanus; among the birds a new long-tailed brown Tyranus and the Cuculus guira. After two days of traveling through

Tyrannus

low-alternating green grasslands, where we passed Campo Grande Sales, Campo Exit, Paranangaba and the small village of Sao Jose (1), we arrived at Jacarei Village (Rio dos jacares, in general language), where we decided to get some rest.

Here again we found Paraiba, which makes a great curve, and instead of continuing in the primitive south direction, it turns north. People crossed the river in a canoe, swimming with their animals; so that they could take the right direction, one of them was driven tied up in the canoe, and the others accompanied him, stimulated by the shouts of the boatmen, throughout the crossing. Paraiba, due to the flooding, with a rushing current produced by the continuous rain, was 170 feet wide. The navigation of this river, for the moment, is still not important, due, without doubt, to several considerable waterfalls in the stretch.

(1) Today the city of Sao Jose dos Campos (Rev. Note, Ed. Melh.)

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