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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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The vegetation is of incredible freshness. the higher one rises, the rarer the strong trunks gradually become, and the more bamboo and ferns appear, among them a beautiful 15-foot-tall fern. After that, cutting painfully through the bramble, one reaches the green ridge of the mountain, on which are some isolated shrubs and among them a magnificent Lilacea arborea, corresponding to the vegetation of the fields of Minas, located at a higher elevation. Above the woods, hills, valleys and the city in the distance, one enjoys the magnificent panorama of the sea, whose surface disappears into the mist of the horizon. To the south, the mountain is plumb cut, and the gaze is lost in the deep abyss, bordered by the surrounding blue Botafogo Bay; beyond, rises the unbelievable set of rocks of Pao de Acucar.

Etching 20 Botafogo Bay

At these times, at about two thousand feet, the difference in temperature is already so remarkable that it is thought to have been transported from a colder area. Several springs, which rise at the foot of the mountain, continually indicate a few degrees less heat than the water of the aqueduct. Only the sun lurks on the horizon, then the mountain ridge is engulfed in clouds, which slowly lower from the mountain and sink into the valley.

Etching 42 View of the aqueduct

Only once do we climb to the top of this high mountain; but we repeated the excursions to the aqueduct, whose surroundings contain the richest treasure of plants and animals. Above all we strove (in the hot zone, everything that lives seeks water) to pass beyond the source of the Carioca to see the wildlife. In this search, we went to a solitary coffee plantation, owned, as we were later told, by the English Consul, Mr. Chamberlain, who was also engaged in entomology and had a rich collection of the nearby insects. Just as we arrived here, a beautiful crimson-red snake with black and white stripes (Colub. Venustissinus Neuw.) had been unearthed from the camp, and it was considered to be poisonous. In this rugged dwelling, situated very close to the precipice of the mountain, there is another splendid panorama of the bay and its beautiful green islands in the distance.

Coffee harvest, Rio de Janeiro

The coffee trees were planted on the slopes of a narrow valley, crowned at the top of the slopes with the Brazilian pine (Araucaria imbricata), with extended, grotesque, dark branches like the arms of a chandelier.

 

In the surrounding woods of the mountain and, as they have assured us, even in the vicinity of that coffee plantation, a tree from China, known for many years, has been known by the name of “quina do rio" and whose effectiveness in intermittent fevers has been demonstrated by the experience of the practical doctors from Portugal. No doubt, especially

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