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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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As night fell, the almost square tabular mountains formed from south to north on our left, like islands in a sea of greenery surrounded us. Our robust Paulista guide assured us that diamonds had been found in them, and he called them

Serra das Araras

Serra das Araras, the name of many other mountains in Brazil. To the geographical knowledge of this country, it is detrimental in many ways to find the few settlers giving a place name already given to a distant place like trying to name a tribe of wandering Indians. This is why it is extremely common to repeat the same names for different rivers, mountains, villages. and farms. The names of some saints occur so often that they can only be distinguished by the most diverse epithets; There are also certain names corresponding to the physical conditions, such as Cachoeira, Ipueira (Indian word meaning "tank"), Capao (stretch of isolated bush), Mato and Campo are combined with various nicknames, Olho-d'agua, Pigs, Stones, Ribeirao and Riachao, Pilar, Bocaina and Boqueirao, Stairs, Slabs, Curral and Curralinho, Retiro, Tapera (places of moult, where the herds are pastured, at certain times); others, like Angico, Angelim, Juazeiro, Mangabeira, Gameleira, Aroeira, are names of trees; or animals such as Curimata, Piau, Capivari, Macaws, Inhumas. In other denominations, the settlers have immortalized the mood of the moment they settled there, such as Bonfim, Felposta, Good Mars, Peace, Toothless, Man-Runner, Regretful, and many are the fond memories of the Mother country, so that the names of most of the villages of Portugal meet again in Brazil. The imagination of the traveler, who for a long time only finds traces of sparsely scattered settlements, seeks to invest in such meanings titles for different chapters of the book of the destiny of men.

Burial in Bahia

From these considerations we were awakened by a burial that came to meet us, coming from Sao Domingos Farm, located nearby. Several cavalrymen, wrapped in long cloaks, surrounded the body, which was carried on a large white sheet, suspended from a stick that the alternating bearers placed on their shoulders. An old man marching in front of the procession prayed, sometimes a Hail Mary, the others following with a half voice. The dead person was a boy who had suffered an accident in the preparation of gunpowder, as one of his companions confessed, not without fear. As the manufacture of gunpowder is severely forbidden to private individuals without special privilege, I understood the father's harassment to be just, since he was preparing a grave for his son in Campo Santo de Salgado. Thus we also remember that even here, in the midst of unpolluted, lonely nature, fate pursues men with their tragedies.

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